Drinking wine is something that should be considered an experience in many more ways than the simple action of tasting the drink. In fact, there are plenty of things that you should do with your wine before you ever let the glass touch your lips that will allow you to gain a renewed appreciation for the drink and to fully understand exactly what it is that you will be enjoying.
The following is a step by step guide on how to properly drink wine, taking in every step that you should follow before the actual drinking stage to allow you to get the absolute most out of the bottle. While you don’t need to follow these steps religiously in order to enjoy your drink, they will help you to fully appreciate the passion and endeavour that has gone into it.
Step 1 – Choose Your Wine
This is actually an important step that many people have a tendency to gloss over. Choosing your wine should be a combination of taking your personal tastes into account and using that information to find bottles of wine that suit said tastes. Ideally, you should conduct a little bit of research into the winemaker that has produced the wine, their company philosophies and why they appeal to you. You will also need to find somebody who is able to supply that wine, be it a local vendor or an online store. Regardless, the choosing is just as important as the tasting and what you learn in this step will help you to appreciate the following steps.
Step 2 – The Glasses
A lot of people underestimate just how important the glass is when enjoying a wine. Different wines needs different glasses to demonstrate all of their characteristics. For example, a sparkling white wine, like Prosecco or Champagne, will generally be served in a thin glass to ensure oxidization doesn’t lead to the fizz disappearing. By contrast, a good red wine is usually served in a glass with a larger surface area, as it allows for better oxidation and for the flavours to be altered in the desired way.
Step 3 – Pouring
There is a certain science that goes into the pouring of your wine that you need to take into account. Of course, you want to ensure that you do not spill anything as you pour, but it is also important to consider the type of wine that you are drinking as well. A white wine, Rosé or sparkling white wine will generally be poured as soon as the bottle is opened, as you want to limit the effects of oxidation a little more due to their lighter flavouring. Conversely, upon opening a red wine it is a good idea to let it breathe a little bit before you pour.
Step 4 – Gauging Consistency
A lot of people skip this step and head straight towards bringing the wine to the nose, but it is actually extremely important to gauge the consistency of the wine. By hold the glass at the stem, you should swirl the wine, allowing you to get a better idea of its colour and consistency. Be sure not to hold the glass itself with your hand, as this could lead to the wine being warmed unnaturally.
Step 5 – Smelling The Wine
This step is often considered to be just as important as tasting the wine amongst many wine lovers, but it is also something that more casual drinkers have a habit of skipping over before they taste the wine. You will pick up two distinct scents when you bring the wine to your nose. The first is the initial scent, which is the most distinct impression that you will get of the grape that has been used to produce the wine and the land where it was grown. After that, you will encounter a second array of scents that is often referred to as the bouquet, which is a fragrance that is created as a result of chemical reactions in the process of the wine aging and fermenting. They are two distinct smells, with each wine offering something a little bit different, so it is important to distinguish between them and understand how they combine in order to make the drink you are about to enjoy.
Step 6 – Drink The Wine
Wine should never be gulped down in the same way that you may drink beer or soft drinks. Instead, it is important to sip the wine and allow it to be taken into the mouth. Spend a little bit of time appreciating the drink and allowing it to travel around the mouth, placing all of your focus on the textures, structure and weight of the wine as you do so. You can also spend this time appreciating the interaction between the wine and the food that you are consuming alongside it.
Step 7 – Appreciating The Taste
There is another reason that wine is consumed slowly and that is because each drink will have a distinctive aftertaste that you will only experience if you take a couple of seconds after swallowing to allow it to emerge. Allow yourself to luxury of reflecting on the experience of drinking the wine and allow yourself to be follow absorbed by the last vestiges of its taste before eating your next mouthful of food or taking another drink.
We hope that this handy guide has demonstrated the importance of appreciating your wine at all stages of the process, from the research that should go into the purchase, through to the importance of appreciating the scent and makeup of the drink, right through to the actual tasting itself.
If you have never consumed wine in this manner, we fully recommend purchasing one of your favourite vintages today and taking a little bit more time with it than you normally would. Cook a good meal and make sure to really appreciate what you are about to consume. You may find that you begin to understand your favourite wine on a whole new level afterwards.