How to Wine Taste – the Finer Points of Tasting Wine

Wine taste like a pro at our Granite Belt Wine Country cellar doors with these tips on the finer points of wine tasting…


Pictured above: Balancing Heart Vineyard winemaker Mike Hayes

…Take a Good Look

The colour of wine tells you a lot about its age and taste, even before you put a drop into your mouth.

Hold your glass against a white page, tilt it slightly and really look at the colour. White wines tend to gain colour as they age. Most white wines will have a pale straw colour. Some aromatic white wines (such as viognier and fiano) age well and take on a more golden hue. White wines that come from cooler climates won’t be as golden as those from warmer places.

Almost all red wines start out bright purple but change with age towards a red ‘brick’ colour. Not all red wines have the same colour intensity – pinot noir for example is lighter in colour than many reds.

…Give it a Swirl

Once you have examined the appearance of the wine, swirl it around in your glass to check its ‘legs’ and release the aromas. The ‘legs’ indicate alcohol content only. The higher the alcohol, the more viscous the wine will be and those ‘legs’ will trickle down the sice of the glass longer. It is a myth that long-lasting ‘legs’ denote wine quality.

…Take a Sniff

Swirl the wine around again and put your nose right into the glass, taking a full sniff. What can you smell? Young wines will have fresh fruity aromas and older older ones more earthy or spicy smells.

Pictured above: Savina Lane Cellar Door

NOTE THE Sensation of TASTE

Now, after looking, swirling and sniffing it is time to taste the wine.


Take a good sip. Swish it around in your mouth and note the taste in the back of your throat and how it feels in your mouth (e.g. is it rich and heavy (viscous) or light and thin)? The higher the alcohol content the more viscous the wine will feel – that is it will be kilt, medium or full-bodied. Give the wine a little slurp to release flavours.

The body of a wine is a term used to describe the sense of ‘fullness’ in your mouth. Full-bodied wines are bic and powerful, and light-bodied wines are more delicate and lean.

There are areas on the tongue that sense different taste sensations such as bitter, sweet, sour and salty for example so letting the wine roll over your tongue may assist you to identify more flavours.

Pictured above: tasting at Pyramids Road Wines



This is best done by simply swallowing, but many people can assess the finish and still spit the wine out.

If you plan to visit a number of wineries, then use the spittoons provided, otherwise your ability to assess wines as the day passes will diminish as your blood alcohol level increases.

The finish of a wine is just how long the taste of the wine stays on your palate after swallowing. The length of the finish is the final indicator of the wine’s quality. The taste of some exceptional wines will remain on your palate for more than a minute.

The finish is important because it is your final impression of a wine. If the flavours drop off quickly it can be disappointing. A good finish will leave you delighted and wanting another sip.

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