Tip the glass and stare before you smell or sip. As they age, red wines display hints of reddish-brown at the edges and whites become more golden; contributing to a fuller taste.
The nose knows. The tongue can detect only five flavours, while the nose can distinguish among thousands. Gently swirl the wine in its glass to vaporize the alcohol and release the aroma of the wine.
What do you smell? Sage, clover, apricot, plum or blueberries?
The tip of the tongue senses sweetness. The back, bitterness. And the sides detect acidity. Take a small amount of the wine in your mouth and swirl it around to taste the complexity of its character. Are you still tasting it ten seconds later? Did the taste change?
Feel is the touch of the wine on your tongue. Is it rich, full, lean or bubbly? Does it tingle at the edges? Tannins, for example, feel dry on the tongue; like biting into a grape seed or drinking a cup of over-steeped black tea.
The more you spit, the more you can sip and sample. And it’s the perfectly proper thing to do. It’s also appropriate to pour the rest of the glass into the bucket the winery provides.
A couple of crackers or a sip of water will cleanse the palate and clear the way for the next experience.