When it comes to the art of wine tasting, there is much more to it than simply sampling beverages.
In reality, a comprehensive understanding and appreciation for wine can only be achieved by carefully exploring your chosen wine's aroma, colour, taste and structure. To gain that knowledge, follow these steps of proper tasting techniques.
With just a few insider tips on how professionals identify complex flavours in their wines and the perfect matching of wine glasses, you'll soon be uncorking bottles like an experienced connoisseur!
Developing Your Palate
Recognising different sensory characteristics is key to developing your palate. It includes recognising aroma descriptors like floral or fruity; flavour descriptors like buttery or earthy; texture descriptors like silky or chalky; colour descriptors like straw yellow or ruby red; and body descriptors like light-bodied or full-bodied.
The more you familiarise yourself with these terms and how they relate to certain wines, the better you will recognise them in different bottles.
The Five Ss of Wine Tasting
Whether you're an experienced wine enthusiast or just beginning your journey into the world of wine, understanding the five Ss of wine tasting will help you savour each sip and truly appreciate the flavour of every bottle.
The first step in any wine tasting is to look at the colour of the liquid in your glass. It is more than just checking if it's red or white. It's studying the depth and intensity of its hue and clarity. A pale yellow colour might indicate a young Riesling, for example, while a deep purple could mean a Cabernet Sauvignon with some age on it.
Don't be afraid to hold your glass up to natural light or assess its colour against something else, like a white napkin or plate; this can help you better understand its true hue and make more accurate observations.
Once you have taken a good look at your glass, hold it between your thumb and forefinger and give it a gentle swirl for about 15 seconds. It helps release aromas that would otherwise stay trapped inside the liquid, allowing them to come out so that you can more easily identify various scents when sniffing your glass.
Sniffing your wine is essential for understanding its aroma profile and flavour characteristics. Start by taking two or three short sniffs by dipping only the tip of your nose into the bowl of your glass; then take one longer sniff all around the rim of your glass using both nostrils together.
Be sure to pay attention to any changes in the scent from beginning to end; this will tell you what type of tannins you're dealing with and whether or not there are any underlying earthy notes in the bottle's bouquet.
Now it's time for that first sip! Swirl it around on your tongue before letting it go down slowly so you can taste all flavours in the liquid. Take a small amount into your mouth but do not swallow yet.
Pay attention to how acidic or sweet it is and any lingering aftertastes that may linger after swallowing, such as tobacco, chocolate, etc.
Doing this will help determine how complex (or simple) this particular bottle is and whether or not other flavours come forward over time, as expected with aged wines versus newer ones.
Now comes what many people consider their favourite part: savouring! Take another sip and let yourself enjoy all facets that make up this bottle without thinking too much about it.
The key here is balance—if everything tastes good together without overpowering each other, chances are you have stumbled upon something special!
Tasting Wine Like a Pro
Assessing the appearance of wine means carefully observing its colours and clarity before swirling it in your glass to release its aromas.
Appreciating aroma involves assessing primary aromas, such as fruit flavours, while also noting any underlying nuances that may be present such as tobacco or herbal notes.
Understanding sweetness requires paying attention to how sweet or dry the finish tastes on your tongue and recognising which type of sugar may be present. Fructose, for example, would indicate there were grapes used in making the wine.
Assessing acidity helps identify how tartness lingers on your tongue after taking a sip. At the same time, tannin assessment tells you if there are high levels present, indicating that this may be an older bottle with higher levels of complexity than younger bottles with lower levels might have.
Finally, understanding the body means knowing how heavy or light it feels on your tongue. Lighter bodies usually mean there is less alcohol content, while heavier bodies usually mean higher alcohol content present in the bottle.
Different Types of Wine Glasses
Not all wine glasses are created equal! The type of glass you choose can greatly impact the taste and aromas of your favourite wines. Let's look at the different types of wine glasses and explain why they are important for enjoying your vino.
White Wine Glasses
White wine glasses tend to be smaller and narrower than red wine glasses, as white wines tend to be more delicate than their red counterparts. This narrower shape helps preserve whites' subtle flavours and aromas without overpowering them.
White wine glasses come in various sizes, shapes, and materials - from traditional crystal glasses to modern plastic designs. Popular brands include Royal Doulton, Plumm Vintage, The Lady Diamond Connoisseurs Collection or the ones we recommend for added personalisation: ZÓ Personalised.
Red Wine Glasses
Red wine glasses are typically larger and wider than white wine glasses. This wide shape allows reds to 'breathe' more freely - releasing their bolder aromas and flavours into the glass as they aerate.
Some experts recommend using Bordeaux glasses or Burgundy style glassware for full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, as these have a larger surface area that helps open up even deeper flavours as time passes during your tasting hour.
Champagne flutes are tall, slender glasses designed for serving sparkling wines such as champagne or prosecco. The narrow shape keeps the bubbles alive longer by preventing them from dissipating too quickly in the air.
These flutes also help to channel aroma molecules directly towards your nose so that you can appreciate the unique aroma profile of each sparkling variety.
Wine Glasses Material Matters
The material of your wine glass is just as important as its shape.
Glass is usually the safest bet, but some may prefer crystal because of its elegance and durability. Plastic, on the other hand, is more budget-friendly and usually shatterproof, making it ideal for outdoor entertaining.
It's important to note that regardless of material, all wine glasses should be made with lead-free components so that no toxins leach into your drink.
ABOUT ZÓ'S ENGRAVED WINE GLASSES
Whether you're a wine enthusiast or just looking for a thoughtful gift for someone special, ZÓ's Engraved Wine Glasses are a perfect choice.
Made from delicate yet durable handblown crystal, these glasses are sure to impress. And with options for personalising your glass with a single, double, or triple letter/number monogramming, it's easy to create a truly unique and customised experience.
In addition, all glasses come in a sleek black bag and the option of a gift box, making them the perfect addition to any occasion.
Now that you know the basics of how to taste wine like a pro, grab some friends, open up a few bottles and get tasting!
Maybe even have a virtual wine-tasting party. And don't forget the most important part – the wine glasses!
Make sure you have the proper glassware for wine tasting. ZÓ Personalised offers top-quality, beautifully handcrafted glassware that is perfect for any occasion. Check out our selection today and find the right look for your next gathering.
ABOUT ZÓ Personalised
Founded in Sydney, Australia, from a love of personalisation & wine. Our style embodies timeless minimalism with gifts for others or yourself that you don't need to think twice about. Classic styles, quality finishes and premium products finished with beautiful packaging make gifting easy and memorable. We look forward to having you on this journey and can't wait for you to be a part of the ZÓ experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Three Types of Wine Glasses?
There are three primary wine glasses: white wine glasses, red wine glasses, and champagne flutes. The different shapes of these glasses help to enhance the taste and aroma of each type of wine. White wine glasses tend to be narrower than red wine glasses, and champagne flutes are even narrower still.
Does the Shape of a Wine Glass Matter?
The shape of a wine glass does matter, as it can affect how it tastes. The narrow shape of a white wine glass helps preserve the wine's delicate flavours and aromas. The wider shape of a red wine glass allows the wine to breathe and opens up the flavours. And the tall, slender shape of a champagne flute helps keep the sparkling wine bubbles fresh and lively.
Which Glass Is for Which Wine?
Generally speaking, white wines are best served in white wine glasses, red wines in red wine glasses, and sparkling wines in champagne flutes. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, many people like to drink full-bodied red wines from a Bordeaux glass with a wide bowl and narrow rim. And some people prefer to drink lighter-bodied red wines, such as pinot noir, out of white wine glasses. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what type of glasses are right for each type of wine.