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Wine Tasting Etiquette

Posted by Amanda on 11/1/09

Wine tasting is not what you might think of at first. You do not just take a huge drink and swallow. If you do this, then you are not experiencing the adventure of wine tasting. In order to taste or sample wine, more senses are involved than just your taste buds.

The fabulous experience of wine tasting includes sight, aroma, and flavor involving your eyes, nose, and mouth into an explosion of taste, once you know the etiquette of wine tasting.


As your eyes look upon on a glass of wine, you will first look for clarity. In order to do this for red wines you need to look through the side of the glass. The best way is to tip the glass just a bit so you can focus more on the edge of the surface of the wine. If the edge is dark, then the wine is young, if the clarity of the color is lighter than the rest of the wine in the glass you will then know the wine is an older wine.

With white wine in order to see the clarity, you must look into the glass from the top and swirl the wine a bit. As you are looking into the glass, watch the sparkles and the way the wine flows down the glass.

As you look at both red and white wines, you will learn to judge the clarity with ease. A guide for clarity and other aspects that you should notice with sight is below:

A brilliant wine will have sparkle and no floating particles
A clear wine will not have any sparkle
A dull wine will be a bit cloudy with floating particles

The colors of wines are only red, white, or pink with a few variations of these colors. The color of the wine is subject to fermentation time, the amount of time the grape juice is allowed to stay on the skins, the time in the cask, and the time of bottle again.

Fortified wines are different. Sherry is considered a white wine and can vary in color from a pale yellow to dark brown color. Port can be white or red with ranges from deep purple to ruby to pale tawny.

White wines can be totally colorless to practically amber or gold. In some young white wines, you may even notice a hint of green.

Red wines vary from a dark purple to varieties of red to mahogany to amber.

Pink wines also known as rose wines are pale yellow to coral to peach, to dark pink and light red.

The body of a wine is also something to notice while you are swirling. Full-bodied wines are heavy and will quickly come down the side of the glass in almost sheets. Medium-bodied wines are not as thick and will form twigs or legs as it comes down the side of the glass. Light-bodied wines are not heavy at all and will not cling to the side of the glass. In general, deeper colored wines are fuller bodied.

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