How To Properly Taste A Glass Of Bordeaux Wine

Bordeaux wine is renowned for its complex flavor profile, and tasting it properly can be a rewarding experience. Knowing how to properly taste a glass of this iconic French red will not only allow you to enjoy the unique flavors, but also help you more accurately describe them so that others may understand your appreciation.

In this article, we’ll walk through the process step-by-step so that everyone can learn how to get the most out of their Bordeaux tastings. Let’s start by discussing what equipment you’ll need before getting into the actual steps!

Gather The Necessary Equipment

Tasting a glass of Bordeaux wine is like going on an adventure—it can take you to places your palate has never been before.

To begin this journey, it’s important to gather the necessary equipment for tasting. The most basic items are a stemmed glass, a napkin and perhaps some kind of cheese or cracker plate.

A stemless glass should be avoided as heat from your hands could easily transfer into the wine, changing its temperature and flavor profile. For best results, use specialty glasses that have thinner rims and wider bowls so you can properly swirl the liquid around inside without spilling any precious drops!

After gathering everything needed for the tasting, it’s time to consider the color.

Consider The Color

Now that you have all of the necessary equipment, it’s time to consider the color.

Begin by looking at the wine against a white background in order to get an accurate view of its coloring and clarity. Bordeaux wines come with varying hues such as purple, ruby, garnet or brick red. The intensity of the hue depends on how long the grape skins were left in contact with the juice during fermentation. It will also depend on where the grapes are sourced from and if they produce high or low levels of anthocyanin pigments which give off those deep colors we associate with Bordeaux wines.

Next up is taking note of any tartrate crystals found in your glass as this can be indicative of winemaking practices used when producing certain vintages and styles. A good indication would be seeing clear crystal deposits at the bottom and sides of your glass. This means that these particular bottles had been cold stabilized for quality control purposes before bottling them up for sale.

Having looked into both color spectrum and presence of tartrates, it is now time to move onto swirl and sniff – two essential steps to unlocking what kind of bouquet awaits you inside that bottle!

Swirl And Sniff

Have you ever wondered what it means to actually taste a glass of wine?

The first step in properly tasting and evaluating a Bordeaux is to swirl and sniff.

Swirling the wine helps release its aromas, while also helping to observe the color and clarity of the liquid. To do so, place your hand around the base of the stemware and slowly rotate the glass by turning your wrist in an outward motion.

This will cause the liquid to reach up against the side of the glass, creating a thin film along its edges known as “legs” or “tears”.

Once satisfied with this action, bring your nose close to the rim of the glass without touching it and take several shallow breaths through both nostrils simultaneously.

Take note on whether any floral, herbal, earthy or other scents are present before moving onto taking a sip.

Take A Sip

The first step in tasting a glass of Bordeaux wine is to take a sip. Before you do this, pause for a moment to observe the appearance and aroma of the wine.

When it comes time to actually taste your glass of Bordeaux, here are some key points to bear in mind:

  • Take a small sip so that you can savor all of the flavors without taking too much into your mouth at once
  • Swirl the wine around in your mouth before swallowing it so that you can fully appreciate its texture, body and structure
  • Pay attention to how acidic or tannic the wine may be by sampling different parts on your tongue (front, middle and back)
  • Note any lingering aftertastes or aromas that come with the sip
  • Be aware of possible faults or flaws within the wine

Once you’ve taken an initial sip and swirled the liquid around inside your mouth, swallow and assess the finish. How long does it linger? Is there something special about this final impression? This will help determine if there’s depth and complexity present within the bottle, adding another layer to understanding what makes up this particular varietal.

Swallow And Assess The Finish

Once you’ve taken a sip of the wine, it’s time to move on and assess its finish. The aromas that initially hit your nose may have been subtle or bold; however, now is when you get to experience how truly complex this glass of Bordeaux can be. As you swallow the liquid in your mouth, it will leave behind different flavors that linger on your tongue and provide depth to fully appreciate the glass.

