Going on a winery tour means tasting a lot of wines. It is the focal point of visiting wine regions anywhere in the world and in wineries such as Yarra Valley wineries, you’ll find that you are not only tasting wines, you are also tasting wines from some of the renowned wine-makers in the world. But you feel that while that’s a good thing, there’s one problem – you don’t know how to taste wines.
Tasting wines is an art and is not simply taking a sip and declaring it fine. There is a technique to it that involves also checking the color and clarity, as well as the smell and then the taste. The first thing on every wine connoisseur’s list when they taste wine is color and clarity. To do this, you pour the wine in a wine glass then tilt the glass away from you and check the color from the rim edges to the middle of the glass. Doing this against a white backdrop (like a linen napkin or tablecloth) is recommended.
The next thing you need to check for is clarity. You need to look beyond simple reds, whites and blush. Red wines are supposed to be maroon, ruby, garnet, purple, red, brick and brownish in color while white wines are supposed to be clear, pale-yellow, straw-colored, light-green, gold or amber. Most wine connoisseurs also check for opacity, looking to see if the wine is watery, translucent or opaque and to see if there are any sediments floating in it.
Smelling the wine will give you an idea of how it will taste. Swirl the wine around in your glass for a few seconds then take a sniff. Then after you’ve gotten your first sniff, stick your nose down into the glass and inhale through your nose. Smelling notes of oak, berry, flowers, vanilla or citrus indicates the wine’s quality and characteristics. Swirl the wine again to mix the components well then sniff again.
And finally the taste. There are three stages of taste that you need to watch out for: the Attack Phase, the Evolution and the Finish. The Attack Phase is the first impression the wine makes on your palate, the Evolution Phase is the wine’s actual taste on your palate and the Finish is the measure of how long the flavor impression lasts on your palate after the wine is swallowed.
To taste the wine properly, take a small sip and then let it roll around your mouth. Take note of the following: how you liked the wine overall, if it was sweet or bitter to the taste, acidity levels, balance levels, if it tastes better with bread, cheese or a heavy meal and if you will be enticed to buy it again. This is important as wines can be a bit expensive and you’ll want one that is worth your time and give you good value for your money. Find out more about here on tasting wines and winery tours.
Andrew Connor is a travel and leisure blogger. He is currently working as a freelance travel writer and web consultant for ExperienceYarraValley. He loves photography and literature.