Always hold your glass by the stem. Hot fingers may change the temperature of the wine.
Step 1: Observe the Color
A violet color suggests a very young red. A ruby color is still young but with a little age. The classic description of a mature wine is "garnet". A dying red will begin to turn brown.
You may also observe the brilliance: does it reflect the light? Is the wine cloudy or troubled? You never want to see anything floating in your glass!
Gently tilt your glass to a 45 degree angle. Are there “tears” clinging to the sides? This is a sign of high alcohol content.
Close your eyes and plunge your nose deeply into your glass. Breathe deeply. What is your first impression of fragrance? Fruit or flowers? Spices? Leather? Minerals? Many wines offer a complex mixture of aromas. This is called the first nose. Swirl the glass to allow air into the wine. Breathe in deeply again. Have new aromas emerged? This is the second nose.
Take a very small taste.
Purse your lips and take in air as if through a straw. The bubbling effect will help spread the flavors throughout your mouth for the maximum taste sensation.
If the wine is to your liking, move on to the best part: share and enjoy your bottle with friends!