How to Taste Wine Like A Pro
If you're like most wine lovers, the thought of visiting wine country and touring vineyards is a dream come true. But if you've never been to a winery before, the process can seem daunting. What should you wear? What should you bring? How do you taste wine? Don't worry – we're here to help!
This blog post will give you tips for visiting producers and tasting wine like a pro. But, most importantly, we'll tell you all about wine flights and how to tackle them.
Why Taste Wine?
Wine tasting flights can also be a great way for wine enthusiasts to learn about wine's different flavors and subtleties. In addition, every wine variety from other regions worldwide offers different expressions in terms of aromas and taste.
By trying a few different wine types at once, people can explore the other flavor profiles of wines worldwide. This helps enthusiasts learn about the various types of grapes that make wine. The variety of wines is endless; every wine glass is unique!
Wine tasting is a great way to expand your wine knowledge and palate! In addition, wine companies around the country often offer wine flights to educate people about their products and wine in general.
Different wine regions are known for multiple wines, and winemakers love to display theirs, particularly when compared with similar examples. In addition, winemakers love to pop open more than a few bottles to swoon their potential customers. So next time you see a wine flight on a menu, be sure to try it! You might find your new favorite wine.
What is Wine Tasting?
Wine tasting is examining wine by its looks, smell, and taste. There are two ways of doing this: you can taste wines blind or non-blind. There are two main objectives in sampling wine. First, examine its appearance, aroma, taste, and texture to understand how it was made and learn more about yourself and your preferences. Do you like red wines, white wines, or sweet wines? Old world wines or new world wines?
Wine tastings take place in wine cellars, in wine bars, or at tasting events and can be orchestrated by the producers in a cellar. Tastings can also be done at home in a more relaxed atmosphere. Putting together sampling flights with different wine regions is easier than you think.
How to Choose a Winery to Visit?
If you're visiting the wine country, you'll undoubtedly encounter multiple wines, and many wines mean there's an opportunity for comparative tasting. Make sure you choose producers that offer new wines compared to what you're used to — they should also provide tasting flights or wine flights. Don't stick to the exact wine; try different wines!
What to Look for in a Winery?
Visiting producers is an excellent way of tasting your favorite wines right there, where they were born. Still, choosing the right winery can be challenging.
If you live close to a wine region, your best bet is to visit your local makers and get to know them intimately. There's no better wine than the one made close to home. Still, not all of us live close to a region. Where should you go?
Best Road Trips to Visit Wineries
If you live in the US, plan your next vinous adventure to California — the Golden State produces 80% of the country's wine, and there's a style and grape for every palate.
Oregon, Washington, and New York State are also beautiful destinations for wine lovers. Each region has its particular types and grapes, and they're all lovely to explore.
Where to Visit Wineries Abroad?
If you can tour the world searching for your next favorite wine, a tour through Europe will undoubtedly open your eyes. Spain is known for its rustic reds made with Tempranillo, France offers the ultimate expression of your favorite grapes, and Italy has more than great wine — the food is fantastic!
Of course, the New World has vineyards of its own. Argentina has endless fields planted with Malbec, while South Africa and Australia champion Pinotage and Shiraz. Touring foreign lands to enjoy fermented grape juice will surely change you.
Wine is fantastic everywhere, and it always tastes better in the cellars where they come from. Wine is all about enjoyment, and you don't have to travel far to share a glass with your loved ones.
How to Taste Wine:
The basics of wine are easy enough to learn. Swirl the wine around your glass, inhale its bouquet, sip and savor. Wine tasting examines wine through smell, taste, and texture.
The two main ways to do this are blind or non-blind events, so have a few bottles of wine from different regions, taste them, and write down your tasting notes.
Besides determining if you like a particular wine over the other, you can learn how to differentiate different wines through a comparative tasting.
The objective is to identify wine characteristics and make assumptions about the wine's style, grape variety, region of origin, and vintage. For example, Napa Valley unoaked chardonnay tastes different than a Pinot Grigio, so taste them side by side in a varietal wine flight.
When drinking wine, you should also consider its food pairings. As with any cuisine, wine has different flavors that can be enhanced or masked when paired with certain foods. For example, a wine that tastes fruity and light might be a good pairing for spicy dishes, while a wine with strong earthy flavors can be paired with dishes that have more decadent, heavier flavors.
Old world wines are earthier and less fruit-forward, while new world wines, for example, those from Napa Valley, are bold and all about the fruit.
Wine Flights, What are They?
We call wine flights a series of different wines served side by side. Some can be new wines, and others can be old wines. You can taste aged wine to learn to distinguish oak aging or several wines from diverse regions or the same winery. Tasting multiple wines makes wine flights fun, and there are endless wine flight ideas — every wine glass offers a different experience, especially in a blind tasting setting. That's where a wine flight comes in.
