You don't have to an "expert" to judge wine expertly. 

You already have years of experience with tasting foods and beverages to determine whether or not you like them.  And that's the bottom line of any wine tasting:
Do you like it?

In any wine tasting-formal or informal-there are five fundamental steps you must follow:

First-Take Your Time
Instead of gulping your wine down take a few moments to savor the experience and think about it.
And most important pay attention to what you are doing.

Second-Take A Look
Hold the glass up against a plain white background if possible and observe the color, viscosity, clarity, and radiance of the wine.  Color can give you a idea of the age of the wine.  Tip the wineglass on its side and notice if the wine clings to the glass when you return it to its upright position.  These are called "legs" "tears", and while they are necessary a mark of quality, they do indicate a high level of sweetness and/or alcohol. 


Third-Take A Sniff (or two!)
Swirl the wine in the glass for at least 10 seconds to aerate it.  Exposure to oxygen lets the wine release its many flavors and aromas.  Don't be shy. Stick your nose right down into the glass!  The sniff deeply.  Stop and think what you are smelling...does it smell like Flowers? Fruit? Herbs?.  If your answer is a musty basement or wet cardboard that's a bad sign.  Remember your sense of taste and smell work together. 

Fourth-Take A Taste
Take a medium-size sip of wine.  Hold it in your mouth for at least 10 seconds and can "chew" on it like you would a piece of meat.  You might even suck some additional air into your mouth to aerate the wine further.  This makes a "gurgling" sound, which might be embarrassing at the dinner table but is perfectly acceptable when wine tasting.

Now comes the part that is not easy but in time you will be able to evaluate the wine for the following 7 key characteristics.
1. Body  - This is based on alcohol with a lot of alcohol  is considered "full-bodied"
2. Weight - Some wines fell "heavier" in our mouth.  Fuller. Bigger. Others are light and refreshing.
3. Depth -  A wine is said to have depth if it does not taste flat and one-dimensional.
4. Texture - How does it feel inside your mouth?  Would you describe it as soft, firm, or coarse?
5. Complexity - Are there a variety of different subtle flavors, or just bold ones?
6. Varietal Correctness  - This to many is the hardest to determine at first but as you become familiar with different varieties of wine you should be able to tell if the wine is a Merlot...does it taste like a Merlot.
7. Length  - Go ahead and swallow the wine.   Do you still taste the wine in your long?  Is it a pleasant aftertaste of unpleasant?  Answering these questions gives you a sense of the wine's "finish" or "length"

Fifth- Take Note
Take a few minutes to think about what you have just tasted.   Don't rush to the next wine...take your time.  Discuss the wine with your companions to get their reaction.  It's fine if you disagree, but quite revealing if you don't.   Don't just say "I liked it" or "it was great" but describe what you tasted...flavors, foods, or scents it brought to your mind. 

These above steps are meant to help you in your wine tasting experience. 

Savor the experience!




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