How To Taste And Drink Wine. The Fancy Way

December is usually the time the “prodigal sons and daughters” return home for a week or two. Some bring us nguo za Christmas 💃, others bring us money that can only buy two KFCs meals 😆, while others wanatuletea tu salamu😡 (bora uhai). My friend, Let’s call him M, brought me wine🍷, a Luc Belaire Rare Rosé. I know you didn’t read that, but you’re forgiven. At this point, I am so flattered that he got me a wine “with my name” on it. Rose. Anyway, instead of this guy giving me “my bottle of wine,” he goes ahead and insults my wine-taking technique. He says, “I have not just brought you a bottle of wine, I have brought you an experience!”.

He invites me over to his place that Sunday evening and tells me “today is the day” (guys, it is not what you are thinking😂). I get there and find he has prepared a mouth-watering dish, viz creamy rice, chicken pieces, seasoned vegetables, and the bottle of wine. But before we could eat, he took me through a rigorous crash course on wine that made me start appreciating wine. Thanks, M.

Do not worry about how the evening ended😊. But, he made me realize how much I chose not to experience when it came to taking and exploring wine. I made a point of changing, and I am here to share and show you how much you are missing out on. If you are a beginner in taking wine, you can’t be in a better place than here. 

Come along with me and let us recapture the art of tasting and drinking wine in five simple steps;

1. See

 Wine involves all our senses, and the first one is sight. If this will be your first time buying a bottle of wine, the first thing you will notice is its color. Is it white, red or rosé?

White wines are made mainly from green grapes, which are pressed before fermentation to separate the juice from the skins. The color of the wine is mostly yellow. The yellow can range from straw-yellow, yellow-green, or yellow-gold. Examples of white wine varietals include chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, and pinot grigio. 

Other white wines are made from grapes with colored skin like red grapes, provided the grape juice is drained before the red pigment in the skin alters it. Pinot noir grapes (red) used to make champagne go through this process. 

Red wines are made from dark-skinned grapes. The color can range from very intense violet for young wines and brownish color for aged wines. Examples of grapes varieties used to make red wine are cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot, and pinotage.

Rosé wines are made when red grapes touch the grape juice only for a short period, usually 02 to 20 hours. The wine grape skins are removed when the perfect rosé color is achieved. Examples are Luc Belaire Rare Rosé, mateus rosé, nederburg rosé.

Some winemakers mix red wine with white wine to give the rosé color, though this is highly discouraged.

2. Swirl

Once you have purchased the wine bottle of your choice, it is time to improve your experience. First, before opening your bottle of wine, make sure if it is a white wine, it is chilled while red wine should be taken at room temperature. 

Chardonnays are best served slightly chilled. Place them in the refrigerator for about half an hour with the bottle open. The fruit flavors come alive and open up the wine complexities.

Pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, sparkling wine, and champagne are best served really chilled. This makes them crisp and refreshing. 

Now pour your wine into a glass. Make sure the wine reaches where the curve of the glass changes direction (tasting measure). This is to allow for swirling without spilling and for the rising of the aromas. 

3. Smell 

After swirling, tilt and put your nose in there and gently smell the aromas. Do this twice or thrice to get the full range of the scents. To double the magnitude of the smell, cover the wine glass with your hand while swirling, then smell it. The aromas are more robust. You might experience aromas like fruit, i.e., apples, lemon(mostly for white wines), and flowers (mostly rose flower). You might also experience aromas of yeast, mainly in sparkling wines and champagne. In pinot noir wines, you experience earth aromas and chocolate in some red wines and ports. 

You may also experience leather in old red wines, like smelling new leather in a glass of wine, mostly in good wines aged for several years. And you’ll experience a wood-like smell, i.e., cedar in aged red wines or oak in chardonnay. This is why you smell the wine before drinking to experience the broad spectrum of aromas in wines.


4. Sip

Take a small sip from your glass. You want to make sure you bring the wine into contact with all your tastebuds, swish it around your mouth, even under the tongue. This way, you get to tell the flavors in the wine. On the side of the tongue, you get freshness and acidity. On the tip of your tongue, you get the perception of sweetness. 

This is also where you experience the weight (body) of the wine on your palate. Is it heavy? Does it feel rich, or is it super light? The wine’s body is either light-bodied or full-bodied. Light-bodied wine feels light on the palate like non-fat milk, e.g., pinotage wines, zinfandel. Full-bodied feels heavy on the palate like whole milk, e.g., shiraz, cabernet sauvignon. Three aspects contribute to the wine’s body:

  1. The alcohol content. Less alcohol content makes the wine light-bodied, whereas high alcohol content makes the wine heavy-bodied.
  2. Sugar. Less sugar means a light-bodied wine, and more sugar means a heavy-bodied wine.
  3. Oak. If it has stayed in oak barrels for a short period, it is light, but if aged for a while, it feels bigger and richer on the mouth. 
  4. Tannins. They provide texture for red wines since it comes from the grape skin. It is associated with drying out the mouth.

5. Savour

 Wine tasting does not end at the swallow. Assess how long the taste lasts on the tongue. How long does it take before you can no longer taste the wine on your palate? Best-quality wines have a long finish. Always look out for this. Also, think about whether the wine tastes balanced ( acidity, alcohol) or did one overshadow the other. Did you like the wine? What was memorable about it? Will you be buying again?

Make wine tasting a norm every time you are about to experience a new wine. Smell the aromas, taste the flavors. What memories does it conjure? What feelings does it stir? As for me, every time I see or take the  Luc Belaire Rare Rosé, I always remember that evening with Mr. M 😇. 


Wine is an experience, a collector of memories, do not miss out on either of these. Go out, have a good time with family, loved ones, or friends over a glass of wine. Do not forget to swirl and sniff the wine. No, it is not pretentious.

Hopefully, the next time you plan to take wine, you will do it differently and, might I add, like a pro😉.

I did not receive an engraved bottle of wine, but we can help you engrave a bottle for that special friend or person. We also do personalized gifts and gift wrapping.

Get to explore our wide range of wines here. You may do a direct order through the website, WhatsApp 0703608746, or call 0705570066 for direct purchase.

By Roseline Maina: Digital Marketer


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