Concha y Toro

Ania Smolec 18/05/2016

Wine tasting at home: fun and educational

It doesn’t matter if you know a lot about wine and you already have your preferences defined or if you are a beginner in the wine world.


It doesn’t matter if you know a lot about wine and you already have your preferences defined or if you are a beginner in the wine world. I recommend you to organize a tasting at home and enjoy it with your family and friends. The most important thing is to choose the format and follow the following rules for a great tasting.

Many people want to learn about wine. They try to taste as many wines as possible. They read articles about strains, appellations and styles, and they experiment at home with wine and food pairings. If you are one of those people, you will surely love to organize wine tastings. And if the wine world still seems a little distant, perhaps a homemade tasting can break the ice.

How to organize a tasting? I always recommend deciding which and how many wines you want to taste. You can taste several wines, and each one may represent a different style, strain or valley. But I prefer tastings that have a certain format. This allows you to learn or verify your knowledge. I invite you to check out some very entertaining formats to try with your family or friends.

Vertical tasting

Trio CHThis format is about trying the same wine but from different vintages. You only have to choose a wine that delights you, as in my case Trio Chardonnay. You can taste more, but choose at least three different vintages. Remember to serve the wines at the right temperature. If you have some old vintages, which have more than five years, I recommend you to uncork them at least one hour before the tasting for the wine to breathe. It is also advisable to decant.Vertical tastings are very educational because you can see the evolution of the wine and notice its changes. Several experts recommend ordering the wines from the youngest to the oldest. But there are winemakers who prefer to do otherwise. The oldest wine is more delicate, while the youngest still has very vibrant tannins. That depends on you. Both ways are correct.

Horizontal tasting

CasilleroChoose several wines from the same vintage, strain or valley, but from different lines, such as Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, Trio Cabernet Sauvignon and Casillero del Diablo Leyenda Cabernet Sauvignon. This mode is called horizontal tasting. In each line you can see how the oenologist interpreted the variety differently. It is a very useful exercise. You can pair the wines with food and remember the behavior of each line with its corresponding recipe.

You can also try wines from the same harvest but from different varieties. In this case, the common denominator is the valley or appellation. This horizontal tasting allows you to see the influence of the vineyard conditions in the each win style.

Comparative tasting

SyrahAs many of you already know, Chile is the longest and thinnest country in the world. That’s why we have a great diversity of origins and wine styles. I want to invite you to go back to the articles about the Mountain Range , between Mountains and Coastal wines. You can choose, for example, the same strain but from different valleys, like a Syrah from Maipo and a Syrah from Casablanca. Then you can realize how the conditions of the Andes and the Pacific mark the wines, developing different aromas, flavors and structures.

Sparkling wine tasting

SubercaseauxIf you make a tasting choosing only sparkling wines of different styles, such as Subercaseaux Grande Cuvée and Subercaseaux Extra Brut, you can see the oenological differences, as aging time or sugar level. Remember that sparkling wines call for a different opening technique and flute-shaped glasses.

Blind or open tasting

Cata copa vinoThe tasting can be blind or open. A blind tasting means that you must cover the labels with a cloth bag or aluminum foil and your guests will not know which wines are being tasted. After the tasting the bottles are discovered. This system is very good for advanced tasters, who want to confirm their skills and compare their experiences with others. Naturally, you can also have the wines with their name and origin at sight. That allows us to taste and talk about them driving all available information.

Wine and food

queso vinoThis is my favorite tasting format. I choose a wine and then I taste it with a board of different cheeses or a selection of cold cuts. Recalling the rules of pairing, I observe how the wine behaves with the different flavors and structures.

Also do not forget the basic rules

  1. Wines should be served at the right temperature depending on the style.
  2. Service and tasting of wines must go from white to red, from young to old vintages, light wines before those with more body, from dry to sweet and fine wines or more unique ones always at the end.
  3. As the tasting has a didactic purpose, it is very important to serve no more than one third of the cup so that participants can oxygenate the wine in the glass.
  4. After uncorking the bottle, check that the wine does not have defects such as scent called “cork”.
  5. Glasses must be clean, correctly sized and transparent.
  6. Prepare a comfortable and illuminated space for your guests.
  7. Do not forget to include bread and water to clean the palate between wines.
  8. Prepare some useful tools for tasting, such as notebook and pen, so that tasters can write their comments. You can even print our tips to taste the wine and follow the different steps (eye, nose, mouth) and infographics describing the characteristic aromas of each strain.
  9. Before the tasting, avoid using perfume, drinking coffee and eating chocolate or mint flavored products. Remember not to smoke. This ensures that your nose and mouth are in perfect condition to appreciate the wines.
  10. Prepare the spittoons. You can use any plastic, glass or ceramic pot. That is very important when you are tasting many wines.