tongueAt a wine tasting event expect to sniff and taste up to six wines. Your host will encourage everyone to describe the wines for themselves, with perhaps a little prompting. So when the inevitable “so what do think this wine smells of?”, what’s the ‘correct’ thing to say? Expressing your thoughts to a group of strangers is nerve wracking, but you’ve got to say something it’s expected. Just say what the wine aromas smell like, you won’t be wrong.

swirling wineMost of the rest of the event attendees will nod in agreement and then go on to express their own different, and often contradictory, sentiments. By the end of the tasting you’ll find there are as many opinions of what a wine ‘should’ smell like as there are tickets for the event.

Next you’ll be asked to take a large sip of wine and swoosh it around your mouth a bit. This is a good way of allowing taste buds to register a wine’s many flavours. But what does the wine taste off?

Hopefully something fruity (don’t be afraid to say grape). Often red wines taste like darker coloured fruits (blackberries, blackcurrants, plums, cherries) and white wines of lighter coloured fruits (lemons, bananas, melons and apples).

The great benefit of attending wine tastings is that each event gives you the chance to try many different wines without having to buy them yourself, and they’re often wines you wouldn’t have been brave enough to try at home.

VinoriumPG Wine Reviews

Taste these wines in the order they appear in so you'll go from the lightest tasting wine to the most insistent – that way your taste buds won't be overwhelmed with the first sip of the evening.

Tesco Finest French Picpoul de Pinet 2015

£6 Tesco

A refreshing white made with the Picpoul grape grown near the southrn French town of Pinet – hence the name. With its floral aroma and light appley flavours, this a wine that's easy to like.

Muga Spanish Rioja Rosé 2015

£9.99 Majestic and Waitrose

A light pink rosé that tastes of raspberry. Don't serve it too cool otherwise you'll lose the delicate flavours.

Wairu Cove New Zealand Pinot Noir 2014

£8 Tesco

A light red that tastes of raspberry, blackberry and plum.

Masi Italian Campofiorin 2012

£11.99 Majestic

An interesting almost dessert red that is made in a similar way to the more famous after-dinner Italian red Amarone. They both use semi-dried grapes in the mix to add depth of flavour and raisin qualities. Flavours of cocoa and raspberry – a good alternative to port.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on

clockThe move into British Summer Time always leaves me time disorientated but by 7pm this Sunday I know my system will have accepted the change – I can now listen to The Archers and admire the colour of a glass of lightly chilled white wine without needing to put the light on.

half bottles of champagneHalf bottles of wine at half the cost? Not necessarily so, unfortunately. Because so few vineyards put their wines in 375ml bottles the price of this handy single-sized portion never gets lowered by mass production and so remains at about two-thirds the price of its 750ml equivalent. But half bottles aren’t all bad – they do allow you to assess the maturing potential of many wines without the risk and all the cost.

coinsYou may think paying around six quid for a bottle of wine is expensive but to the wine trade this is the cheaper end of the market. Because of both inflation and consumer spending habits the wine producers have found that the under-a-fiver category is no longer worth the time and expense and so if you can remember the time when you could get a decent bottle for under £3.99 then hang on to the memory because there won't be any more. Instead we must look to the £5.99 and under category to find the everyday bottles.