Wine enjoyment isn’t just about drinking or just identifying specific flavors.
If you really want to experience wine to its fullest, take a medium-sized sip, hold it in your mouth for about 10 seconds, and “chew” on it a bit, just as you would a piece of meat.
Once you’ve done that, think about the following seven characteristics. You may want to take a separate sip to assess each characteristic individually.
This is mostly a reflection of the alcohol content. A wine with a lot of alcohol is considered “full-bodied,” while a wine with low alcohol is called “light-bodied.”
Some wines feel “heavier” in your mouth — full, bigger, more substantial. Others are light and refreshing. It’s kind of like the difference between milk and water.
A wine is said to have depth if it does not taste flat or one-dimensional.
How does it feel inside your mouth? Would you describe it as soft… firm… course?
Are there a variety of different subtle flavors, or just a few bold ones? It can be like the difference between a jazz trio and a symphony orchestra.
- Varietal Correctness
Does it run true to its form? This is a bit like judging a dog show: A dachshund is supposed to look like a dachshund, and a Merlot is supposed to taste like Merlot.
Swallow the wine (if you’re at home), or spit it out (if you’re at a wine tasting and need to be aware of your intake). Do you still taste the wine in your mouth after it’s gone? For how long? Is it a pleasant after-flavor on unpleasant? Answering these questions will give you a sense of the wine’s finish or length.