Three top tips for tasting fine wines

Wine tasting may be an art - and stereotypically very aristocratic and pretentious - but it is actually remarkably simple to learn.

You can begin tasting wine by following these three very easy steps.

Firstly, observe the appearance of the wine

A wine's apparent texture gives the earliest indication of its age, style and quality. Hold the glass up to the light, or before a white background to assess the colour of the liquid.

Red wine, for instance, starts its life as a dark purple blush. However, as it ages, it loses its initial depth and slowly filters down to a pale, unclear shade.

In contrast to red, white wines follow the opposite tren: darkening with age, losing its light and lemony colour, and adopting a darker shade.

Secondly, sample the "nose" of the wine

Here, you begin by swirling the glass. This releases the aroma as the liquid comes into contact with the oxygen in the air. But, be careful to avoid spillage, particularly if it is a red wine!

You must then lean forward and dip your nose deep into the glass and take a large breath in through your nostrils.

This, believe it or not, is the ideal way to fully appreciate the scent of the wine.

At this stage, you should be looking for hints of fruit, earth and wood, which indicate different traits in a bottle.

Thirdly, the actual wine tasting

Yes, at this point you are actually allowed to taste the wine. Although, strangely enough, this is perhaps the trickiest aspect of the whole process. This is because most flavours are detected through the nose, rather than through the tongue.

When you take a mouthful, move it around all the areas of your mouth. Do this to stimulate as many taste buds as possible.

The above steps may sound simple but, like any skill, fine wine tasting can take years of practice to fully perfect.

Nevertheless, your palate will develop over time and your will eventually be able to distinguish the rough from the smooth - and maybe impress a few people in the process.


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