Simplifying Wine Tasting

“Ripe and supple tannins” 

“Pronounced tertiary aroma’s” 

“Hints of farmyard with a long elegant finish” 

These are all examples of terminology used by the wine trade to talk to each other. Sadly it is also terminology that has no resonance at all with 90% of the wine buying public and in many cases actually alienates and intimidates many people who love wine. However, having a basic method for tasting wine can hugely improve our experience of everyday wines, make fine wines more memorable and help us to differentiate between similar wines.  

At its simplest we Look, Smell and Taste in that order. The most important sense in wine tasting is that of smell as 80% of our perception of taste is actually from the sense of smell. When we look, we are looking for colour and clarity. The colour of a wine can give indications of the grapes used to make it and also its age, generally reds becoming paler with age whilst white wines may range through lemon / gold / amber. When we smell the wine we can tell a lot about its condition, clean or faulty. We can also detect and identify scents that may for example be floral, spicy or of oak. When we taste we’re tasting for levels of sweetness, acidity and tannin, that cold tea coating on your teeth feeling you get from red wine. The palate may also reveal different flavour characteristics. The finish is basically how long the flavours linger after the wine is swallowed. 

It’s always a good idea to write down your impressions of the wine you are tasting, keep it simple and always trust your own judgement. As you get more experienced you can then add detail.  

Why not explore something new at our next wine sale on Thursday 14th June? 

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Contact us for more information on 0121 455 8042 or

Look – Smell – Taste, and enjoy!  



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