Wine is not just a drink to make us more relaxed and happy, it is to be enjoyed with a nice company of friends or family, maybe some colleagues that you actually like. What is the best way how to make it fun and engaging?
These are 6 simple steps, which you can follow to make this stress free, exciting and pleasant experience, how wine tasting is supposed to be.
Step 1. Be brave and decide whom to invite. Decisions, decisions….
Step 2. Be creative and decide what would be the best wines to sample. Is it going to be an elegant party with some exquisite sparkling wines, a journey to discover dry white wines from Mediterranean or delicious red wines from Spain? We’ve put together some interesting packs of 2 organic wines below so you can start somewhere! Click here to browse the collection of organic wine tasting packs.
Step 3. Buy some snacks and finger food to accompany your wines. Use our food & wine matching guide for some tips. You can transform wine tasting into a dinner party by cooking an elaborate meal, but this is a whole different story.
Step 4. Prepare tasting notes. If you are buying wine from us, you can expect detailed description to be available for each of the organic wines we sell.
Step 5. Print some wine tasting instructions. You know, when you will be busy with prepping snacks or simply want your guests to have both fun and some new things to learn (ah, that’s nerdy me talking!), you can simply copy the text below and have it handy for your guests.
Step 6. Pour wine, share your tasting notes, discuss and simply enjoy!
There are 3 dimensions of how we assess the wine: the look, the smell and the taste. More detailed information on the wine tasting technique is taught in our Foundation Wine Course.
The framework below is not revolutionary, it is being used by wine professionals to fully assess any given wine, describe it and then make a verdict on its quality.
This is when you tilt your glass and look your wine in a bright environment against a white table. Your wine will display the following ranges:
Red - from purple to ruby then to garnet and tawny to brown.
White - from lemon-green to lemon and then gold to amber and brown.
Rose - from purple to ruby, followed by garnet, tawny and brown.
Younger wines tend to have lighter colour spectre, lighter bodied wines will also have a wider rim at the edge (some people call it watery).
Appearance can give away whether the wine was subject to oak or not and it is another factor of maturity - aged reds display more garnet colours.
Practice identifying the colour and you will start to learn much more about wines instantly (before even smelling it). It is not magic!
Wine aroma is assessed by swirling the wine in your glass and then sticking your nose into the glass and capturing the aromas straight away after the swirling. Some people overdo it and make it look much more pretentious than it is in reality. At the end, all this is done so you can maximise your exposure to the aromas the best you can - how you personally will do it, it it up to you.
Fact! We get more information how the wine tastes from the smell as our nose has more receptors than our mouth, so when we drink we do not realise that the majority of ’taste information’ passed on to you already when you smelled the wine. Amazing, right?
So the aromas could be fruity (citrus, red fruit, stone fruit, black fruit, green fruit, tropical fruit), floral, spicy, of vegetable character (herbal, herbaceous, vegetal like beans or olive), oaky or dairy. Find out more descriptors in our wine course book.
After sniffing quite a few wines you will be able to say whether the intensity of the aromas is light, medium or pronounced. It will tell you more about the quality, ability to age well and the concentration of flavours even before you taste this wine.
Make a note which aromas you smell and how pronounced they are to you.
When you taste your wine, similarly to aromas, simply describe the flavours - break it down to separate flavours like apricots or brambles, citrus fruit or blackcurrants, vanilla or black pepper.
After you have your flavour descriptors notes you can summarise whether it was light, medium or pronounced. Similar rule applies - wines with pronounced intensity of flavours are simply more concentrated, and of a higher quality. Do not discount wines with medium intensity - a perfectly balanced wines with most of the characteristics described as medium could be extremely pleasant if there are multitude of flavours (complexity).
Did you notice how long those flavours linger - do they disappear almost instantly or stay with you for almost a minute? This is another conclusion you can make - whether the wine has a short or long finish. The longer the better as it is a sign of quality.
Additional taste considerations are:
Sweetness of your wine: note how dry is the wine - is it bone dry, just dry, off-dry, medium dry, medium sweet or sweet?
Note acidity - wines that make your mouth water a lot will definitely be very acidic. Note that all wines are acidic by nature, so when you will try different wines simply place them on a scale from lower in acidity to higher.
Note tannin - tannic wines are the ones that you feel with your gums. You may remember that tingling sensation when you drank a very strong cup of black tea - that is tannin! They are found in reds only (very little in rose). Make a note whether it tastes like almost not noticeable or very much drying your gums.
Body. What is that with regards to wine? Have you ever been intimidated when asked whether you are looking for a medium or full bodied wine? It is a little bit subjective, and definitely not a light-medium-full scale, it should be at least 5 to 10 points scale to properly say that one rich red will be more full bodied than the other rich red. Yet it is a good place to start - we assess body of a wine by simply thinking how full was the mouth-feel: was it rich and full, or light and delicate?
Can you form some sort of overall impressions of the wine’s quality, balance, suggest some matches to a particular food? Is it typical to its grape or region, or there was something extraordinary?
You do not need to come up with the uniform opinion, but it is so interesting what exactly other people think about the wines you both tried just now. We have been running wine tasting events for quite a while now. You can read our wine tasting reports on our Events page if you'd like.