How to Develop Your Wine Palette
Wine is a complex beverage. To understand and appreciate the variety of flavors, it’s important to learn how to taste them properly. Developing your wine palette can help you find wines that you genuinely enjoy — further elevating the drinking experience.
Here are some tips to help you unlock the complexity of different wines:
The 4 Steps of Tasting Wine
The process of tasting wine is relatively simple, and it’s used by both amateur wine enthusiasts and professional sommeliers alike. There are only four things to remember: look, smell, taste, infer. As you learn more things about each phase, you will be able to expand your senses and discover new layers of information about the wines you enjoy drinking.
Look and Smell
The first thing to do is to look at a wine that’s been poured. Note things such as color or transparency to determine whether the wine is light, medium, or full-bodied.
After you’ve made mental notes about the color, the next step is to smell the wine. During this phase, you’ll be able to gather information about the potential taste of the wine, which is referred to as “wine notes.”
The aroma that is given off by wine is known as its nose. Generally, there are three layers of aroma: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary aromas are usually notes of fruits, florals, or herbs. Secondary aromas derive from the winemaking process. Finally, tertiary aromas come from how the wine was aged. These notes are generally reminiscent of spices or nuts.
Taste and Infer
The third step in wine tasting is actually tasting the wine. Wines can vary from sweet to dry. When it touches your tongue, it also will have a texture, which is usually more pronounced when there is a high amount of alcohol. Another component that will affect the texture is wine tannins, which might add a slightly bitter or astringent quality. When tasting wine, it’s also important to be mindful of the length of the flavor. The length of flavor is the amount of time you continue to taste the wine after you’ve swallowed it.
The taste of a wine is generally divided into three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the end, also known as the finish. As you taste wine, try to note the change in flavor during each stage.
Once you’ve looked at the wine to understand color and weight better, you’ve smelt the wine to decipher its nose, and you’ve tasted it to know if it’s sweet, salty, sour, or dry, it’s time for you to conclude. During this final step, you can determine whether the wine is out of balance (as in too acidic, or with too many tannins), or balanced (as in tastes cohesive and pleasant to drink alone or paired with food).
Jonathan Edwards Winery offers a diverse selection of Napa-style wines made in New England. Develop your wine palette with our signature white, red, and rosé wines, all of which can be delivered directly to your home, or visit our vineyards in Stonington, Connecticut for a tasting and tour!