Sip and Really Savor Your Wine

Sip and Really Savor Your Wine

Enough with the foreplay. It’s time to drink.

We’ve been talking about the 5 S’s of wine tasting: See. Swirl. Smell. Sip. Savor.

We’ve already been through the Seeing and Swirling. Then we stuck our nose in the glass and inhaled big so we could attempt to identify its Smell.

And while this all has been one big tease, we did it to get our brain ready for the grand finale.

Thankfully, it’s time to Sip and Savor.

If it’s your first drink of the day, take an initial quick Sip to get your palate ready.

Then take a second sip, that’s about one or two tablespoons, and swish it around your mouth, like it’s Listerine.

Even better, try to pull in some air while the wine is in your mouth, as if you’re sucking threw a straw. (It’s acquired skill, we get it. So beware of the dribble as you practice.)

Then for the next 30 seconds or so pay attention — and Savor — what happens in your mouth.

And see if you can answer these questions.

Was there an initial pop? Or did it slip down your throat and disappear?

Does it have acid? Acid is that tartness that balances out the sugar. Think of citrus drinks, like orange juice or lemonade. Acid helps a wine (or your juice) feel crisp and fresh and makes you want to take another sip. Without it, the wine is flat and sour so you might as well dump it out.

Is there a lot of Alcohol? While, you may feel some heat in the back of your throat, alcohol typically adds weight to the wine. It could actually feel heavy on your tongue. It’s like the difference between skim milk, whole milk or heavy cream, says Kevin Zraly, one of the world’s greatest wine teachers and founder of the 41-year- old Windows on the World Wine School. Your big Cabernets will feel like heavy cream, whereas a good Pinot Noir may be more like whole milk and think of a light Rosé as your skim.

Is there sweetness? Do you taste the residual sugar or is it just dry? Can you taste the fruit?

Does it have tannin? Tannins dry out your mouth and make your tongue feel like it can stick to the roof of your mouth. Tannins come from the grape skins, seeds and stems and help keep the wine safe while it ages, which is why you’ll often find them in red wines.

What’s the length? How long does the wine stay with you after you spit or swallow? Generally, the longer the length, the higher the quality.

And finally is it balanced? When a wine is balanced, everything is seamless. Think of it like fruit at the bottom of a yogurt, says Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, Master of Wine. “Once you mix it up you can’t tell the difference between the fruit and the yogurt.” So everything from the acidity to the alcohol work in harmony and don’t jar your mouth separately.

So if you happen to be at our event, Around the World in 80 Sips, or just want to better understand your own taste profile, start to pay attention to these things.

Some people even take notes. Whatever works.

As long as you keep drinking wine with us.

Tracy Byrnes, former FOX Business Network anchor and host of “Wine with Me” for, is editor-in-chief and chief contributor of The Sip. 

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