Restaurant Wine Tasting Tips

Wine glass

For many years, fine wine has been a satisfying and enjoyable complement to a lovely meal at a restaurant.

Wine tasting in a restaurant is a very rich and rewarding experience. Once you have made your wine selection, there are a number of steps involved in properly tasting the wine that will make the wine tasting experience even more pleasurable.

1) Smell the Cork: Detecting the aroma from the cork will tell how well the wine has been taken care of. Once the cork has been removed from the bottle, examine it to make sure it is not dry, cracked, or has mold growing from it. If the cork is dry on both ends, this means that oxygenation took place which affects the taste. If everything looks good, (one end containing wine and the other end dry) smell the end of the cork that contains wine. It should not have any unusual aroma such as a musty or sharp smell.

2) Smell the Wine: Pour a small amount of wine in a glass. (No more than few ounces in a glass) Hold your glass and gently swirl it around. This will cause the wine’s aroma to be released. Raise the glass to your nose and breathe in. Take a few seconds to get a sense of the aroma. Detecting distinct flavors tells you that the wine is good. If you detect any musty odors or a vinegar type odor, the wine has likely gone bad. When you smell the wine, make a note of any distinct aromas. For instance, white wines can have such aromas as flowers, grapefruit, peaches, apples, and other citrus. Red wines can smell like prunes, raspberries, cherries, etc.

3) Tasting the Wine: Take a small sip of the wine. Breathe in as you sip the wine so that you get the full aroma. Do not swallow the wine right away. Move it around a bit in your mouth to get all of the flavors. Note how long the taste stays in your mouth after swallowing. As well, note how it feels and tastes in your mouth. Is it acidic, fruity, or have a strong alcohol taste? Or, do the flavors blend well together and leave a nice flavor in the mouth that is not too weak or strong? Note if your mouth feels like it is drying out or if it feel refreshed. As well, is the texture of the wine smooth and silky or is it harsh and fizzy.

When ordering wine with your meal, always select wine based on you and your guests’ personal tastes. When choosing a wine with a particular meal, most people follow the general rule: “white wine with lighter foods and red wine with heavier foods.”

It is important to select a wine that you will enjoy, regardless of what you are eating. If you are unsure of what to select, your server will be able to offer some helpful tips.

Learning to smell and taste wine, including the characteristics of a fine wine, will go long way to ensuring you made the right wine selection.

Wine is a wonderful and satisfying complement to a meal at any restaurant. Knowing how to properly taste the wine will make the dining experience even more satisfying.


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