By Amy Gross
Do you view a wine tasting event as an opportunity to find new wines you’ll enjoy, or an overwhelming journey into wine snobbery? I’m here to help you see every wine tasting experience as an opportunity to find even more wines that you’ll love and, paired with Wine4.Me, VineSleuth’s new app for casual wine drinkers, a wine tasting can certainly help you find tons more wines you’ll like— even if they aren’t in the tasting.
Let’s start with the tasting, though. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your next wine tasting:
Let the fragrance of the wines take center stage by not wearing any perfumes or scented lotions to a wine tasting. So much about wine is what you smell, so use unscented lotions the day of a tasting to keep from confusing your nose, and the noses around you.
Start off right!
With the exception of dessert wines, taste the white wines before the heavier reds. White wines are typically lighter than reds, and trying them first cuts down the chance of fatiguing your palate from a bolder wine before a more subtle one. If you switch back and forth, though, give your glass a quick water rinse, especially when you go back to whites from reds.
Swirl the wine in your glass to let some oxygen in there, loosen up the wine, and let the aromatics flow. Yes, swirling actually helps improve the taste of wine, as well as lets you get the full experience. Give it a swirl, let it settle in the glass, and then…
When you taste a wine, let it flow all over your tongue so all of your taste buds can register and let you know what they think. If you’re feeling really brave, open the sides of your lips as you taste the wine and suck in a bit of air in your mouth to really get the full flavor.
Yes, spitting, not swallowing, is the way to go with wine when you are tasting— until you know what you want to savor. Spitting doesn’t indicate you don’t like a wine, it indicates that you want to keep your senses clear to try several wines without being compromised by alcohol. After you roll the wine all over your tongue and bring in some air (if you’re feeling brave), then swish the wine right back out and spit into a spit bucket. You can still judge a wine’s flavor, body and finish even without swallowing. I promise. (I’ve judged and evaluated wines alongside some of our country’s best wine judges, and they would agree with me. Really.)
Bonus tip about spitting for those with long hair— carry a hair tie in your bag to keep from having to pull your hair back every time you spit.
Think about it! (But not too much!)
While you are tasting a wine, and after you have spit it out, think about what you tasted. You don’t have to worry about identifying all the flavors in the wine, just think about the overall experience. Did you like the wine? Did anything sick out to you about it, either good or bad?
Rate it in Wine4.Me!
(You knew I was going there, right??) What rating would YOU give it? Thumbs down? Or a few glasses? Don’t worry about what your friends say, what do YOU say?
Rate it in the Wine4.Me App so you can get even better rankings of new wines to try next time— either at a tasting event or in the store or your favorite restaurant. The Wine4.Me app doesn’t list every wine sold in the US, but it does list most of the top sellers.
Download the free app and tell it what you think of wines you’ve tried to get your own personalized ranking of wines in several categories. (The more wines you rate, the better it gets at ranking wines just for you. And rating takes just a few seconds, so you can definitely do it at each tasting station at a wine tasting without taking up too much time!)
Follow this process for all the wines you try, or are offered to try, and, before you know it, you’ll know more than a few wines you’ll love. Wine4.Me can even tell you what you like about those wines, as well, in your wine profile screens.
Hope this helps!
If you are tasting a LOT of red wines, it is likely your teeth will get a grey-purple tint to them. To combat that, do a white wine rinse, then wait about an hour and brush your teeth. (Waiting the hour helps the acid levels on your enamel drop, making it less likely you will do damage while brushing.
Floss if you ate just before tasting. Anything stuck in your teeth will be accented by the dark color in the wine.