Some of our favorite wine flight ideas involve comparing styles made with the same grape but grown in different countries. Other fun wine flight ideas include tasting the exact wine from different vintages. How's that for an enjoyable wine flight?
What does a wine flight mean for a sommelier?
Tasting takes a new meaning for a sommelier or a wine professional in the restaurant business. The aim is to offer guests wine pairing ideas and help them find a bottle they'll enjoy—some people like wine with red fruits on the nose, and others like crisp cold-climate wines.
Some folks love those warm vanilla flavors, and others rejoice in the subtle differences you can expect from multiple wines at different price points. The sommelier's job is to find the perfect wine for every guest, which means sourcing labels worldwide.
What are the Types of Wine Flights?
The term flight is used for various wine tasting scenarios where the wine glasses are filled less than half full. Wine flights refer to a special tasting of three or more similar wines, often with related themes for wine experts and wine companies. In addition, a wine flight educates wine enthusiasts and their taste buds about the subtlest hints of wine.
How can I organize a wine tasting flight?
Throwing wine flight events at home can be an excellent way to socialize and enjoy a fun way to learn about your favorite beverages. But, of course, everything begins with an overview of wine.
Virtual wine tours are a great way of getting started. Each professional winemaker and sommelier has decades of wine knowledge and experience in selecting food and wine pairings and preparing the wine during the tastings. Can you design the flight you want? The guide covers it.
Use Tasting Mats
Tasting mats or templates come with several options, but you can make your own. In this case, include a place for people to take notes, including space for visual inspection of the variety tasted, the specific region, the aromas, and the sweetness of the wines. You can add many factors to a wine tasting mat to evaluate all the different aspects of the wine glass. Do the same for every flight.
Wine Flight Ideas
Here are a few ideas to put together a flight that will not only entertain your guests but also helps them learn something new! To organize a tasting party, you need not splurge either; talk to your local wine vendor and get classic examples of grapes and regions. Most of the time, the most typical wines for any style are very well priced.
Sparkling wine flight
The two most notable sparkling wines worldwide are Champagne and Prosecco. One wine is from France and the other from Italy.
These two sparkling wines are more different than you think when tasted. They're made in different countries and with different grapes and methods. Every other sparkling wine, which is a long list within the variety of wines, is inspired by one of these two wine styles.
Tasting Champagne against Prosecco in a flight and learning the aroma differences between these iconic sparkling wines can make you a better wine buyer and a much better host.
Unoaked vs. Oaked Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a noble varietal, and it grows literally in every wine-producing country worldwide. Chardonnay produces the most intensely flavorful and bolder white wines, but two major Chardonnay styles are oaked and unoaked. Unoaked chardonnay is a relatively light body beverage with crisper acidity!
By tasting oak and unoaked white wine versions of the versatile white wine, you can learn to distinguish oak influence in white wines, which will most definitely come in handy.
Pinot Noir Wine flight
Pinot Noir is a delicate red grape that only thrives in cold climates like Coastal California, Oregon, and Burgundy in France, amongst others. Pinot's ability to reflect its terroir or where the grapes were grown makes it unique. This is particularly appealing to wine lovers, as discerning between a French and a sweet-scented Californian Pinot Noir is not only fun but valuable.
Merlot vs Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are the two most planted red varietals, and they're both best-sellers. They couldn't be any more different, though. Cabernet is bold, structured, and age-worthy, and Merlot is gentle, round, and fruit-forward.
There's a reason winemakers often blend Cabernet and Merlot for Bordeaux blends — they complement each other. Well, learning about them on a wine flight is a great idea. You might prefer one over the other, but you don't have to choose!
Tannins in red wine from light to bold
Learn about tannins influencing the texture of red wines. Recent reports show that tannins have many health benefits. Tannins in red wines evoke mouth-tingling sensations and a drying feeling on the palate.
Well, tannins help the red wine age, and they also make red wine compatible with fatty food like steaks. So taste a tannic red wine against a softer one and train your palate to assess the wine's tannic levels.
Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris Wine Flight
Taste two of the most popular white grapes side by side and discover their subtle differences and similarities. There is no doubt wines made with these two grapes are always thirst-quenching and delicious, but they're unique — find out through a wine flight!
Are You Ready to Taste Wine Like A Pro?
Now that you know the basics of tasting, how to taste wine during a wine flight and how to put together your wine flights, let's get tasting!
Most importantly, tasting helps you know yourself better. By tasting, you'll see if you like blackberry notes in your wine or sweet wine over dry examples. That's the beauty of it. Fermented grapes take you places — in the process, you know yourself a little better.