The Vital Wine Tasting Tip Beginners Need To Know

For those who are new to the world of wine tasting, the experience can seem daunting from a distance. To start, there's just so many different things to know about wine, from its many broad categories (what's the difference between dessert and fortified wine anyway?) down to the fine details like the layered aromas in each glass. You could even consider whether or not the wine is sustainable – and all the repercussions that come with it.

If you want to avoid looking lost at the table, there are a few things to think about prior to your first tasting. One of the most vital of these is that you should always cleanse your palate between each sip of wine. You might have heard this tip before, but you're probably not be as familiar with why it's so important. Well, according to wine critic James Suckling, "You want things that refresh your palate" (via Masterclass). Palate cleansing helps your body to focus on the more subtle flavors of the wine, so spitting out each sip of wine into a spittoon and drinking water is essential. 

Wine tastings are for experiencing the flavor of each drink, and you don't want to muddy your experience by mixing wines or introducing an excess of alcohol into your system. Instead, you should start with a clean slate between each sip.

The importance of palate cleansing

While some attendees at wine tastings consider the actual ingesting of wine a big part of the experience, others prefer to attend these events mainly to appreciate the taste and mouthfeel of the drink (rather than to reap the benefits of the alcohol).

Wine tastings are a classy affair, and the combined experience of listening to sommeliers discuss the background of each wine and tasting each's flavor is, for most, the main event. That's why instruments like spittoons exist. Rather than swallowing the wine and having the liquid touch only small parts of the tongue, you should swirl the wine around in your mouth to get the full flavor profile, then spit it out into a spittoon. This helps you get a full appreciation and taste for the drink's flavor instead of potentially confusing your impression of it with alcohol. And hey, after you've tasted all the wines, you can always go back and pour yourself another glass to drink. At the end of the day, to each their own, so it's up to you to decide whether to use the spittoon or not.

Other tips for beginners at wine tasting

While cleansing your palate is an essential part of the wine tasting experience, there are other things that are just as important to keep in mind too. For starters, it's important to remember to concentrate at these events. Wine tasting requires you remain in a quiet and comfortable environment where you can really hone in on your senses. You're going to be thinking about not just the taste of the wine, but also the color and depth of aromas in each glass. All these qualities are important in forming your final impression of each drink, so bring your thinking cap.

Secondly, we recommend you stick to a blind tasting. Tasting the wine before you hear about its background or read the label on the bottle is just another step in assuring that you make the most accurate read on the wine as possible without any bias. And lastly, don't forget to swirl your wine in its glass. This action introduces air into the wine, which makes its layered scents come out easier.

There are a lot of things to remember when it comes to wine tastings, but it's easiest to learn by experience, so don't be afraid to sign yourself up for one. Once you've mastered the whole wine tasting experience, let's talk about some of the essential wine pairing tips you should know.