Pour a small amount of wine into each glass (1 to 2 ounces). Any more will be difficult to swirl the wine in the glass. Hold your glass in front of a white background and take a look at the color of the wine. This is an indication of the wine's body. A light red wine will probably be light to medium-bodied where a darker red is fuller-bodied. If a white wine looks deep golden rather than light yellow, then it will probably be a heavier white with more oak flavor. What does the color remind you of? Does the red wine have jewel tones or deep purple notes? Is the white straw colored or clear?
Swirl the wine in the glass to release the aromas. Smell the wine and note aromas. Does the wine smell fruity? Spicy? Oaky? Do you smell grass? Or chocolate?
Take a sip and breathe in air to intensify the taste. Close your eyes and concentrate on the flavors of the wine and the weight of it in your mouth, recording any details that impress you. Do you taste berries? Citrus? Herbs? How does it feel in your mouth? Is it silky? Smooth? Spicy?
Finally, what kind of finish does the wine have? Can you taste it for a while after swallowing or does the taste disappear quickly? What flavors do you taste? What is happening in your mouth? Is it beginning to water from the acidity, and/or is it dry and causing your mouth to pucker from the tannins?
Clean your palate
Take a sip of water or have a small piece of an unflavored cracker, i.e. Carr’s Crackers, in between tasting the different wines to rinse your palate.
After recording your own thoughts, discuss the wines with your friends. Did everyone smell and taste the same characteristics in the wine? Which wines did you enjoy the most? Why?
There is no right or wrong answer! Just like everyone likes different food, wine is a personal preference too. Some people love big buttery Chardonnays from Sonoma County, other people love a Napa Valley Cabernet that they can smell from across the room. Drink what you like and Like what you drink!
Print out this wine tasting chart for you and your guests to record your impressions.
Remember, any cocktail is best enjoyed in moderation, and only by those of legal drinking age.