Wine merchant Roland Peens to give his best picks of some premium selections for this festive season
Pic by Tony Gentile (Reuters)
Wine merchant Roland Peens to give his best picks of some premium selections for this festive season Pic by Tony Gentile (Reuters)
How to taste (and pick) wine like a professional
PICTURE: GEOFFREY FAIRCHILD
How to taste (and pick) wine like a professional PICTURE: GEOFFREY FAIRCHILD
Wine tasting is a fun activity to do; I do it almost all the time with my friends and it can also be a very great way to discover a new wines. 

What I like about wine tasting is that it evokes almost all the senses; we have to see, taste and smell the wine. As much as I have been to many wine tasting events, I believe I still need some more tasting tips for me to taste wine like a pro. 

It is said: ‘becoming a better wine taster is the first step in becoming a better wine buyer’ and believe me I’m not there yet.  I need help most of the time when it comes to choosing good wine. 

So I asked wine merchant and expert palate, Roland Peens to share his tips on how to taste wine like a professional.

Roland Peens and James Pietersen of Wine Cellar. Pic supplied

Below are his tips.

No to perfume
It sounds simple, but one poorly administered eau du toilette can ruin an entire tasting. To enjoy the incredible nuances that wine can deliver, make sure the environment is pure and calm.  

Concentrate
Another seemingly simple idea is remembering to concentrate while tasting. What are the nuances, flavours and textures triggering impulses in your brain? The more perception you take cognisance of, the more pleasure and memory will be activated, the better your tasting ability.  

Invest in good stemware
Forget trying to taste wine from the thick-lipped, cone-shaped wine glasses. There are many fine stemware options out there that allow for good swirling and more importantly, concentrating the flavours to the top of the glass.

Temperature is very important
Serving wine too cold will hide the flavours and elevate the tannins. Too warm and the flavours change and tannins soften. Rather serve on the cold side, allowing the wine to warm up in the glass to find its sweet spot.

How to taste (and pick) wine like a professional PICTURE: GEOFFREY FAIRCHILD

Taste with a blank slate
It’s good to know what you like, but don’t bring preconceived ideas to a tasting. Even wine professionals are tripped up by varieties and styles that they detest. Treat all wines equally to begin with!

Be promiscuous
With all the new wines on the market and easy online shopping, there is no excuse to seek out different producers and interesting varieties. There are many great wines beyond Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Read
If you don’t know what you are tasting for, you won’t find it. The more you know, the more you taste and enjoy. Online blogs via social media is quick source of current information.