Uncomplicated Wine Tasting

Easily the best thing about wine is the drinking. Company is often a welcome addition, though sometimes a glass or two with a good book or other individual pursuit can be one of life’s real treats. The great thing about wine is that it can be drunk unconsciously (not to the point of unconsciousness!) with a sip on the side of life, but it can also be enjoyed consciously, discovering the flavours and fun in the tasting.


Now if you hear wine tasting, and you think of measly servings in the bottom of a glass and notes like “astringent” you’d be forgiven for thinking there wasn’t much fun to be had. But that is the complicated way to taste a wine and if you’re just hoping to discover some of the hidden delights of your latest bottle, you need something simple. Finding the flavours in your new wine is easy, and once you’ve done so, you can move onto the drinking with an extra smile created by your discoveries. All you need is the Uncomplicated Wine Tasting Guide…


There are three steps to exploring your wine, and you’ve probably done them all before. You discover wine using your eyes, nose, and mouth (in that order).

The Eyes

Before you start to sip away, get a good look at your wine. There is plenty to see if you know what you’re looking for. Here is the skinny:

  • First, look for bits because there shouldn’t be any. A bit of cork is fine if you opened the bottle with a drill (note to you, buy a bottle opener).
  • If you’re drinking white, it will vary between very pale and yellow. The more yellow it is, the longer is might have spent in oak barrels, or it’s a bit older.
  • If you’re into red, colour has even more to say. Darker reds can indicate more tannins, while lighter reds are often more fruity. Young reds keep their ruby colour, and older ones go a little brown, but that’s all good.

The Nose

Next up it’s time to give your wine a sniff. Don’t overdo this, you end up looking like a real wine wally. You’re not trying to climb into the glass, so here is what to do:

  • Before you nose your wine, give it a swirl. It makes you look cool, but also gets soe oxygen into the wine, and that’s important for all the lovely smells.
  • Once the wine is spinning (right round, baby, right round) it’s time to get your nose in there. Don’t be shy, and try and do this without reading the bottle. It’s good to let your nose do the thinking.
  • Think about smells you might find, and they’ll come out if they’re there. In whites check for citrus, apple and stone fruits, and in reds, have a look (smell) for cherry, raspberry and spices)

The Mouth

Ahh, time for the really fun part. You get two sips for every smell (a great ratio), so try this out:

  • The first sip is all about coating. Take a little wine and swill it around your mouth. This helps your second sip pack a real punch.
  • The second sip can be enjoyed a little more. Now your taste buds are active (thanks first sip!) you’ll find all the flavours bursting as you drink. Here is where you’ll find out more about acidity, alcohol content and sweetness.
  • Don’t dive back into the glass right away. Get a feel for how long the flavours stay with you (it’s called length) because you can enjoy a good wine long after that last gulp!


The final point, and this is key, is to then go on loving your glass. As much as it’s fun to learn a little about the bottle, the winemaker did everything they did so you will enjoy your glass, or bottle, with a smile on your face. So, make a couple of notes about things you really loved (or hated) and then pick up your conversation or book and enjoy it with wine on the side.

Written by Matt Mugan