When you are visiting wineries and vineyards, understanding how to taste wine like a pro can make the trip more enjoyable and educational. Not only will you be able knowledgeably discuss the wines with the people who run the winery or vineyard, but you’ll also be able to impress your friends with your understanding of the wine making process and your developing skills at wine pairing.
Start by taking a look at the wine and determining its color and clarity. The difference between white and red wine is not actually based on the color of the grape, and sometimes even dark red grapes are used to produce pale wines. Instead, the wine making process is what makes wines red, white, or something in between. Different methods can create a wine with colors such as deep red, pink, bright red, brownish, amber, and pale yellow.
The second phase of wine tasting is to smell the wine. Swirl the glass first, then take a deep whiff to develop an impression of the aroma. Make note of any scents that stand out and how long the scent lasts. Some wines have smells like vanilla, flowers, berries, or oak.
Once you have smelled the wine, take a small sip and let the wine roll around in your mouth before swallowing it. Try to determine whether the wine has a strong taste that hits your mouth right away, then concentrate on the flavor impressions that come after the strongest flavor fades a bit.
The big key to tasting wine like a pro is to go slowly and take your time understanding and appreciating all of the different aspects of a given wine. Different wineries have different specialties, and getting to know the subtle differences between wines makes winery tours more fun.