Wine tasting Simplified
Tasting wine may seem complicated at first, but once you are familiar
with the ritual of wine tasting, it will become second nature. There
is really no great mystery about tasting and selecting wine.
generally evaluated by appearance, aroma and flavor. The more wines
you sample, the better you will become at rating wine. In the end,
you simply choose the wine you like.
the simple steps below:
wine into a clean, clear wine glass, no more than one-quarter full.
Raising the glass up by its stem, hold it up to the light or against
a white background. Look at the wine and try to judge its appearance.
Is the wine clear or cloudy? A fine wine should be clear and brilliant.
If it is cloudy, it may be spoiled. However, aged wines may, at
times, look darker and slightly dull.
The color of
the wine will be distinctly different depending on the type of wine
you are tasting. Reds can vary from a light red to a deep, inky
purple. Whites can range from pale yellow to golden honey. You will
find out for yourself as you become more familiar with different
types of wine.
to bring out the aroma or fragrance by swirling the wine to coat
the inside of the glass. Bringing the glass close under your nose,
inhale the wine's aroma deeply. Quickly, what comes to mind? Does
it smell fruity or flowery? Which fruit or flower comes to mind?
If you are tasting a white wine, are you detecting smells of apple,
pear or perhaps melon? Or scents of flowers, like rose or jasmine,
or vanilla, or perhaps honey? It all depends on the wine you are
sampling. If it is a red wine you are sampling, you may smell fruits
like berry, plum, cherry, strawberry. Or other aromas like cinnamon,
clove, or pepper. Does the aroma appeal to you? Is it a strong or
taste the wine. Take a generous sip without swallowing. Let the
wine roll over your tongue, draw it slowly into your mouth and sort
of "chew" it, so that the wine reaches all parts of your mouth.
Pay close attention to your senses. Try to describe in your mind
what the wine feels and tastes like. Does the wine taste sweet or
acidic. Which fruits and spices come to mind? Does it taste thin
and weak, or strong and rich? Does the wine have "body," regarding
your sense of its weight in your mouth?. Once you have identified
the tastes, swallow the wine and see what kind of aftertaste it
leaves. Does the wine linger in your mouth, or do the flavors disappear
quickly? Did you like what you tasted? How would you rate the wine
on a scale of 1 to 5?
the steps again and pay close attention to the sensations you experience.
Often you will detect additional flavors and aromas.
Color of Wine
color of wine depends on varietal, vintage or age.
Yellow - Chardonnay, White Burgundy
Yellow - Sauvignon Blanc, White Riesling, Chablis
Yellow - Chenin Blanc, Gewuerztraminer
Honey - Aged white wines, dessert wines
Red - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Bordeaux
Red - Pinot Noir, Burgundy
Purple-Red - Petite Sirah
Purple-Red - Beaujolais
Aroma of Wine
aroma, also fragrance, bouquet, smell or "nose," will tell a lot
about the wine and usually identifies the varietal.
- Melon, pear, apple, lemon, pineapple, vanilla, butter
Blanc - Grapefruit, lemon, herb
- Green apple, peach, apricot, honey
- Peach, pineapple, ginger, jasmine
Sauvignon - Black cherry, black currant, clove, cinnamon, pepper
- Plum, black currant, black cherry
- Raspberry, black cherry, black berry, clove, black pepper,
Noir - Cherry, strawberry, wood smoke
Taste of Wine
the wine will help to confirm the varietal of the wine. The following
are the characteristics you should look for when tasting wine.
Fruity, floral, spicy, earthy, smoky, buttery, corky, musty,
- For reds: Very tannic = astringent, dry; Low tannic = mellow
- For whites: High acidity = dry, crisp; Low acidity = off-dry
- oaky, presence of wood; caused from barrel aging
- Full, medium, light; the weight of wine in the mouth
- Long, medium, short; the lingering aftertaste in the mouth