First and foremost, wine is made to drink and enjoy, sure there are a few who collect and invest in wine, but for most of us - we just want a good glass to enjoy at the end of the day! Having said that there are a few ways you can enhance your enjoyment and learn a little more about what you are drinking.
First, wine swirling - This mixes air with the wine. This releases the aromas and sniffing those aromas will tell something about the wine but it can’t tell everything.
Sniff and take a sip. The nose and mouth smell through nasal and retronasal passages in the back of the throat. You taste with your tongue. The nose can smell fruity aromas and tell taste buds sweet, when, in fact the wine may actually be dry, the opposite of sweet. Something we have to address right now, it is what so many people fear most, you take that sip and you just do not like that wine. First do not panic everyone tries a wine that they do not like from time to time. Look to either end of the table and you will find a dump bucket and you politely pour the remainder in there. Do not worry the person pouring WILL NOT be offended. It is that simple!!
Take a sip of wine, then inhale - Just like swirling wine in a glass mixes air with the wine to release aromas, inhaling forces air to mix with the wine in your mouth to achieve the same thing. Flavors and aromas that may be detected in wine are too many to list; however, come of the basics include: flowers, smoke, toast, grass, herbs, fruits, vegetables, coffee, chocolate and tobacco.
When discussion wine, everyone has an opinion. More often that not, different people will detect different aromas and flavors in the very same bottle. Your interpretation and perceptions are just as valid as the next person’s. Comparing the differences makes good conversion, but in the end, only you know what you like!