Riesling to the Challenge

Elysium Magazine’s guide to tasting wine



If you don’t know your Merlot from your Riesling this is the guide for you. Elysium recently visited Vinopolis and got some top tips on how to taste wine like a connoisseur.


Tom Forrest first explains its important to know why you should taste wine. In summary:


Tasting and reviewing wine will help you identify what parts of the wine you like and dislike. You can then look for those elements when selecting a wine. Tasting wine before a date or party can help match the wine to a menu. If a wine is faulty you can reject it and get a bottle in a good condition.


There are four steps used when tasting wines – which are the same regardless of which colour, style or wine you taste.



Step one:

You should lock up your wine in a cabernet 

Tip the glass to a 45 degree angle and look at the wine against a white background.


Is the wine clear or dull?


If its dull it could indicate the wine is faulty



Is the colour pale or deep?


This indicates the intensity of the flavour


Which key words describe the wine?


Young white wines will go transparent towards the edge. Young reds go pink towards the edge.


As the wines get older the edge will take on a golden or tawny note and this will extend towards the centre over time.


Step two:

The first time wine taster had a blanc stare on his face



The swirling will release the aromas from the surface of the wine.


Condition. Does this wine smell right?


Faulty wines tend to replace the fragrant wine aromas with the stench of old shoes.


Intensity. How strong are the aromas?


Better quality wine will tend to have stronger aromas than inexpensive wines.


What does the wine smell of?


This is subjective as we all smell different things. There are six main categories:



Fruit, Floral, Spice, Vegetal, Oak and other.



Contact with oak will add flavour but everything else will come with fermentation.


Step three:

Chardonnay may not be champagne, but it’s still wine



The part you have been waiting for!



Slurping gets the wine’s fumes into a nasal cavity called the olfactory bulb. This gland can recognise between five to then thousand flavour elements opposed to drinking which picks up the sweetness, bitterness, acidity and salt.



Take a small amount of wine into your mouth, tilt your head forward, and suck some air through your pursed lips and through the wine. This will result in the wine vapours, rather than the wine itself, ending up behind your nose.


One you have slurped and held the wine in your mouth for a short time look for the levels of sweetness, acidity, bitterness and the body/texture ofthe wine. Use the same categories for the smell to describe the taste:


Fruit, Floral, Spice, Vegetal, Oak and other.


These will help you focus on the characteristics of the wine.


Does the wine taste the same as it smelt?


Look for the flavours you found using your nose. Is there just one or a number adding complexity to the wine. Are they in balance or does one overpower the other?


Length – how long do the flavours remain in your mouth? The longer they stay the better the quality of wine.


Finally, look at the observations you have made so far and ask yourself the most important question – do I like the wine?


Step four:

Riesling to the Challenge





Two reasons to spit out wine. If its a poor wine or if you have to taste a number of wines and want to remain standing!


In all other cases enjoy the wine like it was meant to be enjoyed! For more expert advice visit the website: www.vinopolis.co.uk

Sam Uppal

Sam Uppal

Sam loves all things style and grooming. He’s passionate about showcasing new technology, helping to tell the story of new businesses and entertainment for the discerning gent.