How to Taste Wine Step by Step

How to Taste Wine Step by Step – Day 15

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Learn how to taste wine step by step on Day 15. In this episode we put together everything we have learned so far starting from DAY 1.

Wine of the Day

R. Lopez de Heredia 2010 Vina Cubillo Crianza – Tempranillo Red Wine

Find the wine online, or something similar.


Cherries, dried cherries, cinnamon

Follow Along

Drink wine along with me, Annie, and learn to engage all of your senses in a powerful new way. SUBSCRIBE to the channel to follow along.

Stay updated when you enroll in DiVino Wine School. You’ll have full access to class notes from every episode available to download directly from our site. ENROLL TODAY!


Hello everyone!

(Hook) (did I sing the New Kids song? Oh lord.) Grab your glass! Divino Wine School is in session.  Today I’m going to show you the ultimate 4 steps to wine tasting.

TITLE/SCREEN + Music: 21 Days to Wine

I am Annie, a certified sommelier. Welcome to DAY 15 of 21 Days to Wine!

How to Taste Wine Step by Step (4 steps)

TITLE/SCREEN: Day 15- How to Taste Wine Step by Step

We have covered a lot since day one! If you’re enjoying these videos so far, be sure to subscribe to this channel.

TITLE/SCREEN: Subscribe & Enroll

There’s also an Enroll link in the description. Click that guy! It’s free, and you’ll get advance notice on what we’re drinking, smelling, and a copy of the class notes.

The last link is to the New Kids on the Block Video to their seminal classic: Step by Step.   It’s not mandatory, but I highly recommend playing it in the background for this lesson the 4 steps to wine tasting. 

As the new kids say, step one, we can have lots of fun. Let’s get started!  (walk off)

(Walk on)

TITLE/SCREEN: Have you been doing your homework?

I hope you have been practicing on your own and that you continue to make a point of smelling something new every day. 

I’m always curious to hear your scent memories so don’t be shy. Tell me what you smelled this week and what it reminds you of in the comments below!

Those of you following along know that today we have dried Cherries, and Cinnamon.

These some of a handful of notes you might find in a Rioja Crianza.  (show the wine).

Especially after a few years, like mine, which is 2010.


Rioja Wine is named for a growing area in Spain. Like Champagne, Bordeaux and Chianti, Rioja is not grape either!

TITLE/SCREEN/ **graphic: Rioja = Tempranillo + Garnacha (Mazuelo and Graciano)

It is almost always a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, with the occasional Mazuelo and Graciano thrown in there.

Tempranillo has darker qualities, like dark cherry, leather and tobacco. Especially high quality and aged versions.

Garnacha is known for its spicy-fruity notes. Some people say  it smells striking like a fruit roll-up. I’ll let you test that out on your own. Let me know in the comments if you do!

Rioja is classified into four categories, based on the quality of the grapes and how the wine was aged.

TITLE/SCREEN/ **graphic : TBD on the 4 types. // or the phrase above.


Rioja is the basic, entry level. There is Little to no aging in oak or the bottle. Max 2 years. This is usually lighter-bodied with young, fresh fruit.


Crianza is aged for at least one year in oak barrels and up to a year in the bottle. These are your bright balanced Riojas. They still have some fresh fruit and some complex, spice notes from the wood.


Reserva is made from a finer selection of grapes. That usually means a select vineyard where the vines have been pruned to produce fewer grapes that grapes that are plump, ripe and not fighting each other to suck up the most nutrients.

Reserva is aged  for a minimum of three years, with at least one year in oak barrels and the rest in the bottle.  These wines have more mature and complex fruit and spice notes.


Gran Reserva is only made in exceptionally good harvest years with the absolute best quality grapes. These wines age for a minimum of 2 years in oak and three in the bottle. They are rare, expensive and bursting with a complex nose of earthy, fruity, and spicy aromas and a never-ending finish. 

So we have a Crianza from 2010. The winery is located in Rioja Alta, the northern, higher altitude part of the region where temperatures are cooler.

Do you remember what that might mean for the grapes?  If not, I’ll refresh your memory. Cooler temperatures means a little less ripeness, and more acidity in the grapes and in your wine.

Where do you notice this? Everywhere!  But most of all the aroma and the palate, which will be a little tighter, and little more elegant. And in this case the wine is likely to have be/have / crisper even after nine years. (can’t read my writing).

Since day one we have worked our way through the winetasting process. Let’s do it together now,  starting with what you see: color, and consistency. 


Remember to look at your wine with a white background.

What color is it?  Violet, ruby, or brick red?

Is the color intense and opaque, or pale and translucent?

Do you see green or purple tints around the edges or is there a clear or rusty-colored ring?

How does the wine move inside the glass? Are there bubbles?

This wine is nine years old and is definitely showing that brick red or transparency around the edges of aging red wines.

Then we moved on to what you smell – the olfactory experience of the wine.


Give your glass a gentle swirl.

What do you smell? How many individual notes can you identify? Is the nose complex?  How intense are the aromas?

This wine is not super bold on the nose. It’s earthier, and evolved and pretty complex. It has some red berries, cherries, and a little spiciness- both from the Garnacha grape and the oak aging.

After that we talked all about what happens on your palate, from the weight and feeling of the wine to the finish and aftertaste.


Is your wine crisp and bright with a lot of acidity or tight on the sides of your cheeks with tannins?

How does it feel on your tongue? Light and zingy or silky and smooth?

Is it light, medium or full-bodied?

How long do the flavors and feelings last after you swallow?

This Crianza is a nice balance of crispness and spiciness on the palate. Even the 2010 / high altitude / (can’t read my notes). It has a medium finish with some cinnamon spice,  and is even a bit juicy.

Step Four is why we are here.  

TITLE/SCREEN:  Wine is a language. Learn how to speak it. 

TITLE/SCREEN: 4: Converse.

What does conversation mean?? A good conversation means presenting the facts, asking questions, and expanding the subject matter for a more profound experience.

Notice everything your senses are telling you. Try to interpret them. Ask questions about what you don’t understand and share your revelations!

Where does this wine take you? What food would go well with it? Is it a balanced fine wine? Has it aged to its full potential? Do you like it?

What do you talk about when you talk about wine? Let me know in the comments.

TITLE/SCREEN: Subscribe and enroll (arrow?)

And remember to subscribe and enroll. When you enroll you’ll find out in advance what we’re smelling and tasting, and talking about during each class.  The link is in the description. Right down there.


Let me how you feel about this wine or whatever you tasted for today’s lesson. As the new kids say, step five don’t you know that the time has arrived, Huh!

See you next time!  

END TITLE/SCREEN: Wine is a language. Learn how to speak it.

NEW KIDS Video link:

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