How do you taste wine?

Tasting wine involves three distinct actions: look, smell, and taste. Doing these in turn will help you experience wine in its entirety, using your senses in combination to understand the flavours and texture. 
The more wines you taste, the more you will learn about spotting the subtle differences between different grapes and years, helping you pinpoint exactly which combination of factors is your favourite.
With our help, you can go from civilian to sommelier in the popping of a cork.
Once you’ve opened the bottle and poured a glass, take a look at your wine from a few different angles. Try to find somewhere with good lighting, and avoid any backgrounds (such as wallpaper or curtains) that are particularly patterned – you want as uninterrupted a view of your wine as possible.
Look from above and the side so you can see the depth of the colour and how clear the liquid is. You want it as clear as possible with a hint of a shine to it. 
Note that red wine in particular usually has a bit of sediment that will appear at the bottom of the glass. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Coupled with a bad smell (we’ll come to that later), it could be a warning sign, but alone this is fine.
Tilt the glass to see the difference between the outer layer of the liquid as well as the rich core of it. When the wine reaches higher up the sides of the glass, you will be able to see if it forms ‘legs’: streaks of liquid that fall down the glass. This indicates a greater alcohol and glycerine content, and therefore means it is full-bodied.
You can also check this by placing the glass on a flat surface and swirling it gently to make the liquid dance. Seasoned pros may be able to do this holding the glass aloft, but while you’re getting used to it, a flat surface will prevent spillages.
The colour of the wine is also important for checking quality. White wines that have started to turn will come out of the bottle a dark yellow shade, whereas red wines can look brown. Much like excess sediment, these will only indicate a bad wine when paired with other symptoms, such as an ‘off’ smell.
Your nose works in tandem with your tongue to create taste, so taking the time to really appreciate the aroma of a wine will give you a more rounded experience.
Firstly, hover your nose above the glass and take a few short sniffs to detect the prominent aromas. This is where you will really be able to tell if the wine is corked, as it will smell musty like old, damp cardboard. 
Any fruity aromas should smell fresh, and can help you to pick out which complementary flavours have been used alongside the grapes. Other smells from the wine itself can include herbal or grassy aromas.
The barrel in which the wine has been stored can also have an impact upon its smell. Oak barrels will often result in the wine having a smell of vanilla about it, as a result of the compound ‘vanillin’ which exists in oak. Other smells that oak can create include caramel, honey, and toffee, especially in white wines.
Some ‘off’ smells, including the scent of burnt matches (often a result of sulphur dioxide), will disappear once the wine has had a good swirl and exposure to air. Brettanomyces can create a heavier smell of yeast in red wines, which is not a problem provided it doesn’t overpower the other smells. 
Warm-up done, it’s time for the main event: tasting the wine. Take a sip, and roll the wine across the different parts of your tongue to get a sense of its full tapestry of tastes, from the sweet to the bitter.
This will also give you an indication of how full-bodied the wine is (as you will be able to taste how ‘heavy’ it is), as well as how balanced the flavours are. If you can detect one particular taste to the detriment of others, then it may not have aged well, or even just been made poorly.
Well-made wine will offer you different flavours the more you taste, showing its complexity with every sip.
Take note of how long the flavours linger, too. A good quality wine will have a very distinct aftertaste, adding another element to the taste experience. Only once you’ve allowed your palate to consider the aftertaste can you have a full appreciation for the flavour of the wine.
And that’s it! It seems like a lot of steps for something as simple as taking a sip of wine, but the more you practise, the more you will find that you do this without giving it too much thought, and appreciate the rich flavour combinations in all their glory.
A good wine can be such a pleasure. With these steps, you’ll be able to savour every complexity of flavour and pick out exactly what you look for in your tipple of choice.