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Five Things to Look for When Tasting Wine - It's Not What You Think


In traditional wine tasting there are anywhere from four to seven "S" steps to tasting a wine and determining its qualities. 

red and white wines in glasses cheers

The standard seven things to look for when tasting wine:

  • See - What does the wine look like? Color and clarity.
  • Swirl - Adds a little oxygen (kind of like decanting).
  • Smell - What aromas does your wine have? Earthy? Floral?
  • Sip - What do your taste buds tell you?
  • Swish - Take a second sip and swish for a more full tasting experience
  • Swallow or Spit - True tasters will spit, as getting tipsy interferes with tasting the wine. 
  • Savor  - Take your third sip and evaluate the wine.

 tasting wine

We've got no problem with these steps, they're fine and they bring up visions of Paul Giamotti and his beloved Pinot Noir in the 2004 movie Sideways - if you haven't seen it, do, but they're not the way we teach people to taste wine. 

We're all about simplifying fine wine and giving you permission to like what you like, regardless of what anyone else says, what's trending or what you're supposed to like. Sweeter reds are your thing no matter what you're eating? Great! You do you.

So here are the top five things we think you should pay attention to when tasting a wine.

  1. Smell: Do you like the aroma? Our friend ordered a rosé at a lovely little seafood restaurant in Chicago last week and it smelled so good as the waiter poured it from the decanter into her glass, we just had to take a little sniff.
  1. Acidity: Do you like when a wine makes you pucker just the teensiest bit? Not as much as a green apple, but it makes your mouth water just a little? That means you like a more acidic wine - you'll find these more in lighter whites like pinot gris and our Profile One.

profile one or pinot gris blend

  1. Feel: Pay attention to the body - does the wine feel light and clean or full and heavy? 
  1. Tannins: They get a bad rap, but really they're not going to cause you any issues and in fact, they have a great deal to do with what you like in a wine. Tannins add a slight bitterness, causing a puckering or dry sensation on the palate. While it sounds unpleasant, this is a good thing, unless the tannins are unbalanced and then, well, it's not good anymore. 
  1. Sweet or dry: Dry wines are not sweet. Sweet wines are considered off-dry or sweet like a riesling or gewurztraminer. 

We know we said five, and those are important, but really the only thing that matters is our bonus number six in things to look for when tasting a wine:

  1. Do. You. Like. It. 

You can learn all the terms and have a ton of knowledge about wines and how to taste them, but really it all comes down to that last question. Do you like it? At the end of the day, that's all that matters.

 

Show us how you BOXT @drinkboxt

 

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