Know What You're Drinking
The first step is to identify the type of wine you are tasting. If you're enjoying a glass of wine with friends, take a minute to look over the label on the bottle. Most labels contain vital information about the particular wine, such as its regional location, date of production, vineyard, awards and history. If you're tasting wine at a restaurant, ask your server for details about the variety. Knowing this information will give you a better understanding of its unique qualities.
Swirl It Around
Once your glass is poured, hold it about eye-level and gently swirl it around, paying close attention to its consistency. You may have overheard someone referring to a glass of wine “with legs.” Basically, this means the wine slowly falls down the side of the glass. “Legs” occur when there's a high alcohol content in the wine. If the wine contains a low alcohol content (no legs), it will slide down the glass faster.
Of course, swirling the wine around also helps to aerate the beverage. Small chemical changes occur at this time which bring out the flavors and aromas of the beverage. A quick swirl can have a dramatic impact on the overall quality of a glass of wine.
The next step is to hold the wine up to your nose and breathe in. Do you notice certain aromas? See if you can identify the smells conjured up by your nose. It's not a bad idea to write down the aromas you smell and compare them to other tasters. You can even turn this into a fun wine-tasting game where everyone tries to identify the aromas of a particular wine.
Okay, now comes the actual wine tasting. After smelling the wine, take a small sip but don't swallow it. Move it around in your mouth to better identify its flavors. If you asked ten different experts what they best way to taste wine is, you'd probably get ten different answers. The key thing to remember is that you want to slowly move it around to different parts of your mouth to determine its effect on your taste buds.
When you are finished tasting the wine, you can either spit it out or drink it. Just about every winery and wine tasting class offers a barrel or container for participants to spit out their wine. Whether or not you decide to use it, however, is entirely up to you. Contrary to what some people may believe, it's completely fine to drink the wine during a tasting event