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Stellenbosch Wine Farms: Top tips for wine tasting

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With world-renowned Stellenbosch wine farms a short drive for most Cape residents, preparing for a day of enjoying wine tasting should take a tiny bit of preparation to ensure you get the most out of your experience.

Back to basics

Prepping for wine tasting requires a few essential points of knowledge. We all know wine is made from grapes, but it definitely isn’t those you would find in the grocery store! A specific type of grapes, known as Vitis vinifera, are used for winemaking. These grapes are harvested through various strains and stages in life and are typically smaller, sweeter, and have thicker skins.

When heading to the stunning wine farms in the Stellenbosch region, you’ll be surprised to know that the handling of the wines you taste have a carefully thought out process. The serving, handling and storing of each wine has a significant impact on its aroma and flavour – making a wine tasting experience a true science to master!

How to taste wine like a pro

Wine tasting is a reasonably simple process, with only a few key steps to remember to enjoy the unique flavour profiles each wine has to offer. All you need to remember is you’ll need three senses, your smell, taste and sight!

  1. Using your sight
    Before getting into your glass of wine, taking a moment to examine it can tell you a lot about it. Giving it a closer look to identify its most prominent hue and swirling it to see its tearing on the glass can help you better indicate the wine’s maturation and alcohol levels.
  1. Using your smell
    After taking a closer look at the wine in question, the next step is to position the glass below your nose for a light smell to judge its intensity. Highly aromatic wines are quite distinct, making individual aromas best scented from slightly further away. For expert wine tasters, this process can uncover secrets of the wine’s origin and production.
  1. Time to taste!
    Tasting wine for the first time involves focusing on the flavours and how the liquid feels in your mouth. Identifying the taste structure of the sip you’ve just taken, whether it is sour, bitter or sweet, and individual flavours you can recognise, all take place in this step.

Concluding your tasting

To conclude your wine tasting, here are some key observations to make for each wine:

  • Was the wine enjoyable on your palate?
  • Did the wine taste balanced?
  • Would you consider this wine to have a unique flavour?
  • Where there any notable flavour characteristics?

Going back to the basics of looking, smelling and tasting the unique wines you’ll encounter during a wine tasting in the Stellenbosch vineyards will leave you a pro in no time.