BE YOUR OWN CRITIC
Don’t get swayed by what you read on the bottle or what someone next to you said. This is a personal experience and will be different than anyone else’s. Enjoy it and revel in your own analysis.
Hold the glass by the stem at a 45 degree angle against a white or light background. Observe the color both on the edges and in the center of the glass. This first step offers you a first glimpse into the potential age, depth, and style of the wine. White wines can range from nearly crystal clear to dark yellow and even a shade of brown. Rose wines can vary from a very pale pink to almost strawberry red. Red wines can range from Ruby Red all the way up to a deep, dark purple or even a dark brown.
Continue to hold the glass by the stem or place it on a flat surface and swirl the wine in the glass. This not only tells you more about the wine but also allows oxygen into the wine and releases additional aromas and flavors for the wine. After swirling you will also notice “legs” on the edge of the glass. These drips of wine tell you whether to expect the wine to be light and easy drinking or more full-bodied and intense. The slower the drip, the more intensely-flavored the wine.
After swirling, the wine has opened and you will be able to better smell and recognize the various aromas of the wine. Lift the glass to your nose and take a couple full sniffs to see what you have inside the glass. What you smell is what you smell. There are no right or wrong answers. Don’t get caught up in what you think a wine connoisseur would say. Just think about what it reminds you of. Fruits, flowers, vegetables, and spices are all common scents you will pick up.
Now for the best part. Tasting the wine. Don’t just sip and gulp though. Let the wine swirl around in your mouth. Allow it to hit all the parts of your tongue and think about where its most prominently being showcased. Is it sweet, jammy, tart, creamy, spicy, or even smoky? Go back to the aromas you noticed in the prior step. Does the nose and the taste mirror each other or are they totally different? The more complex the wine, the more layers you will get as the wine remains in your mouth.
After you have swallowed the wine, the last step begins. Savoring the wine is determining what you may hear many people call “the finish” of the wine. This is simply the length of the flavors of the wine that remain in your mouth after the wine is gone. The longer the finish, the more intense the wine. Also contemplate the balance of the wine. A truly well-made wine has an equal balance of acidity, fruit, and texture. Savoring a wine usually needs to be done more than once, so at this point go for a 2nd and 3rd sip to finish your overall opinion of the wine.