Wine Tasting Tips

Wine Oh TV Wine Tasting TipsWine Oh TV knows that not everyone likes to swirl, sniff, or sip to identify the 200+ flavors in wine. So, we at Wine Oh TV give you permission to enjoy a glass of wine and leave the swirling, sniffing, and sipping to the pros and wine geeks! But, we also know that tasting wine in tasting rooms can be intimidating and sometimes just feeling like you know what you are doing can make the experience that much more enjoyable. Luckily, Wine Oh TV is here to give you a few pointers and tips on how to taste wine like a pro!

Wine Oh Tasting Tip #1- Use the word “bramble” if all else fells

When wine tasting, take a short sniff and say, “Ah, yes. Do you smell that?” Hopefully whoever you taste with comes up with a few good aromas and you can nod in agreement with. But if they answer, “No, I’m not getting anything. Are you?” Then answer with, “I definitely smell bramble. Yes, bramble on the nose.” The secret to this aroma is that no one knows what bramble smells like, but just by saying it makes you look like a pro!

Wine Oh Tasting Tip #2- In this order: swirl, sniff, and sip

Most tasting room attendants are masters at sorting out the pros from the beginners and they do this by observing how their customers drink. When a pro is swirling a glass of wine, they are oxygenating the wine which helps release volatile compounds. The correct way to swirl a glass is to keep the glass on the bar or table, hold the stem between you index and middle finger, and move it in a O shape pattern. Do that quickly a few times, then immediately put the glass to your nose, and then take a small sip.

Wine Oh Tasting Tip #3- Stick your nose WAY in the glass

When smelling wine, your entire nose should be in the glass. This may seem odd at first, but if you can get the glass to touch your face all the way around, you create a seal which helps to get more intense aroma to your nasal passage. If you still can’t identify aromas, swirl and sniff again before sipping. You can also try putting a hand over the top of the glass after swirling and keep it there for a few seconds. This will help capture those aromas by making them more concentrated before sniffing.

Wine Oh Tasting Tip #4- When sipping, make noise

It would be an unusual wine competition if you didn’t hear judges slurping, sipping, swishing, or sucking up wine. Judges do this to assist in releasing the vaporized volatile compounds to the olfactory receptors which give signals to the brain to interpret, recall, and identify the aromas.

Wine Oh Tasting Tip #5- Train yourself to recall aromas

Wine pros learn how to identify aromas by practice and learning how to sort the aromas into categories in the brain. Wine generally has two major categories of aromas: earth and fruit. First, identify the more prevalent of the two. If, for example, the more prevalent smell is fruit, beginning splitting that into more specific primary categories such as tree fruit, red fruit, tropical fruit, green fruit or berry. Then split those again into more specific secondary categories, like citrus. Then split that even further to tertiary categories like lemon, lime, and grapefruit. Earth flavors are oak, spice, herb, vegetal, mineral, yeast, wood and nuts. Those can also be split as well. Once you can categorize those flavors in your head, you can start to easily identify flavors in wine with practice.

Wine Oh Tasting Tip #6- Learn to spit!

This takes practice! Spitting in a spittoon is harder than it looks and a few drips down your chin are normal. If you are planning to do a lot of tasting, spit it out until you find the one you want to drink! Alcohol slows down your ability to identify good wine from bad and you always want to drink good wine, right?

Lindsey Roffey

Lindsey is a general manager of a small family run winery in the Livermore Valley. Currently she poses her CSW, is an Advanced Certified Sommelier through the USSA, and has her advanced certificate through WSET. In her spare time, she continues to study and take wine certification courses.

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PUBLISHED DATE: August 13th, 2012 | WINE CATEGORY: Wine Country
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