Have you always wanted to learn how to taste wine like a real connoisseur? Can you picture yourself doing those swirly hand movements with the glass and confidently uttering things like ‘Yes, it’s very oaky this one’ and ‘Oooh, I can taste the strawberry notes in this bouquet.’ Admit it – you have haven’t you. There’s no shame in it. We’ve all wished we could taste wine like a pro at some point in our lives. It might be the point at which the Italian waiter asks you what you think of a bottle of red. It might even be at a dinner party in front of friends and colleagues that seem so much more distinguished than you. It doesn’t matter, because learning how to taste wine like a connoisseur is easy.

All you’ve got to do is follow these 8 simple steps and you’ll be tasting like a pro in no time. Cheers – or should that be salud!

Look At The Wine

First things first – get a good look at that glass of wine. Tilt the container so that you can see exactly how the colour changes from the center to the edges, says WikiHow.com journalist Kathy Howe. Hold the glass in front a white background in order to test its true colour. You can use a sheet of paper, a napkin or a tablecloth in order to achieve this. The older a wine, the darker the colour.

Swirl The Wine

Giving the wine a gentle swirl will help it to open up and release more of its unique aromas. The best way to do this is to very softly spread the liquid around the inside surface of the glass, allowing some oxygen to react with the wine.

Get A Big Sniff

Wine tasting is all about using your senses. After you’ve scrutinised the colour of the wine, it’s time to give it a big old sniff. Hold the glass a few inches from your nose and sniff lightly before you take in an entire nose-full.

Check The Viscosity

Bring the glass back from your nose and make a note of the wine’s viscosity – the amount of time it takes to run back down the sides of the glass after you have gently swirled it. The more viscous a wine, the stronger it tends to be, says About.com expert Anne Marie Helmenstine.

Take A Sip But Don’t Swallow

According to the wine blog StayAtHomeWinos.co.uk, the key to wine tasting is expectorating – or in other words, spitting. Take a small sip and roll the liquid around your mouth, taking care to notice which taste buds are most excited by it. When you’re done – spit that mouthful of wine into a spittoon, or the sink if you’re trying some bargain bucket wine tasting at home with friends.

Aspirate

Whilst you’re tasting, remember to aspirate through each mouthful of wine. Purse your lips as if you’re preparing to whistle, then draw a breath in through your mouth and out through your nose. This is the best way to ensure that a wine’s aromas reach their full potential in your nostrils.

Write It Down

The final step is to write down what you have learned. There are four main characteristics that you should have picked up on whilst tasting – the acidity, alcohol level, taste and age of a wine.

Experiment

Once you’ve discovered the hidden secrets of a particular wine, you can use them to enhance the way you drink it, cook with it and enjoy it. Why not do a little experimenting and pair different types of foods with different types of wine?  You never know – you might find the perfect combination for your next dinner party.

Lisa jane is a professional wine taster. She recommends shopping around to find a quality online wine merchants in order to find a reliable source of wine. Lisa can be found blogging about various aromas of wine.