Drinking Wine

Drinking wine
Learn more about this awesome photo of the Society of Artists’s Selection Committee in Sydney here.

When do you aerate a wine? When do you decant it? I smell banana in this wine… am I weird? What does corked wine smell like? What do I drink with what?? Learn all of the tips for drinking wine here.

Tips for Drinking Wine

For and foremost, remember that there is one key to drinking wine: enjoying it. Like fashion, and food, and one’s choice of reading material, wine is personal. Choose wines that fit your taste, and remember that your tastes can change. Even when you discover styles you love, be open to trying new wines.

Tip #1: Check out the color

Just so you can say something about it such as, “Oh, look at that ruby red.” Kidding.

Noting a wine’s color will help you, over time, understand a wine more. For a while, they might all look the same burgundy color, but you will quickly notice that different wine varietals, wine styles, and aged wines will all determine a wine’s color. Is it deep red? Does it have more of a purple tinge? Or perhaps more of a rust color? If you’re drinking a white, it is a clear white? Does it have a slight green tinge? Or perhaps a more honey color or straw yellow?

Try to locate your white wine’s color on this chart by Bordeaux Undiscovered, which organizes wine colors into these categories:

  • Nearly clear
  • Green yellow
  • Platinum yellow
  • Pale yellow
  • Pale gold
  • Deep gold
  • Pale salmon
  • Deep pink
  • Deep salmon

Try to locate your red wine’s color on this list:

  • Deep pink
  • Deep salmon
  • Pale ruby
  • Deep violet
  • Deep purple
  • Tawny

Tip #2: Swirl and smell

Just so you can say something like, “Check out those legs.” Kidding. (Actually, half kidding: check out the article “Nice Legs” for more information about legs in wine.) Then smell the wine. Smell it deeply. What does it smell like? Ask yourself if you can identify:

  • Flowers
  • Fruits
  • Tree fruits
  • Tropical fruits
  • Red fruits
  • Black fruits
  • Dried fruits
  • Spices
  • Vegetables
  • Earth

Articles on wine aromas

Tip #3: Taste

Sip and savor. What do you taste? Try placing the flavors you taste by using these categories for red wine:

  • Fruity
  • Floral
  • Herbal
  • Vegetal
  • Oak flavors

How else could you describe the wine? Does it fit any of these descriptors?

  • Silky
  • Chalky
  • Creamy
  • Acidic
  • Delicate
  • Elegant
  • Bold
  • Fruit-forward
  • Intense
  • Complex
  • Balanced

Tip #4: Pair wine (or not)

Are you drinking this wine with food? Check out our Guide to Food and Wine Pairing to learn how to pair flavors and dishes.

Are you drinking this wine alone? Find out whether or not you should decant it in our Aerating vs. Decanting article.