Wine tasting can be broken down to five basic steps: Color,
Swirl, Nose, Taste, and Finish.
Color - The wine should be poured into a clear glass and held in
front of a white background. In general, white wines take on
more color as they get older while red wines lose color. Wines
aged in wood (like oak barrels) can also take on more color.
Swirl - Swirling allows you to smell the aroma, also called the
bouquet or nose. The addition of oxygen releases the chemical
components that produce those aromas and frequently smooths
out the taste of the wine.
Nose - Once the bouquet of the wine is released through swirling,
smell the wine to help you determine its characteristics.
Common aromas are: fruit, flowers, nutty, earthy, wood,
herbs, and spice.
Taste - Sip the wine and hold it in your mouth for a moment.
Let it flow over your tongue, and all around your mouth.
There are aroma receptors on the back of the tongue which
help clarify the taste of the wine. Is the wine smooth or harsh,
dry or sweet, light or rich?
Finish - After tasting the wine, take a moment to value its overall
flavour and balance. How long did the aftertaste last? Did
the wine have a distinct or an unpleasant aftertaste? Is the
taste appropriate for that type of wine?
Common wine characteristics: Body - light to full. Taste - dry to
sweet. Tannins - weak to strong. Acidity - low to high (crisp).