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Wine Tasting 101

Wine tasting technique is important.

The way that flavor enters our brain as an idea is a combination of aroma and taste. As discussed in the video, this is a very subjective thing and there are no right answers.

A wine aroma wheel can help dechiper what you are smelling:

And we’ve designed a neat wine tasting card that may help you as you’re learning to be a better wine taster.

The stemware we recommend

The best overall wine glasses for all purpose drinking are the Riedel Overture Red (which is the one I’m holding in the video), and the Riedel Overture Magnum, which is the same glass but on steroids.

Those two glasses will cover 100% of wine drinking for most consumers. You can easily find them via Amazon, at most fine wine shops, and kitchen supply stores. Be sure to look for those specific glasses.

(We don’t include links here because of the constant shift in inventory/sellers/pricing online … to assure the right glass at the best price is best to instigate your own search.)

The next two glasses we suggest are more expensive, more fine in quality, and take wine enjoyment to the next level.

The Riedel Performance Series Pinot Noir glass is a big bulbous thing that is FANTASTIC for aromatic-driven reds such as Pinot Noir (and Nebbiolo, and I use it often for Cabernet and Syrah … I love this glass!).

The Riedel Performance Series Champagne glass is the best all-purpose sparkling wine glass out there. This really is something. The stem is so thin and elegant. The bowl is crystal-clear and beautiful. It’s a glass that makes you FEEL like royalty when you hold it, which is obviously part of the magic.

More links for learning

Professional sommeliers use deductive tasting to guess what wine is in their glass. It’s called “blind tasting” and while it does help sharpen the senses, to me it’s too often used as a parlor trick and it takes away the context of the wine (who make it, the provenance, the history, and a thousand other factors). To watch a Sommelier taste through a wine using the Court of Master Sommelier’s “grid” (stepping through color, aroma, taste, flavor) is interesting but at the same time I personally always ask: are they having fun?

This is an issue for me, for I think wine should first and foremost be fun. But much of the wine world, with these complex tasting grids and analysis seem to be missing this key point. Let’s smile a bit more. Let’s dance with a glass in hand!

To really see a tasting grid in action, check out this video of the WSET level 3 tasting grid being used. Yes, the deduction can bring more thought and knowledge, but at the same time let’s kick back and enjoy the wine a bit more!