Malta Food and Wine

Where and what to eat and drink in Malta

Tasting Guide
If you have a slight interest in wine the best way to improve your knowledge and to keep up your interest is to Taste Wine! Here follows a simple guide to wine tasting.
Pour a small sample of wine into the glass, follow the guide and start enjoying!
Senses at Work

When tasing wine all your senses are at work, even hearing to some extent (popping the cork and hearing the wine being poured). The predominant sences however are sight, smell and taste. This is also the most logical approach to tasting a wine. First of all look at the wine in the glass - does it look right? Then move on to smelling it, followed by tasting.

Glasses - There is actually such a thing as the Ideal Tasting Glass (in accordance with ISO - the International Standards Organisation) with recommended dimensions of the glass!

Standardisations aside, the glass should be made of clear glass, be large enough for being able to swirl the wine around to release aroma and have fairly high inward sloping sides. The glass should also have a stem so the it can be held without the wine being affected by the temperature of the holding hand, and to be able to assess the colour of the wine. Ideally, there should be separate glasses for each wine to make it easier to compare colour, smell and taste.

White Surface - to be able to correctly assess the colour of the wine a white surface is needed either in form of a white table cloth or simply a piece of white paper held behind the glass.

Note book or prepared wine tasting sheets - to write down any observations and to keep for future reference.

Plain white bread and water - to enable the taster to clean the palate between wines.

Spitoon - for spitting out after tasting. Not recommended for dinner parties.
Ready for the tasting?

Colour and condition


Look at the wine whilst leaning the glass against a white surface, eg a piece of paper or a table cloth.

White: Green-tinged, Yellow/Green, Yellow, Straw, Yellow/Gold, Gold, Brown
Red: Purple, Purple/Red, Ruby, Reddish/Brown, Brown
Intensity – Pale, Medium, Deep, Dark
Clarity – Cloudy, Dull, Clear, Brilliant (A wine should never be cloudy or dull in appearance)

Bouquet (nose)
By swirling the glass the aromas will emerge. A young wine will be closed up, where as a mature wine is more open and will have a more intense bouquet. Aromas such as “farmyard” or “rotting leaves” can be found in certain mature red wines. Try to pick up smells and associate them to smells in your memory.

Intensity – Shy, Medium, Intense
General appeal – Neutral, Attractive, Fresh
Aroma – Eg Raspberries, Tropical Fruit, Pineapple, Lychee, Vanilla, Leaves, Sweaty, Wet Wool

Swirl the wine in the glass and breathe in as you take a good mouthful of the wine. Flush the wine around your tongue to make sure it comes into contact with all the taste buds. Then spit out into a spittoon (or swallow).

Sweetness: Bone-dry, Dry, Medium dry, Medium Sweet, Sweet, Very sweet
Acidity: Flat, Refreshing, Marked, Tart
Tannin: Astringent, Dry, Soft
Body: Light, Medium, Full bodied,
Length/Aftertaste: Short, Extended, Lingering
Balance: Balanced, Unbalanced

Overall Impression
Discuss your impressions with the other participants. Try to find the right expression for your to remember next time you want to identify a wine.
Discuss maturity of the wine: Immature, mature, drinking well, aged (over the hill) and aging potentials.
Price? Is it worth its price?