Take a sip, not a large swallow, of wine into your mouth and try sucking on it as if pulling it through a straw. Ignore the stares of those around you; this simply aerates the wine and circulates it throughout your mouth. This coats your mouth with the wine, much like swirling does in the glass, and allows you to assess the wine better. Again, ask yourself questions about the aromas and flavors, then think about the way the wine feels and tastes in your mouth.
A wine is balanced when all the different components are working in harmony – a balanced wine is one where no one component protrudes or awkwardly sticks out.
The key components in a wine that should be in balance are alcohol, acidity, tannin, sweetness and fruit concentration or extract. Balanced wines are refreshing, elegant, pleasant to drink, and they tend to age longer than those that are not.
Complexity can mean many things. Your ability to detect and appreciate complexity in wine will become a good gauge of your overall progress in learning how to taste wine.
But, concretly, it’s when you taste it, the flavor changes from the moment you taste it to the moment you swallow. They are like good paintings; the more you look at them the more there is to see.
A complete wine is balanced, harmonious, complex and evolved, with a lingering, satisfying finish. Such wines deserve extra attention, because they have more to offer, in terms of both pleasure and training, than any others you will taste.
Anyway, If you’re tasting with others, talk about the wine. Be confident in what you think. Do you think the wine tastes and smells of strawberries? Do you think it’s sweet or dry? Everyone tastes differently and there are no right or wrong answers, so don’t be intimidated if someone picks up something that is different from you. Just sit back, relax and have another drink.