Tips for Tasting Wine at Home

Tips for Tasting Wine at Home

As more consumers enjoy wine from the comfort of their own home, some find themselves missing the guidance that a wine expert provides during a wine tasting. At Quigley, we miss this face-to-face interaction as well (although we certainly have enjoyed our virtual tastings!). To help you get the most out of the wines you purchase, we have put together a list of professional tips for tasting wine at home, on your own. Our wine consultants look forward to hearing the flavor profiles you pick up from Quigley’s hand-selected wines!

Tips for Tasting Wine at Home

Tip #1: Enjoy the research

Wine is connected to people and place, and you will learn about both while tasting a new wine. When you buy the wine, do not be afraid to ask your Quigley wine expert questions regarding how these wines were made. Ask about the region, its climate and terroir, and what makes this wine so special. While you’re at it, learn a little about the winery itself and the history of wine in the area. Each Quigley Fine Wine has a unique story that we are happy to share!

Tips for Tasting Wine at Home

Tip #2: Take time looking at the color

It’s an obvious but important notion: “white” wine is never white, and “red” wine is rarely red! Take the time to look at the wine in the glass. What hues do you see? If it is a white wine, it could be anything from grey (hence the name “Pinot Gris,” which means “grey” in French) to a rich, golden yellow. Red wines can be bright garnet or deep purple.

In addition to noting the color, try to find out what this means about the wine. A deep purple wine could mean that it has more tannins than a bright garnet wine; the garnet wine may have more acidity and flavors of brighter fruits, like cherries and raspberries. A wine with an orange tint could mean that the wine is significantly older (wine can become tinted with rust or orange colors as they age).

Tips for Tasting Wine at Home

Tip #3: Use an aroma wheel

Aroma plays a key role in a wine’s flavor profile. However, it is common to smell the wine and draw a blank as to what aromas you detect, even if these are aromas you are very familiar with, such as strawberries, cedar, or vanilla.

Consider using an aroma wheel when tasting a new wine. This will help you place your finger on the aromas you detect (but cannot name).

Tips for Tasting Wine at Home

Tip #4: Take your time

Look at the wine. Smell the wine. Taste the wine, slowly. There is no race to be run when it comes to wine tasting . . . especially when you’re at home! The longer you take, the more the wine can open up in your glass. It is fun to experience how a wine changes flavors and aromas as it becomes exposed to the air.

Tips for Tasting Wine at Home

Tip #5: Understand how oak works

Did the wine you are tasting have any contact with oak?

It’s possible that it may have: many wines undergo aging in large casks or barrels. If this is the case, then learn more about what flavors the oak imparted into the wine. Some wines need oak to tame their tannins and open up; this oak can lend (among other flavors) notes of cedar, oak, and tobacco to the wine. Ask your wine expert what type of oak was used and for how long. He or she will be happy to share with you why this specific oak was selected, and how it has influenced the wine.

Tips for Tasting Wine at Home

Tip #6: Understand wine characteristics

What does it mean when we say a wine is fruity, tannic, acidic, full-bodied, or dry? What about characteristics such as complex, smooth, or balanced? Take some time to learn a little about these characteristics to help you identify them in the wine you are tasting. These Quigley Fine Wines articles will help you along:

Tip #7: Have fun

You get to sample delicious wines and learn all about the people who made them, where the grapes are from, and what makes this wine unique. How fun! Enjoy your experience and the chance to fall more in love with wine.

Quigley Fine Wine experts are here to help you select the best wines for your next wine tasting. Contact us today to learn more about our hand-picked selection of premium, organic wines.