Drinking wine can be a wonderful experience. When drinking fine wine one must remember that it is a living thing that changes over time. The best wines usually go through several phases and reveal their true nature with age.
See that you have appropriately prepped your wine so that it is the proper temperature for drinking. There are varying opinions for what the temperature should be but as a rule of thumb: if it is white, chill the bottle for a few hours before drinking, if it is red serve at room temperature.
If your drink of choice contains sediment you will need to decant it. Older wine is more likely to contain sediment. It is sometimes advisable to stand the bottle upright for several hours to allow the sediment to move to the bottom. Remove the entire capsule from the bottle so you have a clear view of the bottle neck. This is so you can observe the wine coming through the neck for sediment. To enhance your view position a light shining through the neck from behind. This can be a torch or candle. Now pour the wine into a decanter using a slow and steady pace. As you notice the sediment collating in the neck you will need to stop pouring. If a small amount of sediment has made it into the decanter or glass there is no great need for concern.
The bottle should have half a glass of wine remaining. This can be used to make a very tasty gravy. You are now ready to enjoy your wine.
Looking at a glass of wine can yield a lot of information. To avoid mistaking the colour it is best to view it in front of a white background like a piece of paper, a table cloth or a plate.
The colour of a red wine may give some clue as to how old it is. Many red wines start life more of a purple, opaque colour and become paler, tawny, red brick like with age. This new colour will initially appear at the rim of the wine and gradually the whole wine will take this colour.
Colour change can also happen with white wine. Desert wine from Sauternes in Bordeaux can change from a lemon gold colour to a rich golden amber.
By swirling the glass around you increase the surface area of the wine and allow more contact with the air. It is at the interface between wine and air that make the aromas more apparent.
Now stick your nose in the glass and take a good sniff. Young red wines may have primary aromas such as blackcurrant or raspberries. Older red wines may begin to give off secondary aromas which may be more earthy or animalistic.
When you taste wine it is important to remember that the majority of tastes you sense are not with the tongue but with the nasal chemoreceptor’s that are involved with smell. Aromas from the wine in the mouth pervade the upper airways, and it is the sensation from the nasal receptors that we use to taste the wine. This is why it is difficult to taste food and drink when you have a blocked nose. So by simply breathing through the nose while you taste can help release the aromas.