A Brief Summary on Making Wine Taste Better

  • Wine is a complex drink that’s very sensitive to its environment. 
  • There are many things you can do to make your wine taste better.
  • These techniques include decanting and serving your wine in the right glasses. 
  • Fortunately, it’s easy to improve your wine’s flavors and aromas. 
  • All you need are a few trusty wine-drinking tools and some amazing food. 

When you have a glass of wine in your hand, you’re not just tasting, you’re seeing, smelling, and hearing it too. Wine engages all of your senses and that’s why making just a few changes can make a world of difference. 

To learn more about how you can make your wine taste better, continue reading below. You’ll learn about decanting, controlling your wine’s temperature, food pairings, and serving your wine in the right glasses to make it taste amazing.

Decanting

One of the oldest methods of making your wine taste and smell amazing is decanting. This timeless wine-drinking tool is also incredibly easy to use. 

Decanting does two things. First, it aerates your wine by exposing it to the air. Second, it lets you remove sediment from the bottom of the bottle. 

Want to know more about decanting? Read our Ultimate Decanting Guide.

indoor shot of a professional sommelier pouring red wine from decanter into a glass

Aerating is the process of letting a liquid, in this case your delicious wine, interact with the air. The air will help any unpleasant aromas evaporate away, leaving the pleasant and more subtle aromas behind. 

When you have an aged red wine, it may have some serious sediment buildup in the bottom of the bottle. This is because over time, the tannins and organic material in an old red wine will start to combine and form crystals. 

Although these sediments are harmless, they can still taste bitter and chalky. Decanting lets you remove these sediments, making your wine taste even better. 

You can decant any wine, even white wine, sparkling wine, and rose. However, it’s important to pay attention to how much time each wine takes. 

For white wines, sparkling wines, and rosé wines, 30 minutes or less is all you need. Unless these wines have unpleasant aromas after opening or smell a tight and unexpressive, you don’t have to decant them. 

For red wine and fortified wine, you can decant for 30 minutes or more. Wines that are rich in tannins or are young and full-bodied can be decanted for several hours to maximize their flavors and aromas. 

All you need to decant your wine is a trusty decanter. These glass or crystal containers have wide bowls and can be beautiful and practical centerpieces for your wine collection. 

Serving Wine at the Correct Temperature

Wine is very temperature sensitive. If you drink your wine at the wrong temperature, it may not taste or smell very good. 

This is because each wine contains different compounds that release their aromas at different temperatures. What may be the perfect temperature for one wine may cause another wine to smell and taste dull or overpowering. 

Sparkling wine bottle in an ice bucket on a table next to two glasses

It’s easy to control your wine’s temperature by using a few methods. Below is a simple guide to serving your wine at the right temperature and keeping it delicious. 

Sparkling Wine and Champagne (38° to 45° F)

Champagne, prosecco, cava, and other sparkling wines taste amazing when you serve them cold. To keep them at the right temperature, make sure to store them in the refrigerator a day before serving and keep them in a bucket of ice water after opening. 

Light-bodied White Wine (40° to 45° F)

Similar to sparkling, light-bodied white wines such as sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio thrive when served extra cold. Again, keep them stored in the refrigerator and ice bucket once you open them. 

Full-bodied Whites and Rosé (45° to 55° F)

White wines with higher alcohol and rosés will taste better when served slightly warmer than light-bodied whites and sparkling wines. Store these wines in the refrigerator, but don’t be afraid to have them out at room temperature for a few minutes after opening. 

Light-bodied Reds like Pinot Noir (55° to 60° F)

Some red wines like pinot noir and gamay are light bodied and delicate. Serve these wines just below room temperature by keeping your bottle in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. 

Medium-bodied Reds like Cabernet Franc and Malbec (60° to 65° F)

Medium-bodied red wines are ideal at a brisk room temperature. You can store these wines in a basement, cellar, or quickly chill them for a couple minutes in the refrigerator before serving. 

