Seeing the Wine
Look at the wine in a glass. Pay attention to color (Is it red? Or more maroon?) and clarity. Tilt the glass and swirl. Is it clear or cloudy? Any sediment or bits of floating cork? Remember, an older red is more translucent, a younger red is opaque.

Smelling the Wine
Smell the wine. Gently swirl the glass to release the bouquet. Stick your nose into the glass and inhale. Notice the complex aromas. Is it floral? Fruity? Oaky? A pleasing bouquet is a wonderful indication of a good wine.

Tasting the Wine
Take a small sip and roll it around on your tongue, then take a quick breath and mix the wine with air. Did the flavors open up? Reds often have an oaky or berry flavor. Whites are more likely fruity or floral. Swallow. How does the wine finish? Does the flavor linger or pass quickly? Consider the texture--is it light-bodied like water, or full-bodied like milk. Your evaluation of the wine depends on your personal taste, but this technique gives you the best overall reflectin of the wine's elements.
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