The Five S’s of Wine Tasting


Wine is a drink of passion, meticulously crafted, aged (sometimes for years), for one purpose…for you to enjoy. Don’t waste your experience, take a minute to fully taste your wine:


Look at the wine. Color can reveal condition and body. White wine turns darker and browner with age. Red wine turns lighter and browner with age. Browning is caused by oxidation and could indicate bad wine. For body, look down into the glass. A fuller bodied wine is darker colored than a lighter bodied wine.


Before swirling, quickly sniff for an aroma preview. Next swirl the wine a couple times and take a deep sniff or two. Swirling vaporizes alcohol and concentrates aromas.


Smell the wine for aromas, off-odors, etc. The best part of smelling is that scent can trigger powerful memories. Smelling grass in Sauvignon Blanc, for example, may take you back to the summers you spent rolling down the hill in grandpa’s backyard.


Sip then “chew” the wine to coat your mouth and warm the wine. You can even let in a little air. Look for sweetness/fruit, saltiness, sourness/acidity, bitterness/tannin and alcohol. Sweetness/fruit is sensed mainly on the tip of the tongue. Sourness/acidity is perceived mostly on the sides and tip of the tongue. Bitterness/tannin is sensed on the back of the tongue and also on the gums, roof of the mouth and interior of the cheek.  Alcohol warms the throat and chest. What’s your overall impression? Does any component over power the others or are they in harmony? If harmonious, the wine is balanced.


Write down or brain file key traits. Over time, you may be able to distinguish the grape and possibly the country, region, etc. By taking time to focus, you will enjoy and appreciate your wine more.