When you’re a wino, you come to love wine of all types. However, it’s easy to find yourself coming back to the same wine over and over again because it tastes great and it’s easy.
A great way to get yourself out of this wine rut is to go to your local vineyards with friends and family and do a wine tasting. A wine tasting is a unique opportunity to try something new and find new wines that suit your fancy in a relaxed and easy-going environment.
If you aren’t well-versed in wine-tasting, here are a couple of guidelines to keep in mind in order to make your experience more pleasant for you and your companions (and to guarantee that you’ll find your new favorite wine):
Don’t wear strong scents
Your sense of smell is strongly connected to your sense of taste, so be sure that you and your tasting partners aren’t wearing too much cologne. The strong smells can interfere with your tasting experience by overpowering the subtle aromas in the wine. Plus, too much cologne is never a good thing anyway!
On that same note, try not to consume anything right before a tasting that may alter your taste buds: things like smoking a cigarette and eating mints are real buzz-kills for your palate.
Taste from light to dark to sweet
Usually when you attend a tasting, the wine order is set up like this anyway. But if it isn’t, tasting from light to dark to sweet is the best way to ensure that you are experiencing of the wine’s subtleties. If you taste out of this order, you may risk affecting your palate. It’s just like how eating sweets with orange juice makes the orange juice taste bitter—drinking sweet wine first will affect the sweetness in other wines, and drinking heavier wines will change the way you perceive the taste of the lighter wines.
So start with the whites, move to roses, heavier reds, and save the sweet wines for last. Your palate will thank you, and you’ll increase your chances of finding a wine you really like.
Remember the 5 S’s
Tasting wine is different than gulping down a glass. To truly appreciate a wine in its entirety, remember the 5 S’s during your tasting.
See – Look at your wine. If you have a white napkin at your disposal, hold the napkin to the glass to observe the color and clarity of your wine.
Swirl – Aerating your wine a little releases the subtle smells and flavors of the wine. You can do this by swirling your glass a little before tasting. The easiest way to do this is to set the glass on the table, hold the stem lightly between your fingers, and swirl the glass on the table.
Sniff – Smell your wine and see if you can detect any special aromas before tasting. Maybe you smell a specific fruit or spice, or maybe you smell tobacco. Either way, it’s fun to note the different flavors and talk to your companions about what they smell too.
Sip -Take a sip, just enough to fill your mouth like a swig of mouthwash would.
Savor – Swirl the wine around in your mouth and let it coat your taste buds. What elements of the wine stand out to you? What flavors do you detect? After you swallow (or spit) how long does the flavor linger? This is the step that will help you discover the wines you like best.
Are you looking for more specific tasting directions? Head over to our How to Properly Taste Wine post for more information.
Use the tasting buckets
A wine tasting is just that: a tasting. If you’re truly trying to enjoy and understand the flavors in your wine, there’s no need to drink a wine that you don’t like. If you taste a wine and find that you don’t like it, don’t be afraid to pour the rest of it in the tasting bucket.
Otherwise, this is meant to be a fun event, so don’t feel like you have to spit your wine if you don’t want to. Just try not to get too tipsy, as you may disturb other customers trying to enjoy their tasting experience.
The best way to find your new favorite wine is to ask questions! The people conducting your wine tasting are very knowledgeable and are primed to answer any questions you may have, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
You may also be able to try some wines that are not on the tasting list if you develop an interest in them through your questioning. The more wines you try, the more likely you are to find one you love! No matter what, being genuinely curious is useful. You’ll learn something new while enjoying a wonderful variety of wines.
Always eat beforehand
You’d be surprised at how quickly a little wine can get you tipsy. It’s best to eat before the tasting, especially if you are going to more than one winery. Take it from us, everyone loves wine, but nobody loves a wine hangover. Plus, inebriation does not make for attentive and thoughtful wine tasting.
It may be best if you plan to visit multiple wineries in one day to pack a lunch or bring some snacks along to tide you over.
If you haven’t found your new favorite wine by the end of your tasting, it’s onto the next batch! What other tips do you all have on how to find your new favorite wines? Leave us a comment below! You can also visit our virtual tasting page to learn more about our wines (and then you should drop by for a tasting).