Lesson 2 – Tasting Wines Side by Side

If you want to learn more about wine tasting techniques, the first place to start is by tasting two similar wines side by side.  For example, you might want to try two $15-20 bottles of Chardonnay or two $25-30 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. The reason is simple.

By sampling two different wines, you will automatically prefer one over the other.  The differences in each wine become more pronounced because you now have something to compare.  (Conversely, when drinking only one wine, it’s easy to do casually without giving it much thought or really even tasting it.)  The reasons for your preferences will essentially “force” you to decide why you like one wine over another.  “Unconscious” wine drinking will now become “conscious” wine tasting.  In short, your sensory awareness will become heightened and your personal enjoyment will increase immediately.  This is the difference between a beverage drinker and a wine lover!


The “homework” for this lesson is to go out to dinner with some friends, but, instead of ordering a bottle of wine right away, order two or three similar wines by the glass. Instruct your waiter to somehow mark the glasses without telling you which wine is which.  Then pass them around so everyone can taste and compare.  Let your waiter reveal the “winners” only after everyone has reached a consensus.  Then order a bottle of everyone’s favorite.  Not only will this make for great conversation, but you’ll also find that everyone will enjoy their dinners much more … simply because their sensory perceptions have increased.