We want you to get the most out of your wine. It’s true, we sell some incredibly delicious wines, but to help you explore all things wine we’ve got to take it back to basics. The following tips we’re about to share with you are used by sommeliers all over the world to refine their palates, so get ready to learn how to appreciate wine like a professional!
This step only takes a second but will give you a lot of clues about the wine you’ll be indulging in. Hold the glass to the light to allow you to see the wine’s full colour range, not just the dark centre. If a white wine is looking a little brown, or the red wine is looking slightly orange, this may mean that the wine has been oxidised and is passed its prime. Deeper reds indicate a richer taste, whilst lighter reds may indicate a more aromatic, lush taste.
The best thing to do when smelling the wine is to think big, and then narrow it down. So firstly, can you smell any fruits? Then go deeper: is it citrus or tropical notes in the white wine, or red or black fruits in the red wine? The wine aromas can be split into three stages- the primary aromas (fruity, herbal, and floral notes derived from the grape), the secondary aromas (almonds, peanuts, cheese rind etc. which come from the wine making practices), and tertiary aromas (vanilla, cured leather, roasted nuts etc. which come from ageing).
Arguably the best bit, the tasting is also crucial as our tongues can detect the flavours fully and then when you swallow the wine the aromas may change. Take a sip (no large gulps yet!) and try sucking on it as if you’re pulling it through a straw. You may be able to detect sweetness in some wines which your nose cannot detect, or a bitterness. Other than the actual tasting of the wine, your tongue will be able to sense the texture. Generally speaking, an increase in texture suggests a higher-alcohol, riper wine.
Now that you’ve tasted the wine, what do you think? Hopefully the wine will feel balanced, so it’s not too acidic, or alcoholic. You want the wine to be memorable, and something you’ll enjoy drinking. This is your opportunity to sum up the wine.