Coming Fall 2017

See, Swirl, Smell, Sip – How to Properly Taste Wine

If you have never been a part of a wine tasting, then you are missing out on a great deal of fun.  After all, whether you are venturing into the world of wine by going to a vineyard or if you are at home trying a new wine with friends, there’s something pleasurable about a wine tasting. However, if you want to do a wine tasting like a pro, then employing these basic steps will give you the confidence to walk to any type of wine tasting scenario and look like a coinsurer of wine.

The “S” Factors of Wine Tasting


When you are handed a glass of wine to taste, you should first look at its color and clarity. Like buying diamonds, a wine’s color says much about its quality. Before actually tasting the wine, hold the glass up to a white background in a well-lit room and note whether the wine is clear or cloudy, pale or dark, or perhaps the same color in the middle of the glass as it is at the top or bottom. Ideally, a white wine’s color will vary from clear to light green, all shades of yellow, or even a deep golden brown. A red wine’s color can range from red, ruby to purple, garnet and brick.

Swirl and Smell

Holding the stem or base of the cup, gently swirl the wine and note how the wine coats the glass. If it trickles down slowly it has more body, while wines with less body will slide down quickly.  Swirling the wine also exposes a larger surface area of the wine to the air, thus intensifying its aromas, also known as its nose or bouquet.

Aromas are broken into 3 types Primary which indicates the region the grapes were grown, Secondary aromas are a result of the fermentation process and can often be described as yeasty, and Tertiary bouquets are usually a result of the aging process and are created by the oxidation, the aging method and amount of aging time.  The most common tertiary nose is a vanilla smell, which is caused when a wine is aged in oak.


This is where the taste buds get involved! Take a sip of wine into your mouth and allow it to “rest” on your tongue, as each part of your tongue will register a different element of the wine’s flavor. Roll the wine across your taste buds and note the nuances of the wine. As you do, you will be able to perceive wines crispness (acidity), the amount of bitterness (a.k.a. tannin), its sweetness, and the fruitiness. After noting these elements, you can swallow, taking a moment to note any aftertaste or finish.

As you think about the wine you just tasted ask yourself -

  • Did you like it? Why or why not?
  • What did you notice about the body?
  • How long did the impression/flavor linger?
  • Was it sweet? Acidic? Tannic? Fruity?

Keep in mind there are no correct or incorrect answers, because wine is personal. In fact, the simple answer regarding wine is - if you like a particular wine, drink it.

Wine tastings are a great deal of fun. They can be had at a home gathering, as part of a local business gathering, or at the vineyard itself. At Bear Claw Vineyards, we look forward to your coming to see us for a wine tasting of our own varieties. 

Craft & Code LLC
Craft & Code LLC