What makes a good wine? Some hints for getting the most out of your wine…

Anyone can taste wine with a little knowhow and a good nose. Here are some hints on getting the most out of your wine.

Make sure you have clean wine glasses which can hold a at least 100mL of wine with room to swirl.

There are three main things to look for when wine tasting. 


Is the wine clear and free from cloudiness? Does it have any off colour or bubbles, if it is not a sparkling wine? 


Swirl the glass to aerate the wines and release aroma compounds. Put your nose right into the glass and take a deep sniff. Does it smell good? Can you smell fruity and floral or oak or yeasty aromas? Are there any off flavours?


Take a big sip and move it about your mouth. Can you taste grape flavours, acid, warmth, some viscosity or oiliness? Is the wine complex? Does the taste last for a long time in your mouth, or does it quickly disappear? 

How to appreciate
The best way to enjoy wine is to talk about it with friends. Taste two or more wines side by side so you can compare the differences. 

As one vigneron told me: “One glance at the back label is worth 20 years of wine tasting.” Your opinion is your opinion – nobody is right and nobody is wrong. 

Here are some wines worth trying your tasting skills on.

Sitella Tinta Rouge 2020 is a blend of Tempranillo, Shiraz and Grenache. It is bright red in colour with aromas of sweet scented cherries and ripe plums, together with liquorice and flowery notes. The palate is complex and fruity with soft tannins that help the wine to show off its tastefulness. Pair with anything salty, especially ham and other cured meats. RRP $20.

Garbin Sangiovese Rosé 2021 This is a delicate rosé with aromas of apple blossom, red apples, strawberry, yellow peach and tangerine. The palate is fruit-forward on the nose, bursting with the flavours of crunchy red apples, cranberries and strawberries in yogurt with a touch of minerality. This wine is light-bodied and only slightly sweet with a touch of acidity. Pair with cheese, dried apricots and quince paste. RRP $22.

Garbin Shiraz 2018 This is a full bodied dark red wine. Aromas of mint and dried oregano are the first impression with full of dark plums and blackcurrants. The palate is dominated by black earth, drying dusty tannins and exotic spices. The finish is medium long. This Shiraz would go well with a big meat dish. RRP $25.

Taltarni dynamic Heathcote Shiraz 2020 is deep purple in colour, with aromas of plum, red berries and spice with a hint of sweet oak. The palate is filled with red berry and concentrated spice, while fine chalky tannins coat the mouth contribute to the length of the wine. Layers of oak add to the structure while the typical peppery shiraz flavours linger on the finish to balance the wine. RRP $35.

Taltarni dynamic Sangiovese Cabernet 2021 is medium bodied and crimson red in colour, the bouquet displays cherry with mixed spices, underpinned with earthy notes. The palate is full of cassis, cherries and blueberries. The wine has great length, with a refined, powdery tannin that lingers with a velvet-like finish. RRP $28.

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Frank Smith was trained as an agricultural scientist in the UK, moving to WA in 1974 and shortly afterwards began lecturing at WAIT (now Curtin University) in soils and agronomy. In 1979 he joined the Agriculture Protection Board in charge of publications and media relations, studying part time for a degree in Journalism. In 1992 he spent a year as a visiting professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Later he ran a small publication company with his wife Mary-Helen. He then began freelance writing, editing and book indexing. He has written articles for more than 40 magazines in four continents and indexed more than 20 books. In 2007 he started writing for Have a Go News and gradually reduced his writing for other publications. He later took over the subediting, ensuring Have a Go News is consistent in style and highly readable. He and Mary-Helen live in a passive solar home in the Perth Hills with a varying collection of quendas and native birds.