Sight - Hold the glass towards the light. Note the color, clarity and brilliance of the wine. If the wine is cloudy or discolored that indicates something wrong with the blend. Older red wines will often have more orange tinges on the edges than younger red wines. Older white wines are darker than younger white wines when comparing the same varietal at different ages.
Swirl - Swirling the glass sends oxygen through the wine and releases the wine's aromas. Swirl the wine in your glass for a solid 10 to 12 seconds by lightly holding the stem of the wineglass and rotating your wrist. Notice how the wine hits the sides of the glass. This will give you clues as to how full-bodied the wine is.
Smell - Place your nose just over the edge of the wine glass, enabling the aromas to bounce off the edge. Keep your mouth open. Close your eyes to take in the full impact of the bouquet. A wine’s aroma is an excellent indicator of its quality and unique characteristics.
Sip - Take a sip and let the wine roll over your taste buds for several seconds. Consider the texture and flavor of the wine. On the second sip, try swishing the wine around in your mouth. Some tasters “chew” the wine.
Swallow - Exhale through your nose as you swallow, allowing your taste buds and sense of smell to work together. After you swallow, note the finish and length of the wine. The finish is the aftertaste and the length is the period of time that it lingers.
Stemware - The type of wine glass you use can affect the flavors and the aromas of the wine. A well-designed glass creates a “chimney” so that the aroma of the wine is concentrated and wafts toward the nose. It is generally accepted that a white wine glass has a longer stem and narrower bowl, while a red wine glass has a shorter stem and wider bowl. For an optimal wine-drinking experience, Mount Pleasant recommends Riedel glassware. Riedel has designed a different glass to meet the unique characteristics of each varietal of wine. A glass of Missouri’s Norton sings in your mouth when served from Riedel’s Norton glass.