Five easy steps that enhance enjoyment of wine


It sounds unbelievable, but very wine tells a story. Five simple steps help understand what a wine is trying to communicate. In five steps its story is unlocked, enhancing the enjoyment of wine while adding to your tasting skills. The five steps are easy to remember are because they all begin with the letter S. Best of all, going through the drill can be done unobtrusively in a restaurant or at home any time a new bottle is opened. Note not everyone experiences the same sensations from the same bottle of wine. Some folks say their experience is limited to a general sensation of drinking wine.

Step 1: SEE. The color of wine offers an introductory esthetic experience as well as  revealing information about its weight and texture. White wines’ pale color indicates it is light in texture while as the color increases the wine is more robust.  Whites range in hues from the palest yellow to straw to a deep golden hue depending on the varietal and the wine’s age. Red wines showcase bright tones ranging from ruby red to intense plum tinged with purple. A dark brownish tint that develops in white or red wine shows it oxidized with age and practically bellows, “Pick me up and pour me out. I’m way over the hill.”

Taking a good look at wine requires a clear glass rather than one with jewel-like colors—as beautiful as they may be. Fill the glass halfway (the bulge in the bowl of a glass is a good guide) and hold it at eye level to check the color. White wines can range from pale yellow to deeper straw. Red wines can range from ruby to red tinged with purple.

Step 2: SWIRL. Hold the glass by its stem and gently rotate it. The action releases the wine’s aromas, or bouquet, pent up in the bottle. (I like to think the release of aroma as the exhalation of the Genie in the bottle.) The action sets us up for step 3. Wait a few moments until the aerated wine allows the wine to show its true nature.

Step 3: SMELL. One of the pleasures of wine is the anticipation that comes with inhaling its aromas, hinting at what’s to come. It broadens the awareness of the complexity of individual wines.

The ability to taste actually begins with the ability to discern aromas. Wines release  aromas ranging from pleasant to funky. Noses outweigh taste buds with an amazing ability to detect hundreds of aromas while tastes are limited to a mere five: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami, a relatively new term that describes yummy flavors.

Step 3 begins by lifting the glass close to your nose and taking a deep breath, inhaling the aromas that range from simple to heady and complex, from pleasant to funky.

Some individuals whose sense of smell is elusive or who lack a sense of descriptors that show the range of aromas should check out the Aroma Wheel at winearomawheel.com sold by its creator, Ann C. Nobel, sensory chemist and retired professor of Viticulture and Enology, University of California. The Aroma Wheel classifies descriptive terms into hundreds of favorable and unpleasant aromas associated with wine.

Step 4. SIP: Take a moment to savor the flavors in the wine by holding the wine in your mouth. Swish it over your tongue, teeth, and gums. The action releases the flavors your nose predicted. Tannins, a sensation of dryness that also happens in strong tea, is often discernable in red wine.

5, Swallow. That’s what we’ve been waiting for since the wine was poured in the glass. Enjoy.

P.S. If you have time and are drinking alone or with friends, take notes. Notes help you remember labels, aromas, and tastes. Notes are especially helpful if you like the wine and want to purchase it again. They can help describe what you’re looking for in  taste profiles, so if the wine you enjoyed isn’t available. it is easy to  find a similar wine.



1 Response to “Five easy steps that enhance enjoyment of wine”

  1. 1 Iris Levine
    September 23, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Let’s see if this works – where I have added would be in either underlined or in italics, and where I have eliminated would be with a strikethrough. Just thought you’d like to know that in an email to someone recently (and it just may happen again here, unless I continue to persist doggedly) I typed the word “tsuris” and it kept getting changed to Taurus.



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