Learn how to taste and understand wine: for beginners

Many people love the idea of drinking wine. Most love how it tastes and the thought of buying bottles for their loved ones. However, only a few truly understand a wine’s complexity. Only a few appreciate all its characteristics and flavours. In fact, its intricacy is the same reason that people become intimidated in learning about wines.

The good thing is that anyone is welcome to learn about it. With experience and lots of practice, you can get to know everything you need to know about wine, making you truly appreciate the whole drinking experience.

How to analyse and understand wine

Every wine has a different taste and brings various kinds of experiences. Only through taking the time to get to know each of their quirks, you learn which wine is perfect for you. Although it may take a while to get familiar with all the details, it is all about being observant and picking up the nuances of each. 

You can always begin by checking these three factors:

On appearance: how does the wine look?

The colour of the wine is one of the first things you would notice in your drink. It would also tell you more about the characteristics of your chosen bottle. It may be challenging to distinguish the colours and their differences at first, but let this guideline help you figure out what each shade means.

Make sure you pour your wine into a transparent glass and hold it against a white surface. Try also to tilt your glass at an angle. That would help you see the colour more vividly.

  • Wine not at its best quality: When the wine you drink has hints of brown, it is not at its best taste and condition. 
  • Wine at its best quality: When the liquid you are drinking has clear water-like characteristics, you know that it is in its best quality. Look at the fluid touching the edge of the glass. When that liquid is colourless, that means you are about to taste a light wine. The more vibrant the redness of the wine, the younger and fruitier it is. When the wine colour turns garnet red or a dark reddish-brown, it means that the wine you are drinking is much older, and possibly will offer notes of nut, toast, and leather. 

Its aroma: how does It smell?

The next thing you can observe is its aroma. Do you know why wine drinkers swirl their glasses? Doing that helps encourage the aromas to jump out. That is also the perfect time for you to give it a quick sniff.

More exposure to different aromas of various wines would help you know when the wine is corked or in its quality condition. You may also learn to distinguish the types of notes they have depending on the kind of smell they produce. Here are some examples:

  • Toasty aromas: the wine has been aged in oak
  • Tropical fruit notes: the wine is from a hot climate wine region

Note: When the aroma is strong enough that you can even smell it even if your nose is away from the glass, your wine will likely be intense, signs that you have a good quality wine in your mitts. 

Flavour: how does it taste?

Here are some notes on how you can fully appreciate the flavour of your wine:

  • When drinking a glass of wine, let a little air come inside your mouth. That slight breeze will help accentuate the flavour of your wine. 
  • Sipping the wine also makes you absorb its fullness, letting you appreciate the level of its acidity. 
  • You gauge the mouthfeel and flavour of the wine based on how long its taste lingered in your mouth after you swallowed it. 

You can start analysing how fine a wine is based on these three elements. While everyone has their preferences on what tastes the best and what does not, going through each component will help you understand how they all come together and help produce a unique taste. 

Buy wine online through Plonk. We work with small-batch winemakers, offering an avenue for those who want to explore the drink. Have a browse today.


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