Wine Tasting Cyprus with George Kassianos of Cyprus Sommelier Association – The ‘GK On Wine Guide’ by Cyprus in Style




By George Kassianos,

President of the Cyprus Sommeliers Association.

Wine Tasting Cyprus – When drinking a glass of new wine in Cyprus, or anywhere in the world for that matter, do you observe the wine to understand its contents or are you more of a ‘like it or not’ wine drinker? The science behind wine tasting reveals a lot about the wine in your glass and a professional sommelier’s approach on ‘how to taste wine’ can be summarised in 4 simple steps – look, swirl, smell and sip.

1. Look at the Wine

Firstly, to get the most out of your selected wine, choose the right wine glass and make sure to serve it at the recommended wine temperature. Then, check the colour of the wine and wine clarity by tilting the glass away from you and working inwards from the rim edges to the centre of the glass. Look out for sediment in wine which is often referred to as the ‘dregs in wine’ or ‘wine diamonds’ that appear in the bottom of the wine glass and determine the wine’s opacity which can reveal the age and type of grape used to make the wine you are drinking. Is the wine dark or light in colour, cloudy or clear, and what does this mean exactly? In Part 2 of the ‘GK On Wine Guide & Wine Tasting Cyprus, we will delve deeper into how to choose the right wine glass and what is revealed when you take the above steps.

2. Smell the Wine

Once you have looked at the wine to determine its colour, clarity and opacity, the next step in wine tasting is to swirl the wine around the glass to release the wine aromas. A wine’s aroma is an excellent indicator of its quality and unique wine characteristics and can only be truly appreciated by then sniffing the wine. By swirling the wine around the glass, you allow more oxygen into the wine but it is worth knowing that oxygen can play a part as both friend and enemy of wine. In the beginning, the influence of oxygen is excellent for wine because as soon as a wine encounters oxygen, it begins to break down, which most wine lovers and sommeliers refer to as a wine “opening up”. As the wine opens, it gives off its aromas and softens, which allows you to taste the wine better. When you smell a wine, you are preparing your brain for the wine you are about to taste.  Think about what scents you are picking up and keep in mind that there are no wrong answers! In Part 3 of the ‘GK On Wine Guide & Wine Tasting Cyprus’, we will delve deeper into how to smell wine in wine tasting and what you can learn from the different wine aromas.

3. Taste the Wine

Finally, taste the wine. Start with a small sip and let it roll around your mouth. There are three stages to refining the taste of wine: Attack Phase, Evolution Phase and The Finish. In Part 4 of the ‘GK On Wine Guide & Wine Tasting Cyprus’, we will explore the different tastes of wine and what they tell us about the winemaking process and wine contents.


Whoever thought wine tasting could get so complex? The Attack Phase in wine tasting is made up of four separate components: tannin levels, acidity, alcohol content and residual sugar. What is the first sensation of the wine on your palate? Is it well-balanced? This phase is not about the actual flavour of the wine you are tasting but more about the general wine intensity and wine complexity and takes into consideration factors such as whether the wine is sweet or dry, light or heavy, soft or firm, crisp or creamy!


Now, let’s talk about the actual taste and flavour profile on the palate! This is called the Evolution Phase. Different flavours vary for red wines and white wines but some of the most typical flavours to look out for in red wine are fruits and herbs such as figs, plums, berries, cloves or cinnamon. You may even detect a certain smokiness or woody flavour such as oak or cedar. White wines are quite different in that the fruitiness often derives from fruits such as citrus or tropical fruits and can also offer a more floral ‘earthy’ flavour such as honey or butter. The Evolution Phase in wine tasting is your chance to try and determine the flavour. What are your tastebuds picking up?


The final phase in wine tasting is often referred to as The Finish and relates to the aftertaste of the wine and how long it lasts inside the mouth. Ask yourself how long it lasted and whether it was light-bodied, medium-bodied or full-bodied. Are you keen to take another sip or did you find the wine too heavy or bitter at the end?

Following these simple steps in the ‘GK On Wine Guide’ will enhance your enjoyment and knowledge of the wine you are drinking. Look out for our upcoming articles on ‘The Art of Wine Tasting’ by George Kassianos, President of the Cyprus Sommeliers Association.

Happy Tasting.

Published by Cyprus in Style August 2020 – #InStyleBusinessNetwork

Photography by Amita Cathcart