Nobody likes to look like an amateur when doing any- thing and wine tasting is no exception. By simply following a few guidelines you can look as if you have been to dozens of wine tastings even if you don’t know a Cabernet Sauvignon from a Pinot Noir. Chances are that no one is going to come up and ask you to be a head judge!
The first step to tasting wine is a visual one, fill the wine glass to no more than half full at most, one third is better. Secondly, hold the wine glass by the stem so as not to influence the taste by heating it with the heat from your hand and also so that you are able to better see the wine. Observe the intensity of the color as well as how transparent the wine is. When observing the intensity you should look at it from above.
Now comes the fun part, swirl the wine in the glass to prepare it for tasting. The wine will leave small traces inside the glass, the more alcohol the more traces it will leave. Next, observe the color which shows the variety of grape that the wine comes from. Generally speaking you will find a Cabernet Sauvignon is usually violet to dark while Pinot Noir is more of a ruby color.
The color of a wine is also determined by the conditions of the climate during the season of growing and harvesting that the grapes went through. For example a very hot summer combined with a dry fall will produce full ripe grapes with a very dark color while a cooler summer and wet fall will give more undeveloped grapes which are much lighter. The type of wine making process has a lot to do with the color as well; red wine is fermented with the skin and the longer the process the darker the wine ends up.
The age of a wine also tells its color. When a wine is young it is full of coloring agents that make it denser and rich looking and as time goes by these agents are affected by chemical reactions that result in sediment being formed at the bottom and the color lightens up. When you see a wine with a lot of sediment at the bottom you can usually assume that it is older and has been aging for quite awhile.
So there you have it a basic overview of wine tasting that will at least give you some semblance of knowing what you are doing, so enjoy!