Red wine is complex and sophisticated and somewhat intimidating to those who do not know much about it. With so much to learn, here is a helpful start to jump start you on your taste adventure.
The first step to proper wine tasting really does not involve taste at all but rather it is about how the wine looks. When looking at the wine you should pay attention to the color and opacity of it. You do not need to spend a long time on this but it is important to take note of the depth of color.
Next up is the smell. Smelling is very complex and there are stages to smelling wine. You can think of this as a funnel where you start large and get smaller in terms of the smells you sense. There are three types of smells, the primary, secondary, and tertiary scents. The primary aromas will be fruitier or herbal compared to the others. The secondary smells are derived from the actual wine making itself. In white wines this will include aromas that come from yeast. Lastly there are tertiary aromas. These are savory and include spices and nuts as well as others like mushrooms.
Very importantly, taste is next. This is another complex sense that involves aromas just as smell did. Just like in food, you can detect whether or not it is salty or sweet, sour or bitter. Sour taste will be common as that will be a byproduct of grapes.
Texture can be a subsection of taste as it also is sensed by the tongue. Wine will be richer than water is and this is a product of the ethanol. Another texture that is detected is from the tannins which will give a dry mouth sensation. This is common in red wines.
Furthermore, wine is unique as it is time based. You should take note on how long the taste of the wine lasts and how it and its aromas change from beginning to end.
Wine is very complex and there are many facets to it. As demonstrated here, tasting wine is not nearly as simple as just sipping it like grape juice. When all of these sense are put together to experience wine you may learn to appreciate it even more than you already do.