Set a goal
What is the goal of the tasting? Is it to try to identify the wines, or is it to rate their quality? Either way, tasting blind means that your perception is not influenced by the label on the bottle. For a quality tasting, it can be helpful to have some information, like what country the wines are from, to put your tasting in context.
Focus on the wine
Tasting should be in an area that is clean, well-lit, and free of distractions. It can be harder to concentrate on tasting when you’re in a cellar, at a large wine dinner or tasting, or at a restaurant. Clean, uniform glasses and a white background help you note the colour of the wine.
Hide the labels
Have someone open the wines and pour them out of sight, or put the bottles in bags with a rubber band secured around the neck so you can’t see the label.
Taste at the right temperature
White wines should be tasted at 11–14°C (52–57°F); taking the bottles out of your refrigerator about an hour before the tasting will have them cool enough to retain freshness, but not so cold as to mute aromas and hide taste and texture. Red wines should be tasted at 15–18°C (59–64°F), or slightly cooler than room temperature. Twenty minutes in the fridge before your tasting should chill them just enough. Consistency in the temperature of the wines helps you make consistent evaluations across wines.
Swirl the wine
Swirling in the glass brings air to the wine and helps release its aromas. The optimal amount for tasting is 30–50mL (about 1.5 ounces).
Keep your palate fresh
Spitting the wine into a spitoon (which can be made from anything: a jug, a jar, a Champagne bucket) after tasting can keep your palate from getting fatigued as you taste. Keep bread, crackers, or olives on hand to refresh your palate as you taste. James
prefers high pH water like that found in Tuscany to restore his palate after tasting high-acid wines. Try buying alkaline bottled water to mimic this effect at home.