How to Enjoy A Wine Tasting

A good wine can make or break an event, dinner, or just a relaxing evening.  Tasting wine before a purchase can be important.  Learn how to taste wine and develop a palate for the savory drink.  You do not have to be a sommelier to know what is good or bad when it comes to wine.  Below are a few simple steps you can take when choosing a wine.

Simply look at the wine. The first step in a wine tasting starts with your eyes.  What to look for?  The color of wine can tell you about the quality. To do this simply hold out the glass of wine and slightly tilt the glass. To be able to really get a good read on the color, try holding the glass of wine over a white surface. Observe the depth of color from the rim of the glass to the center. The deeper and richer color means you have a concentrated wine.  Younger wines have little color and will be lighter and acidic in taste. Next swirl your wine in the wine glass to create tears or legs that remain on the side of the glass.  This will help determine the alcohol level and sweetness.  Thin legs give you a lighter less concentrated wine, and fatter lets that remain on the glass give you a rich, concentrated wine.

If you feel your eyes may deceive you, then maybe your nose can give you more certainty in your decision.  Understanding the smell, bouquet, and aromas of wine are a great benefit.  The smell is a key factor in determining what you would like.  It is reported that 85% of taste comes from your sense of smell. To do this, simply swirl the wine glass and sniff the wine. Swirling your glass of wine allows oxygen to enter the wine and the scents of the wine are then released into the air. What to smell for? In general, just make sure the wine smells good.  Just like food if it smells bad, then it probably is bad. A good wine taster will note the different levels and scents that make up the aromatic profile of the wine.  If you smell dark fruits such as blackberries the wine is made from a ripe berry, too much of a jam scent means the wine is over ripe or has too much alcohol content, a light oak smell is commonly found in young wines.  Common red wine scents are a smell of earth, truffle, tobacco, spice, cigar box or forest floor.  Common white wine smells are honey, flowers, spice, butter, popcorn, caramel and minerals. Stay away from a wine that smells like a wet dog or old, wet newspaper.

Once you are satisfied with the look and smell, next comes the taste. Everyone has their own taste but there are some tips on how to taste a wine. The sense of taste which is experienced on the top of the tongue through the taste-buds focuses on the sweet, salt, bitter or sour part of the wine.  Next you will need to discern the texture of the wine. Does it feel good, smooth, silky, velvet or lush in texture or was it rough, dusty or dry. Last will be the length of the taste. The longer the taste remains in your mouth the better the wine. Remember to always taste a wine at the correct temperature and use a decent wine glass.  Red wines are to be served between 60 to 65 degrees and white should be served between 55 to 60 degrees.

If you are ready to test your wine tasting ability, come to the New Orleans International Wine Awards, November 6-8, 2018.  Judges from around the world will come to judge wines from different wineries around the world.  The competition is directed by which also oversees the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.  For more information on the New Orleans International Wine Awards or to purchase tickets for the tasting, visit


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