Developing the skill of wine tasting takes practice. The more wines you taste, the better you will become with this entire sensory process. Try not be self-conscious about it – in Mudgee at least we can promise you that “we’re on your side”!
Look for the color of the wine, its clarity and brilliance, by holding the glass towards the light. Look for the clarity of the wine and the brilliance of the color. White wines become darker as they age while time causes red wines to lose their color turning more brownish.
Swirl the wine in your glass by rotating your wrist. This takes a little practice. Most people have trouble at first because they are moving their entire arm to swirl the glass. The key is in the wrist. Rotate the wrist while holding the rest of the arm still. The swirling of the glass releases the wine's aromas to the top edge of the glass.
Place your nose just over and the edge of the wine glass. Keep your mouth open. The aromas should bounce off this edge straight up the nostrils. Take a very deep sniff. Identify any familiar smells. Repeat, but rest your sense of smell a few seconds before you smell again.
Note the wine's viscosity - how slowly it runs back down the side of the glass - while you're swirling. More viscous wines are said to have "legs," and are likely to be more alcoholic. Outside of looking pretty, this has no relation to a wine's quality but may indicate a more full bodied wine.
Sniff the wine. Initially you should hold the glass a few inches from your nose. Then let your nose go into the glass. What do you smell?
Take a sip of wine, but don’t swallow yet. Roll the wine around in your mouth, exposing it to all of your taste buds. Pay attention to the texture and other tactile sensations such as an apparent sense of weight or body.
Aspirate through the wine: With your lips pursed as if you were to whistle, draw some air into your mouth and exhale through your nose. This liberates the aromas for the wine and allows them to reach your nose where they can be detected.
Take another sip of the wine, but this time (especially if you are drinking a red wine), introduce air with it. In other words, slurp the wine (without making a loud slurping noise, if possible. If not, what the heck!). Note the subtle differences in flavor and texture.
Note the aftertaste when you swallow. How long does the finish last? Do you like the taste?
Write down what you experienced, or give the tasting a ‘mark’ of some sort. You can use whatever terminology you feel comfortable with. The most important thing to write down is your impression of the wine and how much you liked it.
Don't worry if your preferences are different from those of other people around you. Everyone has their own tastes and the exciting thing about wine tasting is discovering exactly what your tastes are.
Use the tasting notes supplied by the tasting room as you taste each wine. Ask your host about the wine and its characteristics.