To break down these lingering tastes, let’s start with an easy-to-follow table:

SweetnessRanging from sugar cane syrup to fresh fruit syrup
Acidic BalanceA crisp feel across the top of the tongue as well as around the sides near the back of the throat
Tannin StructureA dry sensation coming primarily from red fruits such as cherries and cranberries
Length/FinishHow long each flavor lingers in the mouth after swallowing – longer finishes are indicative of higher quality wines

Each taste has its own unique characteristics which make up part of what makes tasting wine so enjoyable. Take note of any unusual aromas that crop up during this stage too; for example hints of herbs like basil or rosemary might appear along with floral scents like jasmine or lavender. All these notes combine together to give you an impressionable insight into what kind of bottle you’re drinking.

With all these elements combining together in one tasteful melody, assessing a good glass of Bordeaux can be quite challenging but also incredibly rewarding! Taking into account all the factors described here should help you understand how best to enjoy this particular type of French wine.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should I Wait To Drink A Bottle Of Bordeaux Wine After It Is Opened?

When it comes to drinking a bottle of Bordeaux wine after opening, the best practice is to wait up to three days before consuming.

While some wines can last for weeks when opened and stored properly, most bottles will start to lose their flavor after just one or two days.

To get the full experience from your bottle of bordeaux, make sure you drink it within 3 days of opening.

Are There Any Health Benefits To Drinking Bordeaux Wine?

Forget the idea that wine is something to be savored and enjoyed only in moderation – bordeaux wine has health benefits so potent, it could almost make you immortal!

This rich red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot grapes carries with it a wealth of antioxidants and other compounds that may help reduce inflammation.

Studies suggest these anti-inflammatory properties can lower your risk for heart disease and even cancer.

So yes, there are definitely some impressive health perks when it comes to drinking bordeaux wine!

How Much Should I Expect To Pay For A Good Bottle Of Bordeaux Wine?

When looking for a good bottle of Bordeaux wine, you should expect to pay anywhere from $15-$200.

The price depends on the vintage and quality of the wine, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

If you’re just starting out in the world of Bordeaux wines, look for bottles that are more moderately priced since they will likely represent a balance between taste and cost-effectiveness.

What Type Of Food Should I Pair With A Bordeaux Wine?

When it comes to pairing food and wine, Bordeaux is a dream come true! You don’t have to be an expert sommelier or chef to get the perfect match – all you need is imagination.

Rich and robust reds from this region of France pair perfectly with hearty dishes like steak frites, beef bourguignon, coq au vin, and lamb ragout.

For white wines from Bordeaux, opt for lighter fare such as mackerel in cream sauce, salmon tartare, vegetable risotto, and goat cheese salad.

With the right flavors together on your plate and in your glass, you’ll experience an unforgettable culinary journey that’s truly out of this world!

What Is The Difference Between Bordeaux Wine And Other Types Of Wine?

Bordeaux wine is a type of red or white French wine made from grapes grown in the Bordeaux region. It’s known for its rich flavor and complexity, as well as its long-lasting finish.

Unlike other types of wines, which are typically only aged briefly before bottling, bordeaux wines can be aged for several years to bring out their full potential. The aging process also results in different levels of tannins and aromas that help distinguish it from other kinds of wines.

As such, it’s important to understand how these characteristics will affect the taste when properly tasting a glass of bordeaux wine.


When it comes to enjoying a glass of Bordeaux Wine, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

Allowing the wine to breathe for about an hour will help open up its flavors and aromas; however, if you’re looking for health benefits, then waiting too long isn’t recommended either.

Prices vary depending on quality but generally speaking, budget conscious shoppers can expect to pay between $20-$50 per bottle.

To really bring out the best in your Bordeaux Wine try pairing it with dark chocolate or full flavored cheeses – yum!

In conclusion, while other wines may come and go over time, this classic French varietal is here to stay.

If you haven’t tried sipping on some Bordeaux yet, now’s the time – trust me!

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