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How to taste wine?

January 15, 2019

The proper way to taste and determine wine has three general steps.


The Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s (WSET) Systematic Approach to Tasting (SAT) provides these steps and help us to approach the wine correctly (  According to WSET: "There are many sensations that we experience when tasting wine and it can be difficult to put them all in the right order. Our sense of smell, taste, and touch are all stimulated when wine tasting and the skill to recognize and characterize them, quickly and accurately need to be learned and developed." (

The pictures on the left describe these three steps.

Step 1: Appearance

The color of a wine gives us clues about the wine. To examine the color, tilt the glass away from you. The color indicates wine’s maturity and age, or of the grape variety.

Step Two: Nose

To smell a wine, gently swirl the wine around a few times in the glass.  Smelling the wine releases the aromas and opens up the wine.  Step two is crucial so you can check for faults and ensure that it is in good condition.  With the nose, you can check if the wine is flawed – corked, oxidized, or has been somehow tainted due to poor winemaking, maturation or storage conditions.
Again, the intensity of the aromas can give you a hint about the grape variety, as well as the style.

Step three: Palate

To taste a wine, take a decent sip. Swirl the wine around in your mouth, making sure it coats your whole palate. If you can, slightly purse your lips to draw in some air. Think about what you taste while you are doing this. Then you can spit or swallow.​

Tasting the wine, we evaluate two things. Firstthe wine’s structure. This means the acidity, the alcohol, whether the wine is dry, off dry or sweet, and in red wine, the tannin. 

Second, we examine the fruit – its concentration on the palate and its flavor intensity. 

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