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How to taste wine with Steven Spurrier

Take a wine tasting tutorial with Decanter's consultant editor Steven Spurrier. Learn how to taste wine to get the most from your wines.

Decanter’s consultant editor Steven Spurrier gives Decanter readers his top tips on how to taste wine.

Steven says that ‘the first thing you have to do is have a glass.’ When tasting wine the glass only needs to be filled to about a quarter.

How to taste wine: colour

  • The first stage of tasting wine is the colour,
  • Most people don’t think this is important, but it is because it is both pleasurable and will tell you a lot about the wine.
  • The best way to judge colour is to look down on the glass and tip it against a white background. By tipping it you get the colour from the centre and the graduation of colour towards the rim.

How to taste wine: nose

  • The nose is the most important thing in wine tasting because your nose can perceive many, many more factors in the wine than your palate can.
  • To judge the nose, you just rotate the wine to aerate it and the oxygen will bring out the aromas and the tastes.
  • This will also bring out the legs. As the wine falls back in the glass you will see the ‘legs’ on the side of the glass. If it has pronounced legs, it will be quite a lush, viscose wine.
  • You then smell the wine in the glass. You just smell it.

How to taste wine: taste

  • Now you taste the wine. The palate can only pick up sweetness on the tip, acids on the side and tannins on the back. It’s a pretty blunt instrument.
  • To bring in the aromatic palate, you have to bring in the sense of smell. To do this you kind of gaggle the wine. And then you spit it out.

How to taste wine: aftertaste

  • This is the final stage. It’s the impression you are left with after you swallow or spit out the wine.
  • And that has to be for a good wine, it has to be harmonious.
  • If it’s out of harmony then the wine is not as good as it ought to be.
Watch more Steven Spurrier videos and find out how to store wine, taste wine and analyse wine colour.

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