Full-bodied Reds and Fortified Wines (65° to 68° F)

Full-bodied reds such as cabernet sauvignon and fortified wines such as port are best when served at a cooler room temperature. To get these wines to the right temperature, store them away in a basement, cellar, closet or chill them for two to three minutes if you live in a warm place. 

Pair Your Wine with Food

Wine and food are meant for each other. That’s why you should pair your favorite wine with the right food. 

Food pairing is simple and works like this. Pair your food or wine with its opposite or something extremely similar. 

For example, rieslings are high in acidity with citrus aromas. They will go perfectly with a dish high in fat, like roasted duck or vinegary seafood dishes like sushi. 

two glasses of white wine with Spanish-style food on a table

Merlot is low in acidity with medium tannins. It pairs beautifully with acidic foods like spaghetti and meatballs or roast chicken. 

One of the worst food pairing is medium to full-bodied red wine with spicy food. The tannins and alcohol in these wines will taste incredibly harsh and the aromas will be dull with spicy food. For spicy food, always look for floral and aromatic light-bodied white wines with crisp acidity. 

Top Rules to Wine Pairing

  • Fatty foods like acidic wines. 
  • Acidic foods like tomato-based sauces and citrus dishes like acidic wines. 
  • The saltier the cheese, the more acid or sweetness you should have in your wine. 
  • Sweet foods go with sweet foods. Cabernet sauvignon with milk chocolate is a no. 
  • Heavy foods like lasagna should go with rich wines like barolo. 
  • Spicy foods do not go well with medium to full-bodied red wine. 
  • Oaked wines go great with savory BBQ. 

Using the Correct Wine Glasses

Next to the wine itself, wine glasses are the most important tools for wine tasting. Each wine glass is made to enhance the wine drinking experience and tailored to a particular style of wine. 

When you’re choosing a wine glass, it’s important to match the style of glass with the wine that you’re drinking. This is because wine glasses are shaped differently to work with different wine aromas. 

male sommelier tasting red wine cellar

Big and bold reds like big bowls that can let the wine breathe. These glasses also give the wine room to let its secondary and tertiary aromas fill the glass. 

Tart and floral wines work better with deep and narrower glasses. This concentrates the subtle bouquet of aromas near the opening of the glass so your nose can pick up on everything. 

Sparkling wine glasses are shaped to concentrate the bubbles and aromas in the glass so they don’t escape. This keeps your sparkling wine’s effervescence intact so you can sip your bubbly and not worry about it losing its flavor. 

Another significant part about wine glasses is their stems. Although stemless glasses are fine and much safer to clean, stems help prevent your body heat from heating your wine. With white wines and rosé, this is very handy because these wines taste better when chilled. 

Keep Everything Clean and Smell Free

Did you know that around 80% of what you taste in wine comes from smell? Wine gives off hundreds of aromas that our noses and brains pick up and turn into unique flavors. 

That’s why it’s important to keep your wine glasses and decanters clean. Any residue or stains from soap, old wine, or food can leave an unpleasant taste and smell in your wine and ruin your tasting experience. 

Two people with glasses of red wine under a blue sky

When cleaning your wine glasses, rinse them well so there’s no soap residue left. For decanters, consider leaning beads or natural methods like vinegar and hot water. 

Another important and often overlooked rule of wine tasting is to make sure you’re also scent free. Perfumes, colognes, body sprays, and other powerful scents will ruin a wine tasting by overpowering your wine. 

Wine Tastes Better When you Have Fun

The golden rule and best tool for wine tasting is yourself and other people. Have fun with wine tasting and try to share the experience with others. 

Wine will taste better when you talk about it with friends and family. By sharing what you and those around you are tasting and smelling, you’ll appreciate and enjoy your wine more.  

When we share wine and follow a few wine tasting guidelines, we can heighten our wine appreciation. After all, drinking wine is one of the most enjoyable experiences we could have with our senses.