Hosting a wine tasting at your home? Or serving several different bottles of wine for a meal or event? Maybe visiting a winery for a wine tasting?

One of the more essential aspects to a wine tasting is the order in which you taste the different wine varietals.

It is suggested to taste wine in a particular order to enhance the experience and not diminish or damage the tastes of the wines that follow. A general progression for serving and tasting wine is whites before reds, light body before full body, young vintages before old, dry before sweet wines, and fragrant white wines before oaky white wines.

 First of all the order to taste wines is totally up to you and some wine connoisseurs  recommend slightly different progression. However, most wine experts recommend that wines should be tasted in the following order.

Wine Tasting Guidelines

  • Whites before reds. Red wines will typically leave a heavier taste in your mouth
  • Light body before heavy body. The wines with deeper color are usually heavier, than the lighter colored wines. If you start with a heavy wine, the lighter wine seems almost flavorless
  • Dry before sweet as sugar coats the palate and can make dry wines taste bitter
  • Young vintages before old
  • Fragrant whites before oaky white wines
  • Fortified wines last because of the Alcohol Levels

Wine Tasting Order:

  • Sparkling wines (Champagne, Prasecca, Cava)
  • Light white wines (Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio)
  • Bold white wines (Chardonnay, Viognier, oaked white wines)
  • Rosé and Orange Wines
  • Light red wines (Pinot Noir, Grenache)
  • Bold and high alcohol red wines (Cabernet, Shiraz)
  • Sweet wines (Sweet Riesling, Port, Dessert Wine)

Tasting White Wines

Start with Sparkling Wines:

If your flight contains a sparkling wine start here because of its effervescence.  Begin with sparkling whites, taste dry to sweet and light to full-bodied.

Light-Bodied Very Dry to Dry White Wines

Second, sip on lighter very dry to dry whites.

Full-Bodied and Rich Dry Whites

Next, full-bodied whites. Start with dry then move on to sweet, and unoaked before oaked. As an example, taste Chardonnay before an oaked Chardonnay.

Aromatic White Wines

Next, move on to fragrant and sweeter whites like Dry Riesling

Semi-Sweet to Sweet Whites

Next white wine tasting line-up will be fuller body and semi- sweet and moving to sweet.

Very Sweet and Fortified Sweet Wines

Very sweet white wines are often referred to as dessert wines or ice wines These should be the last white wines you taste. Fortified wines have high alcohol contents, and can overwhelm your sense of smell and your taste.

Tasting Red Wines

First a Rose

As with white wines start with a light dry wine such as a Rose’

Lighter Dry Reds

Next try the Lighter and Dryer Red Wines like Pinot Noir. it’s important to taste more delicate wines before richer, heftier styles. Taste Dry Reds first as sweet wines will cause the dry wines to taste more acidic.

Heavy/Full Body Red Wines

Continue to move up to the heavier and more fuller body wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Progress from lower tannins to higher tannins

Sweet, dessert and fortified wines

Finish your tasting with sweet rich wines such as Port or Sherry. Fortified wines has heavy alcohol content and con override the senses.

Interested in Wine Tasting in Southern California.  Let us take you there! Contact us for fun, safe, affordable wine adventures. 

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