Alright. You’ve done all the hard work and have learned our wine tasting basics. Now it’s time for your reward. Drink your wine!
Besides actually getting to enjoy the wine, (because, you know. That’s why we are here. To drink wine.) the act of sipping, swishing and swallowing allows you to notice and evaluate other components of the wine that you haven’t gotten to yet.
The first thing you might notice when drinking the glass is the sweetness level. Is the wine super sweet? Or bone dry? Remember, fruit notes and sugary sweet notes are not the same thing. Wine can be very dry but still display strong fruit flavors.
Next, try to notice what happens inside of your mouth when you drink. Does your mouth start watering? Do the corners of your jaw tingle? Wines that are high in acid will affect how your mouth reacts while drinking.
When enjoying a glass of red wine, the next component to take note of are the tannins. Tannins in wine come from the skins and seeds of the grapes. They cause your mouth to dry up and can feel like shag carpet on your tongue. It might take some time to come around to very tannic wine, but they are an enjoyable part of drinking red wine. For more info on tannins, read our post on Pinot Noir.
Wines vary in their alcohol levels. Some wines can have as little as 5% ABV or as high as 15% ABV. Does the wine burn a little as you swallow? Many people will use the word “hot” to describe a wine that’s high in alcohol.
Now, notice the wine’s body. How thick or thin is the wine? Does it more closely resemble skim milk? Or heavy cream?
How does the wine finish? Is it long and lingering? Or do all traces of it quickly disappear? Do all the characteristics seemed balanced? Or is one out of whack? Are there lots of different things going on? Or is it just one note? Drink and think. Drink and think. Repeat until you need another glass.
If you have read the post, How To Taste Wine – The Basics, you (hopefully) remember the most important thing to consider when wine tasting. It’s you! Do you like the wine? Are you enjoying drinking it? Would you have it again? No matter what anyone else says about the wine, if you like it, keep drinking it.
The more you smell, the more you drink and the more you talk about what you are experiencing will all make you a better wine taster. Practice makes perfect, right?
Come get some practice here in the Willamette Valley!