Wine Tasting - How to Taste & Appreciate Wine

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Wine & Body

Body is an important characteristic of wine. Whether a wine is full bodied, medium bodied, or light bodied will help determine which foods pair best with it, when it is best to drink it, and even whether you are likely to enjoy drinking it. Unfortunately, wine body is also a characteristic that is difficult to explain and learn to understand. It's not like sweetness, acidity, or a citrus flavor that is easy to recognize. It takes time and experience to learn how to differentiate between full bodied, medium bodied, and light bodied wines.

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Problems with Wine Tasting Notes & Scores

Everywhere you look and see discussions about wine, you are sure to find wine tasting notes and wine scores. There isn't a wine review out there that doesn't include tasting notes about the wine and some sort of score for the wine. Even this site has plenty of tasting notes and something similar to a wine score, though it's not a score in the usual sense. You shouldn't always pay too much attention to either, though, because wine tasting notes and wine scores aren't always the best way to be introduced to a new wine.

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How We Review Wines

With all the different wine reviews and tasting notes here, you deserve to know how we choose our wines, what our procedures are for reviewing wines, and the reasoning behind our evaluations. This will help you know how much credence or weight you should give to our reviews. We try to be as open and forthright as possible with what we say, so feel free to ask any questions you have.

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Wine Lover vs Wine Geek vs Wine Snob

People who love wine want to be knowledgeable about wine — and perhaps hopefully, share that knowledge with others. This makes sense, not just because people behave this way with so many subjects, but also because wine is a subject where increased knowledge really can increase one's appreciation for and enjoyment of it. Put another way, the more you know about wine, the more you can appreciate and enjoy wine. Unfortunately, wine is also a subject where knowledge and "sharing" can go too far.

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Peparation for Tasting Wine

Before you try tasting wine, you need to make sure you have everything set up properly — this doesn't just include the correct glasses and food, but it also means preparing yourself personally. Remember that the process of tasting wine is a process of becoming more conscious of the entire tasting experience, so preparing yourself and your environment means doing what's necessary to allow you to slow down and pay attention to what you're doing.

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How to Taste the First Sip of Wine

After so much staring and sniffing, you're probably anxious to finally drink some of your wine, but now is not the time to lose focus. When tasting wine, that first sip is critical. You shouldn't just toss back an entire glass; instead, you need to slowly and carefully take in your first sip of wine in order to appreciate all of its qualities. You also need to sip in just the right way, which means sipping in a manner you aren't at all accustomed to.

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Smelling Wine - Nose, Smell, Aroma

Many people underestimate the importance of smell when it comes to taste, but when you lose your smell due to a cold you also lose much of your ability to taste. Wines are filled with aromatic compounds that determine much of the complexity of the wine's ultimate taste, so before you drink any wine you should take the time to breathe it in deeply first. Once you understand what your wine really smells like, you'll better understand what it tastes like when it's in your mouth.

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Looking at Wine: Color & Clarity

Tasting wine starts with the eyes, not the mouth, so take some time to consider the details of what your wine looks like. To properly taste wine, you should first look closely at its color, clarity, and consistency. Color is much more than just knowing if the wine is red or white. Clarity is about much more than just whether a wine is light or dark. Consistency is about much more than how thick the wine is.

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