You don’t always have to go out to enjoy the experience of wine tasting. You can easily do this out of the comfort of your own home, and maybe even do it better!
To make your wine tasting a memorable one, be sure to include a variety of wines from light whites to bold reds. Add in sparkling and sweet desert wines as well to make the tasting extra unique!
Start off with light, crisp whites and then move on to heavier, bold-bodied reds. This will help leave your palate primed for sampling darker wines since white wine does not have the same level of tanins as red.
Here are some ideas of what you can get:
- Sparkling wines like Champagne or Cava
- Light white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Albariño
- Bold white wines like Chardonnay or oaked white wines
- Rosé wines
- Light red wines like Pinot Noir or Gamay
- Bold and high alcohol red wines like Cabernet or Shiraz
- Sweet wines like Sweet Riesling, Port or Dessert Wine
Use the 5 S’s
Look into the glass and see the depth. Is the wine clear, brilliant, cloudy, or dull? A wine’s color is better judged by putting it against a white background.
When you swirl a glass of wine, you release hundreds of unique aroma compounds, which attach themselves to the oxygen in the air. Swirling helps in the next two steps of sniffing and sipping.
Smelling your wine, or “nosing” it as some wine lovers say, is an important part of the tasting process. Wine tasters will stick their noses deep into a glass and take a big inhale to pick up all the aromatic characteristics of the wine.
Take a slightly larger sip than usual and hold the wine in your mouth for 3-5 seconds letting it coat the surface. It is here that the complex taste experience and characteristics of wine actually happen. Look for sweetness, fruitiness, saltiness, acidity, bitterness, and alcohol.
Savour. How long does the wine linger on your tongue? In wine tasting, this is called the Finish. Some wines can linger for as long as a minute!
Pair with Food
It’s always a good idea to have food available during a wine tasting so your guests can help themselves and avoid being too intoxicated. Some foods will complement the specific wine you’re tasting, and others will help cleanse your palate for the next tasting. Having a variety of food and snacks available will also give your guests different options in case there are any dietary restrictions.
Some great ideas for snacks during a wine tasting include:
- Dried fruits
- Breadsticks or Baguette
- Cured Meats
- Cheese and crackers
- Paté and olives
Pick a Theme
Picking a theme is optional, but it can be a lot of fun! Try sticking to only Spanish wines (and tapas, of course), or maybe you want to stick to French, Italian, or Australian. Picking wines all within the same country or region will help give you a solid imprint of what that area has to offer. You may even develop a specifc liking of wines to certain wine growing regions of the world!