When you are doing a food and wine tasting, take a taste of wine first focusing on the wine flavors in the mouth. Then take a bite of food, focusing on the flavors and textures in the food. Before you swallow the food, take another sip of wine. With the mixture in the mouth taste how the food changes and the wine changes. Together they should create something better than either separately.
To taste the wine alone, swirl the glass to throw the wine up onto the side of the glass, thus increasing the surface area of wine in contact with the air. It is at the interface between wine and air that aromas are released, and thus increasing the surface area helps to make the aromas more apparent. The agitation of the wine, of course, also helps. To swirl effectively, don’t fill the glass too full – in fact less than half full is recommended. Be gentle, in order to bring the wine up onto the side of the glass without spilling it altogether.
If you find you are spilling wine, and haven’t overfilled the glass, place the base of the glass on the table and using a few good circular motions on the table top to get the aromas going.