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A beginner’s guide to wine-tasting!

  • October 15, 2018

Wine is a world of possibilities. A universally beloved drink, the making of wine is an ancient tradition with as many nuances and complexities as devotees. To the wine connoisseur, a glass of wine is more than just fermented grapes – it’s a story, told through countless generations, of seasons, vineyards, and terroir. To truly taste a glass of wine is to glimpse greatness.
Of course, most of us are not trained in tasting wine. That means this world of possibilities can be confusing, and even worse, discouraging. We’re here to tell you that even if you can’t tell the difference between a $4 blend and a $60 pinot noir, wine tasting doesn’t have to be intimidating! After all, wine is here to be enjoyed.
That said, if you’re interested in learning how to truly appreciate wine, here are some tips to get you started!


So much of appreciating wine is noticing the tiny differences, and that starts at the moment you see what’s in your glass. Aside from the difference between white and red, there are countless subtleties that differentiate one wine from another. Look at the color. Is it a deep, ruby red, or more pale? When you swirl it around the glass, do legs form on the inside of your glass as the fluid returns to its sitting state? All of these are clues about the wine you’re about to experience, but don’t worry about that yet – just take it in, and enjoy the beauty of the glass.


Much of what we think of as “taste” actually comes from our nose – so before we actually put the glass to our lips, it’s important to appreciate the smell of the wine! Swirl the glass (this helps add oxygen to the wine, which makes the bouquet more pronounced) and take a deep breath through your nose. Really think about what it reminds you of - is it floral, or fruity? What does it remind you of? Don’t worry, there are no wrong answers here. The point is to think about the wine, not write a quiz!


This is the real point. There is so much to experience here as all your senses combine. How does the wine feel on your mouth? Is it thick like syrup, or thin? Sweet, or rich? Bitter? Even better, the smells you just appreciated at this point open up and become even more clear. Try to come up with descriptors about what it reminds you of – blueberry pie? The richness of a cola? The dark sweetness of an overripe cherry? Again, there are no wrong answers. The point is that you are opening your mind to the wine, and learning how to appreciate it! It’s not hard, but it is rewarding. Just be careful – you may like it so much, wine tasting will become a part of your life!
With that in mind, we hope that you’ll visit the Hotel Indigo Napa Valley to kickstart your lifelong wine journey! Our friendly staff will be happy to point you in the direction of our favorite vineyards in the Napa region – just book your stay and we’ll take care of the rest


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