We’ve all seen it on many a video and plenty of movies. The man (perhaps with a monocle and a rather respectable moustache), takes a good close look at the wine in his glass, almost as though he was analyzing it for any discrepancies. Swirling the few sips around in the elegant glass, he extends his nose over the top of it and takes a refined, deep and sharp sniff, and lets the scent linger in his olfactory system for a few moments, eyebrows and eyes pointed skyward, as though working on a particularly difficult homicide case. With the slightest hint of a knowing smile, he sips the wine, ever so lightly, and nobody knows what he does with the wine in his mouth as his face contorts in the attempt to come to an accurate analysis.

Wine tasting is something that has been around pretty much since wine has. Once considered an activity for nobles and the rich, upper class society of the public, it is now something that everyone enjoys trying at some point, from fresh off the boat college kids to the true vignette connoisseurs. Yet, the art of tasting is one thing many are still unsure of, looking to their left and right for cues when in line tasting at an event or a convention. Now, that won’t do for your image will it? Here’s the process of wine tasting, the professional way of the French gentleman, made simple and easy to understand. It’s not as fancy as it seem – it’s just based on three of the five senses.

  1. Wine is meant to be a clear, flowing liquid, free of any sediments or particles throughout the bottle. Hold it up to a source of light and make sure there isn’t anything floating around in there. If there is, put it down. The color of the wine tells a lot about it as well. While white wines can range from a pale yellow to a light shade of rust, red wines can be anywhere from blood red to indigo. The color’s intensity can be a sign of a heavier wine.
  2. The aromas of wine are arguably the most unique and important aspect that differentiates growths from one another. Swirl the wine to release the aroma and hold it under your nose – further than you’d hold a tissue but not too far. The entire aroma of the wine will float its way through your olfactory system, and the type of aroma is almost always an indicator of the taste to come.
  3. The most satisfying part of tasting a wine is, without a doubt, tasting it. Take a small sip of wine, and inhale while it remains in your mouth. Wine is a classy drink, so you will thank yourself if you make a strong attempt to not look like an open-mouthed buffoon while doing this or if you do it neatly and not create stubborn red stains on your white shirt. The inhalation helps aerate the wine and open up your palette to the flavours, for lack of a better word. Wines can have a very complex flavor, with layers of undertones. It may taste somewhat sweet at first but can leave a pleasantly sour after taste. Some growths of wine can be very bitter initially, but a small sip is enough to leave your mouth naturally sweet for a prolonged period of time.

Take note of the aftertaste or, as it is called amongst oenophiles, the ‘finish’.