How to Smell Wine (And Taste)
When I first started paying attention to the flavors and aromas of the wine and not just gulping down, I smelled NOTHING! I would smell the wine and be like “great, it smells like wine to me!”
With a little practice, I’ve been able to teach my sniffer to locate all those subtle hints of this and that your wine most likely has.
To start off, I got a list of what I should be smelling. If you have a certain bottle of wine, Google the year, company, and wine variety you have to find reviews and details about the wine. You can often find this information on the wine companies website, if they one, which they usually do.
Now that you know you that the aromas include pear, melon, pepper, nutmeg, tobacco, or whatever it actually says, those are just random examples. Anyway, I like to pour the wine, let it aerate, which means sit out in a glass or decanter for a short period of time to let it breath. Then, I begin smelling farther away from the glass, focusing on one of the aromas, then moving in closer, keep focusing on what that one aroma smells like in your memory and you might actually smell it. This is also a great time when a swirl comes in handy. Swirling helps add more oxygen to the wine further releasing more of the aromas and flavors. Now, you through each listed aromas one by one, trying to locate them, some more difficult than others, until you find them all!
Alright, so you tried, but still are not smelling anything? Or it’s a weird aroma like bell pepper and you can’t recall what a bell pepper even smells like! This is when you have to literally go get a bell pepper, slice it open, spend some time smelling it, then go to the wine, back to the pepper, back to the wine, keep going and hopefully this will help you locate the aromas.
With actually tasting the wines flavors, I will do a very similar process trying to locate each flavor one by one. Now, don’t get frustrated when you struggle with this, it takes some time and practice to get good at it. But, before you know it, you’ll order a wine at a bar and immediately start picking out the aromas and flavors like a pro. You can even test yourself by trying random wines, writing down what you experience, and then go find the aromas and flavors listed online and see if you got them right or are getting closer and closer to nailing every subtle hint of cinnamon, vanilla, leather, etc.
I actually started learning how to do this myself when I received a wine club from my grandmother as a present for Christmas and it came with all the information about what you should expect from each bottle. Since it was right there in front of my face, I decided to teach myself and a wine club was the perfect place to start. If you want, check out our homepage at http://www.winemind.com to look at our top choices for wine clubs to try.