The Five S’s of Enjoying & Evaluating Wine

Sight: Hold your glass by the stem, lift it to the light or hold it against a light background and take a good look at the wine. Wine should be clear and brilliant, rather than cloudy or hazy. Color intensity usually indicates good quality.
Swirl: Swirling the wine glass will introduce air, releasing its aromas and flavors. Also, when the wine runs down the sides of the glass quickly, it is light-bodied. If it takes longer to run down and forms streaks on the side of the glass, that’s called “legs”, meaning it’s full-bodied.
Smell: Take a good long sniff of the wine to appreciate its aroma and bouquet. Aroma originates from the fruit itself. Bouquet includes smells created in the wine making process, such as aging in oak barrels. Smelling the wine includes recalling pleasant aromas familiar to you… such as lemon, berries, or vanilla.
Sip: Here is where you finally get to taste the wine. For the first sip, roll the wine around in your mouth, since different parts of your tongue will experience a different sensation. For example, the tip of your tongue can tell you how sweet a wine is, while the sides of your tongue will feel tartness.
Savor: Finally, take a drink as you normally would to taste the full, complex flavors of the wine as a whole. After you swallow, notice the “finish”, or the lingering flavors in your mouth.