This article belongs to Wine theme.

Don't let the wine snobs fool you. With these five simple techniques, you will be able to sample the nectar of the Gods with complete confidence (as well as drink a lot of wine for free).

So there you are, standing in front of a long wooden bar, elbow-to-elbow with friends and strangers, staring down at a glass that has barely a gulp or two in it. You look around trying to get a clue as to what to do with this pitifully small offering and are appalled at what you see. Sniffing, snorting, gargling, spitting. Some people actually dumping some of it out. How rude! But fear not. Wine tasting is as simple as counting to five.

Use your eyes to examine the wine's color. Color has no more bearing on the quality of a wine than the color of the bottle from which it was poured. However, by examining the color and commenting on it, you will appear to be genuinely interested in wine tasting as an art form and not merely as a cheap drunk. Casually pick up the glass such that you can peer through it directly in to a source of light. Sun streaming through a nearby window looks very good but any light source will do. Make an offhand comment about the color and clarity. If the wine is cloudy, remark that you prefer the unfiltered wines. If it is a deep maroon in color, state that this varietal is rich in tannins. If it is pink, dump it out; this is a rose' and you are being tested.

This takes a little manual dexterity. To properly swirl wine, grasp the stem of the wine glass and, without actually lifting it up, move the glass in counter-clockwise rotation until the wine starts to slowly climb about halfway up the side of the glass. Now lift the glass and, while the wine returns to the bottom, look at the thin ring of liquid that remains. The thickness of this ring indicates the viscosity, which wine connoisseurs refer to as the legs. Unless you plan on using wine in a spray painter or as an additive to your motor oil, viscosity also has very little meaning. The real value in this exercise is merely to check if the glass is clean without anyone noticing. If the glass is dirty, then swirl again this time forcing the wine over the edge of the glass. You will be provided with another one when they clean up the mess.

This is actually the first activity that provides some useful information about what you will eventually be putting in your mouth. Wine connoisseurs will wax poetic for hours about the aroma, also know as the bouquet, sometimes called the nose. In other words, how it smells. Here is my rule of thumb. If it smells bad, don't drink it. Now, unless they have just uncorked a new bottle, you probably don't have to worry. If it was bad, the person who drank it before you would have said something. Here is how to properly sniff wine. Cup the glass in the palm of your hand and allow it to warm. This releases the esters and allows the vapors to coalesce. Under no circumstances should you actually say this out loud. Unless, of course, you are openly gay, (then please disregard my previous comment about rose'). After a few seconds of warming, thrust your nose deep into the glass and inhale deeply. You now understand why they only pour in a couple of ounces of wine; any more and you would run the risk of sucking the wine into your nasal passages, which would immediately turn your nose into a spray painter, giving more importance to the wine's legs.

If you just knock it back and slam it down, you will be spotted as a rooky immediately.
This aerates the wine, allowing the tongue to better process the subtleties of the wine's many components. Allow it to pass slowly over the tongue so as to experience all of its complexity. This works pretty well for the first half-dozen tastes. More that that and, as far as the tongue is concerned, it's good night, Irene. Still, you must sip at least once from each glass and only a portion of what's been poured. Sip, don't gulp. If you just knock it back and slam it down, you will be spotted as a rooky immediately. Besides, you need to have some left over for the next and final step.

Take the remainder of the pour and allow it to rest on the front, then the middle and finally the back of the tongue before slowly swallowing. This provides an opportunity for the wine to saturate the taste buds, yielding the full spectrum of its aromatic characteristics. It is doubtful that you will actually notice any difference in the taste from these three positions, but it will give you time to think of a deep and meaningful assessment of the wine. Here are some tips:
• If you don't want to buy it, then say, "Not quite the same as (subtract one year from the date on the bottle). The weather was so unkind to the vines."
• If you want to drink some more, then say, "A virtual plethora of fruits and spices; I need to try it again to see if I can sort some of them out."
• If you want to buy a bottle, then say, "An excellent vintage. I trust there are still a few bottles available for sale?"
• If the wine actually tastes bad, then say, "This is quite good but I prefer a wine that is a little less bold and more gentle on the tongue."
• If you try to talk and your tongue doesn't move, give your keys to someone else and call it a day.

Now that you know the tricks of the trade, you can get out there and sample natures best with the best of the samplers. And if you wake up the next morning, after a full day of wine tasting, with your trunk full of wine and your credit card maxed out, well you must have got it right.