Introduction to Wine Tasting

21st March 2023
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Welcome to the world of wine tasting; a luxurious and sensory experience that is as complex as it is enjoyable. The earliest clues of wine making come from Georgia in around 6000 BCE, and the appreciation of this ancient and enigmatic beverage is just as old. 

A formal wine tasting usually involves a structured process, where the taster evaluates and scores the wine based on specific criteria. An informal wine tasting, on the other hand, can be a more sociable event, a great way to discover new wines and share your love of wine with others in a relaxed environment.

There's always something new to discover whether you're a seasoned wine enthusiast or a beginner just starting your journey.

At Devonshire Hotels, we are especially proud of our well-stocked cellars and food and wine pairings. Our wine lists are carefully curated to showcase the best of the best, and our sommeliers are always happy to answer any questions you may have and offer recommendations based on your preferences.

We’ve created this to give you an introduction on how to taste wine so you can really get the most out of the experience. 

How to taste wine: 5 S’s of wine tasting

In order to become a better wine taster, it's important to taste a variety of wines from different regions, grape varieties, and winemaking styles. This can help you develop your palate and increase your knowledge and appreciation of wine.

A great place for the beginner to start is with the 5 S’s: see, swirl, sniff, sip, savour. This is a useful framework for even the most experienced wine connoisseur.

1. See

First, take a look at the wine's appearance. Hold the glass against a white background and observe the colour and clarity. The colour of the wine varies depending on the grape variety and how long it has been aged. As a general rule, the deeper the colour, the more intense the flavour.

2. Swirl

Swirl the wine around in the glass a couple of times to aerate it and release its full bouquet.

3. Smell

Breathe in gently through your nose with an open mouth to open up your olfactory system. Take note of the boldest smell, which is usually fruity. Try to narrow the aroma down; citrus, orchard, or tropical fruits in whites or, when tasting reds, red fruits, blue fruits, or black fruits.

4. Sip

If you’ve managed to resist the temptation to have a taste up to this point, well done! Now it’s time to take your first sip. Let the wine linger on your palate. Pay attention to the flavours and textures that you experience.

As you taste each wine, you may want to consider the following factors:

Body: How does the wine feel in your mouth? Light-bodied wines are typically described as delicate or subtle, while full-bodied wines are more robust and intense.

Acidity: Does the wine taste tart or tangy? Wines with higher acidity are often described as crisp or refreshing.

Tannins: Are there any bitter or astringent flavours in the wine? Tannins are compounds found in grape skins and stems that can add structure and complexity to a wine.

Sweetness: Is the wine fruity or more earthy? Wines made from different grape varietals can have very different flavour profiles.

5. Savour

After you've tasted the wine, pay attention to the aftertaste or finish. Does it linger in your mouth, or does it disappear quickly?  A long finish is usually a sign of a high-quality wine.

Remember, wine tasting is a personal experience, and everyone's preferences and perceptions are different. With practice and exposure to different wines, you can develop your palate and become a more confident wine taster.

Wine Tasting at Devonshire Hotels

We offer a variety of wine tasting experiences, from intimate tastings with our very own sommelier, Stuart Bond, to Wine Dinners - a tantalising tasting menu with each course complemented by a specially selected wine pairing and hosted by Master of Wine, John Atkinson. 

So whether you're looking to expand your knowledge of wine, or simply indulge in a luxurious and unforgettable sensory experience, we invite you to join us for a wine tasting at Devonshire Hotels. Cheers!


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