Wine Tasting Skills: Oz Clarke’s How to Taste Wine, Part One

Wine tasting with Oz Clarke

Discover wine tasting skills from the Three Wine Men experts and make drinking wine an even more rewarding experience, one step at a time. Practise these skills at home or with friends and be raring to go at our wonderful wine tasting events! Find out more about our events at

Over to Oz, for part one…

Wine doesn’t just taste of wine. Any number of aromas and flavours mingle together in the glass – we’re talking dozens, sometimes hundreds – and if you just knock it back the same way you do a cold beer or a soft drink, you could be missing most of whatever flavour the wine has to offer.

Giving wine a bit of thought while you’re drinking it is by far the best method for finding your way around the grapes, regions and styles of the wine world. THINK WHILE YOU DRINK. It’s more fun than studying and one delicious sip will stay in your memory far longer than any book.

Oz’s Tips – Tasting skills

Keep your nose alert:

Make a conscious effort to remember the smells you encounter in daily life and give them names. These smells form the basis of your tasting vocabulary and are the key to disentangling the elusive smells in wine.

Remember fruit flavours:

Fruit aromas and flavours are common in wine and it pays to be familiar with blackcurrants, blackberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries and plums for red wines, and with lemons, limes, apples, apricots, peaches and tropical fruits for whites.

Make notes:

Keep a record of the wines you have tasted and your assessments. Two or three key words in your diary will do.

Make tasting a habit:

Whenever a glass of wine comes your way, take a moment to look at it, smell it and taste it. If you’re having a meal, consider how the wine and food interact. Do they draw an extra dimension of flavour out of each other or does one knock the other flat?

Hold your own tastings:

Get together with some friends to compare a range of wines. With everyone pitching in their ideas, you’ll end up with a broader view of what a wine is like. And you’ll have much more fun. Start by investigating the differences between two or three grape varieties. Then try comparing several wines from the same variety or from the same region.

Extracted from Oz Clarke’s Let Me Tell You About Wine, published by Pavilion Books. Image credit to Pavilion Books, RRP £14.99, available to order from all good bookshops and online retailers including Amazon here

We hope you enjoy practising these wine tasting skills!  Keep a look out for the next post, focussing more on your amazing senses of sight and smell…

Do let us know how you’re getting on, or what else you’d like to learn from the Three Wine Men on our Facebook page at or @ThreeWineMen on Twitter.