For anyone who develops a serious interest in the subject of wines, the issue of "tasting" arises. Tasting is not about drinking wine, it can be competitive and ideally food should not be present, at least while tasting seriously. The purpose is also different. Drinking is for pleasure, and we should only drink what we enjoy. Tasting is primarily for assessment.
One of the easiest and most common options is to attend a wine course. They provide a chance to taste a number of wines per session and enable the taster to compare more wines of a specific variety or region than most individual budgets would normally allow.
The process of tasting is more than just swilling the liquid into your mouth. It's possible that you are already informed about the age of the wine and the region from which it originated, The grape variety is usually mention at this time.
There are four senses used in the process of tasting: sight, smell, taste and touch.
The first thing to do is to look at the wine and judge if it is clear, cloudy or hazy. If it's cloudy the chances are that it may be out of condition. Some red wines have a hazy look to them and all this means is that the winemaker has chosen not to filter it too harshly. The depth of colour of wine should tell you about it.
A deep red wine suggests a thick-skinned variety like cabernet sauvignon or syrah, while a paler colour may suggest a variety like pinot or gamay. As red wines mature their colour also tends to fade. White wines that are pale almost watery in colour indicate that the grape is grown in a cooler climate. While a deep gold could be the result of a warmer climate, although it may also suggest the wine has some age to it and perhaps it has been aged in oak.
Generally if the wine is faulty or oxidized it will be evident to the nose, and if in the event of a serious problem with it the taster will not even need to put the drink in their mouth. As a rule a three-year old sauvignon may be getting a bit tired, whereas a three-year old cabernet may be barely hitting its straps. Of a general rule the fresher the wine smells the younger it is.
Wines are often classed as youthful, developing mature at their peak, tiring, which indicate that while it is often still quite enjoyable, it may be a little old. The more intense the smell generally indicates the quality of the wine is much better. Some wines have fragrances that leap out of the glass and assault the senses. Other wines barely have any smell at all.
Taste and Touch:
The final action to tasting is to actually get it into the mouth. This is where both taste and touch come into play. The tongue is only able to taste compounds that are sweet, sour, acidic, salty or bitter. All the other descriptors which are used for wine are an extension of the sense of smell, which is why smelling, is so important before drinking it. Smelling will tell you about three-quarters of what you are going to learn about the wine.
It's logical to assume that sugar is the component which provides sweetness. Sugar trends are usually detected toward the tip of the tongue for most people. Alcohol itself is a sweet liquid, so that means that wines with a higher alcohol level may give a hint of sweetness.
This is the tart character one is able to sense in food and drinks. The senses for acid are usually found on the side of the tongue, however not everyone may find this to be so. All wines are acidic; however some have a higher acid level than others. Red wines generally need less acid and fortified wine like port will have some of the lowest acidity component. Delicate white wines, such as Riesling, sauvignon blancs have the highest levels.
This should only be a very limited component of wines. In white wines should ideally be avoided altogether. Too much will spoil the wine.
As salt tends to be detected in the center of the tongue, it is quite easy to detect a salty wine. Obvious salt in a wine usually means it had been badly made.
Body is also a tactile sensation. Tannin registered by what we feel in the mouth. It may be difficult to understand to a newcomer to wines. It is the drying sensation which covers the teeth, cheeks and gums when red wine is swallowed. It is it present in more than minute quantities then it is usually the result of poor wine making.
Just remember wine is a drink which, above all is designed to be enjoyed - preferably with entertaining companions and good food. Key factors when choosing a wine is the setting and context in which it is to be drunk. The subject of food and wine is much misunderstood. Historically it has been tradition that certain food go with certain wines. The general opinion nowadays if that nay food may compliment any wine as long as the food itself is in balance.