Here is how NOT to taste the wine, if you are the organizer of a restaurant party and you are responsible for the satisfaction of your guests:
- Inspect the bottle.
- Sniff the cork.
- Allow the waitress to pour a small amount of wine into your glass.
- Swirl, shake, sniff, sip, hold the wine in your mouth for a long, thoughtful period as you evaluate it. Swallow.
- Pause for another long, thoughtful period.
- Announce “It’s good” and allow the waitress to pour wine for the rest of the party.
Clue-phone for anyone who actually does this: it’s pretentious as all hell. You are NOT judging the wine to determine if it’s fine enough for your guests to drink. (“They don’t care what they drink, as long as it burns.”) What you’re doing is determining if the wine has gone bad - i.e. is it “corked”, has the cork rotted and tainted the wine with cork flavor, or has the wine turned to vinegar?
Either of these mishaps makes the wine completely undrinkable, and it’s not a hard call to make. If wine has gone bad, you will hardly be able to force it down your throat. If you have ever had “bad” wine, you know what I am talking about. If you’re uncertain whether the wine is bad or good, it’s good.
Beyond making this basic distinction of “Has the wine gone bad, or is it fit to drink?” your job as a wine-taster has ended. The distinction takes one tiny sip and one second; if you can swallow it, it’s good.
For corn’s sake, drop the silly charade of pretending to judge all the wine’s inner subtle qualities, as if you can even tell what any of them are. That’s not what your job is.