I’m a winery owner and this is how I can tell if you’re a wine pro or just pretending – and why you’re probably sniffing your drink the wrong way.
- A winemaker reveals how to taste well
- He said you should sniff with one nostril at a time, not both.
A wine expert has revealed how to look like a professional when tasting – and the mistakes he sees most people make.
Paul Squire, owner of Wine estate of the squiresknew nothing about wine “apart from drinking it” before opening his cellar ten years ago, but has since become familiar with the tricks of the trade.
He said the “legs” everyone is looking for are just a sign of the alcohol content of the wine and that tasters should never “put their whole nose” into the glass to smell its aroma.
Instead, wine lovers should taste their drink by swirling it slightly before smelling it with one nostril at a time – without overdoing it.
“The swirl opens up, so you’re looking to swirl and bring the oxygen in, oxygenate it a bit and release the flavors, release the aromas,” he told FEMAIL.
Winemaker Paul Squire (pictured) has revealed his tips for tasting wine like a pro and the big mistakes many people make
Paul added that people then often put their whole nose in the glass, which is a bad idea.
“A lot of people make the mistake, they stick both nostrils together and they snort it. Try to avoid this as you tend to drink large amounts of alcohol which can burn your nose,” he explained.
Instead, Paul said to smell the aromas with one nostril, wait a few seconds, then sniff with the other.
Wine connoisseurs will often be seen swirling a glass to inspect the “legs” which are the ridges that form inside the glass.
Paul said that people then often put their whole nose into the glass to smell the aroma of the wine, but instead they should sniff it one nostril at a time.
A wine lover’s guide to tasting like a pro
- Swirl it slightly
- Look at the ‘legs’, the more the higher the alcohol content and the richer the flavor
- To smell the wine, sniff with one nostril then the other after a few seconds
- Hold the glass against a white to shiny surface to assess the color. Each wine will have different ideal colors
- Taste and enjoy
- Don’t taste too much in one day or your taste buds will get exhausted. Stick to five or 10 in one session
Paul explained that the legs are simply an indicator of the alcohol content of the wine.
“The legs are indeed the alcohol and the stickiness as well. You want to look around the legs to make sure there is no water,” he said.
Paul said it’s also worth looking at the color of the wine you’re tasting and while every grape is different, there’s a surefire way to look like a real pro when judging the hue of a drop.
‘A little tip for color, don’t have it against a dark color. You always want to have it against a consistent color. What I like to do is put it on a white background,” Paul said holding a glass of red Durif against a white menu.
A pinot noir, for example, should be a “light ruby” color whereas you want to look for a deep purple in a Malbec and a nice yellow in a Sauvignon Blanc.
Paul said the legs people are looking for are an indicator of the alcohol content of the wine: “It’s also about the alcohol and the viscosity. You want to look around the legs to make sure there is no water.
What colors should you look for in your favorite wine?
Pinot Noir –
Pinot Gris –
Sauvignon Blanc –
Chenin Blanc –
He joked that holding your glass up against a menu would either make a bartender think you’re a real wine expert or freak them out.
For those who enjoy tasting wine but are unfamiliar with the technicalities of what makes a premium drop, Paul said relax.
“If you’re tasting 20 or 30 wines and walking around different wineries, it’s a long day and by the end of that time your taste buds are almost exhausted,” he said.
“Unless you’re an expert, unless you’re a wine master and spend your life doing this, if you’re just someone looking to take a winery tour, just choose three wineries , but try not to do ten in one day.’
Paul’s final tip was for red fans who want to serve guests their favorite drop.
He recommended decanting wine for an hour before guests arrive rather than just before you want to drink it.
Paul said this would give the wine time to aerate and then you should put the liquid back in its bottle to reduce the risk of spoilage.
Squires Winery is located on the River Ovens near the New South Wales/Victoria border, just 70km west of Wadonga.