wine tasting

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Tasting Wine

So you want to enjoy your wine a little more and have actually started paying attention to how it smells and tastes. Good job! That's step 1 (if you're not doing that, check out this video to learn how to start doing that.) 

But you might be making some wine tasting mistakes that you're not aware of that could affect how your wine tastes. In today's video Dani goes over 7 wine tasting mistakes that could hinder your wine tasting experience. Whether you are going out to a winery or just sipping wine at home, you've probably made at least one of these mistakes at some point. The mistakes are:
1. Filling your glass with too much wine
2. Not sticking your nose in the glass
3. Using the wrong wine glass
4. Talking about wine legs
5. Eating while you taste
6. Wearing perfume or cologne
7. Not thinking about your wine

Check out the video for more details about these common wine tasting mistakes! 

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Wine Aromas: What to Smell for in Wine

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When you stick your nose into a glass of wine, do you just smell....wine? 

We've all been there, I promise. Actually, it's pretty normal to only smell "wine" when you are not a seasoned wine taster because your brain is trying to make things easy for you. Although there are a ton of different compounds in wine that your brain can detect, why would it confuse you with that? Instead, your brain sends out one signal: you're smelling wine. 

Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses out there, linking many aromas to memories (and is one of the reasons why experienced wine tasters have less risk of getting alzheimer's disease...score!). Remember that scene in Ratatouille where the food critic is taken back to his childhood after tasting the ratatouille served to him? You might give credit to the flavors of the food giving him that flashback, but really...its the aromas and his sense of smell doing the work.

This is why smelling your wine before tasting it is so important. Your nose deciphers what is going on in your glass, then your palate just confirms it.

So, how do we train our brains to dig deeper than just smelling "wine"?The easiest way to start is to look for fruit that you might be smelling (and don't say "grapes!"...most wines do not smell grapey). Do you smell fruit? Ask your brain what kind of fruit. You could be smelling citrus, tropical fruit, red fruit, black fruit, or tree fruit. Then dig deeper...lets say you smell red fruit in your wine. Is it strawberry, cherry, cranberry, raspberry, or redcurrant? Is it unripe, ripe, jammy, baked, dried, or overripe? See where I'm going with all these questions? Just dig deeper and make your brain work a bit. It will be hard at first, but in no time you will be smelling your grandpa's pipe tobacco or that time you were finger painting in preschool. 

Check out the video above, and make sure to download the Wine Aroma Cheat Sheet I've created to help you pick out what you may be smelling!

Final note: Don't be afraid of being "wrong" when picking out aromas in wine. Everything is subjective and there are no wrong smells out there. If your brain says you smell a shoe store in a glass of Cabernet, write it down. As you get better at smelling wine, you might calibrate your brain to recognize that shoe store aroma as leather, but you'll never get there if you don't explore first. Have fun with this and don't be intimidated. It just takes practice! Happy smelling my friend! 

Get the Aroma Cheat Sheet

Download it here

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How to Taste Wine Like a Sommelier

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Hey there wine taster! Welcome to the beginning of an amazing journey through the world of wine. Today I want to help you learn how to stop DRINKING wine and start tasting wine.

What’s the big difference between drinking wine and tasting wine? Your whole life, you’ve been drinking it (or...I guess...you’ve been drinking it since you’ve been ALLOWED to). You might swirl it around, smell it a bit, and take a sip. You determine that you like it or dislike it, but that’s about it. You’re not making your brain work too hard to think about what exactly it is that you’re tasting and why you like or dislike it. And because of that, you’re not doing yourself any favors if you are interested in becoming a better wine taster (and wine enthusiast in general).

From this moment forward, I want you to dig deeper and really THINK about the wine in front of you. Really look at it. Really smell it and try to pick out 3-5 things you specifically smell. If you smell something sweet, dig deeper. If you smell something fruity, dig deeper. What kind of fruit? Is it tart, ripe, jammy, or dried? Then taste your wine, and really explore what it is that you’re tasting. How is the mouthfeel? How long does the wine linger? (So many questions!)

It might be really hard at first as a beginner wine taster (do you often just smell “wine”?), but practice is all you need to get better! One of the easiest ways to get over the “I smell wine” hurdle I so often come across with students is to smell and taste two wines side by side. Your brain may not know exactly what is different about the two, but it will be able to distinguish at least that there IS a difference. From there, you can continue training your brain to eventually pick out specific aromas and flavors that are going on in whichever glass is in front of you.

Check out the video below for the exact wine tasting process I teach to beginners. Then, start practicing as much as you can! (wink wink)

Cheers!