6 Tips to Taste Like A Sommelier - Heather Rader
1.See the wine. It should be clear, and typically a garnet/deep red color for a red wine. Brown edges on the outside circle of a red are a clue that this is an aged wine.
2.Swirl the wine. Swirling releases the bouquet. Feel the glass in your hands and don’t be shy. Notice the “legs” on the glass, which are the clear running lines left running down the side of the glass. Both white and red wines have “legs”. Some more pronounced than others, giving you a clue to the body of the wine.
3.Smell the wine. Smelling allows you to capture the flavor with both your and your tongue. What do you smell? Trust your nose… you may pick up notes that others do not or vice versa, and that’s perfectly OK. You don’t need to go to “Rain kissed honeysuckle and wet stone” here… as you practice you will pick up more and more flavors. Keep it simple.
4.Sip the wine. Let it sit on the top of your tongue to suck the air through it. It helps the wine to get more air through it and bring out more flavor. Is it fuller bodied?
5.Swallow.Tilt your head back and let it run down your throat. Does what you taste match what you first smelled? If not, how is it different? A dry sensation at the back of your tongue indicates tannins (only present in red wine). The burning sensation is alcohol. As you practice, you will start to discern tannins and alcohol more clearly.
6.Notice and Repeat. Notice how it feels in your body and your overall experience of this particular wine. If you liked the flavors, try out similar recommendations from your local wine shop owner or bartender. Wine is supposed to be fun! Try new things and make use of apps like Delectable or Vivino and track your preferences.
Want to meet Heather Rader of Spirit Horse Vineyards? Join us at the Starlight Harvest Napa dinner on September 21st. Go wine tasting with me, and meet the horses behind Spirithorse Riding Center that works with the next generation of girls through a leadership program.
Cheers! Xo, Cait