Remember the iconic movie Sideways (famous for coining the industry term the “Sideways Effect”), when the character Maya said… “I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your ’61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline.”

Could you imagine going wine tasting with someone as knowledgable about wine as Maya…or Miles? Wine is intimidating. There is so much to learn.  You aren’t sure if you are swirling the wine correctly…do you really have to sniff the cork? Did the sommelier really describe the wine as “tastes of cigar and pencil shavings”? Can I just describe it like Rebecca did in Wine Country?  Sommelier: “Let me know what you smell. There’s no wrong answers.”  Rebecca: “I wanna say…canned peaches.”  Sommelier: “No.”  Rebecca: “You said there is no wrong answer.” Sommelier: “Yeah, but you know” Ha ha…that made me laugh. Here’s 6 wine basics to get you through a wine tasting without those awkward moments.

Basics of wine tasting 101

It’s all about the nose, the palette and the finish.

Here are the bare bone basics of wine tasting:

1.Swirl wine in the glass, with glass still sitting on table if possible.  This aerates the wine which gives the wine more flavor.

2. Taste the wine. We can only taste four things; sweet, sour, salty and bitter

3. Smell the wine. Really stick your nose into that glass and smell.

4. Small sips, pass through your lips, hold on tongue then swallow.

5. Taste for any flavor and texture. Did the flavor or texture change after your swallowed it?

6. Look at the wine in the glass, at the color, texture and legs. What is legs you ask? To see the legs, tilt your glass slightly sideways and then back up. It’s the lines that go down the glass which are legs. Quite sexy.

wine tasting with friends

Interesting facts about wine

Wine can continue to age in the bottle.

That bite you taste at the end is called tannins, a naturally astringent substance.

Wine can make food taste better. Such as strawberries with Gewurztraminer.

Top 5 favorite movies to get you into the wine tasting mood

Back to Burgundy

Oregon Wine: Grapes of Place 

Wine Country

Bottle Shock


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