New York Wine & GrapeNews



How To Taste Wine

Shared by Dana Alexander


The best wine is the wine you like best.

You don't have to be a "connoisseur" to enjoy wine, any more than you have to be a "gourmet" to enjoy food. All you need to know is what you like.

The best way to discover that is by tasting a variety of different wines. Visiting New York wineries gives you a unique opportunity to taste fine wines under the guidance of trained staff, and in some cases the actual winery owners or winemakers.

There are three basic types of wine. Sparkling wines, with those festive bubbles, are usually white (actually light yellow) and quite dry (not sweet). Table wines may be white, red or "blush" (a light pink), and vary from bone dry to sweet. Dessert wines include lusciously sweet late harvest or ice wines, and fortified wines such as ports and sherries. At most wineries, you will taste a range of table wines and sometimes other types.

"Tasting" actually involves all of your senses,
reflecting wine's sensual nature.

All you have to do is remember the 7 "S" method:

See. The first step is to enjoy the wine's color--maybe straw or golden yellow for a white wine, brick red or deep purple for a red wine, and salmon or bright pink for a blush or rosé. Simply hold your glass up to the light or against a white background to admire the hue.

Smell. Much of wine's pleasure is in the aroma, which comes from the grapes, and the bouquet, which reflects the wine making process. To fully capture this pleasure, swirl the wine in the glass before inhaling the fragrances. Depending on the type of wine, you may discover hints of other familiar smells--citrus, apples, flowers, plums, and even chocolate!

Sip. Take a small sip, roll it around in your mouth to expose it to all the taste buds, and breathe in a little air to once again release the aroma as you are tasting. Notice the taste and the "texture"--how it feels in your mouth, from light and refreshing to full and robust.
Spit or… Swallow. The former may sound impolite, but it's not; in fact, it's the only way to taste if you are sampling many wines, and it can be done very discreetly. At many tasting counters, you'll notice a large bucket for that purpose as well as for any leftover wine in your glass. If you are not driving or consuming too many wines, you may prefer to swallow the small samples offered. Just don't overdo it.

Savor. Most wines have a lingering aftertaste or "finish" even after you have completed the actual tasting. Like sight and smell, this is another pleasurable bonus from "tasting" wine.

Santé. This traditional French toast means "To Your Health", and is typically accompanied by the musical clink of glasses to please your sense of sound.

"Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy."

-Benjamin Franklin