How to learn to taste wine?


Wine tasting is the act of analysing wine to determine its notes, aroma, flavour and texture. Unlike food, wine tasting requires the use of the senses of smell, sight, taste and touch. There are blind wine tastings where you do not know what type of wine it is. However, the goal of any wine tasting is to determine the characteristics indicated above as well as the quality.

There are wine-tasting events that happen privately, at clubs, organised by winemakers or at bars. If you wish to accurately determine a wine’s characteristics, here are ways to train your palate to do it perfectly.

The Procedure for Tasting Wine

  1. Put some wine in a glass that can hold at least 1.5 ounces.
  2. Bring the wine glass close to your nose and take two short breaths through the nose, but breathe out through the mouth. This helps capture most aromas.
  3. Take the first sip while paying attention to the taste buds that are tricked by the wine.
  4. Spit the wine rather than swallowing it to keep your senses in shape. This is important, especially if you are to taste several other types.

After the process, note the aroma of the wine, how it looks, and the taste. Finally, determine the overall impression of the wine as well as the texture. In most cases, you will have a graded scale where you shall assign numeric values to each of these categories. Determine the most appropriate score and indicate it against the wine you choose. Be sure to have a notebook and record your findings as soon as you complete a round of wine tasting.

How Do You Evaluate Wine?

The colour depth gives a clue to what gape variety was used. For example, among the French wine varieties, pinot noir is lighter and looks more transparent when compared to other varieties like ruby cabernet sauvignon. To determine the colour, look at the wine against a white background.

Older wines may have sediments. Besides, red wines are quite dark when young but tend to get lighter as they age. On the other hand, white wines are quite light when young but turn brown or gold as they age. Finally, high viscosity wines indicate high sugar or alcohol content. More on Barton & Guestier.

Evaluate the Aroma of Your Wine

The aroma helps determine if a wine is sound or flawed. If the wine has a musty smell, it means that it is flawed. Being flawed does not mean that it is unsafe to drink, but rather not pleasant. A good winehouse may replace a corked wine.

You will also notice differences in the aroma. For example, sauvignon blanc has a deep aroma that you will pick up from a distance. However, others, like pinot grigio, smell shy. Wines with fruit aromas are divided into various categories, as indicated below.

The white ones come with citrus fruit aromas such as lemon and tangerine. Others have tropical fruit notes such as pineapple, melon and mango. There are others with orchard fruit aromas, such as peach, apple and apricot.

On the other hand, red wines come with aromas of red fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, and red cherries; black fruits like black currants, black cherry and blackberry; and blueberries. In addition, complex wines may have other aromas. Those with flowery and herb aromas may have grass, rose, violet, thyme, or rosemary aromas, among others. In contrast, those with earthly aromas may have dry soil, wet stones, damp leaves, or chalk aromas, among others.

Finally, tannin, alcohol, acidity and sugar profoundly affect the wine’s taste and body. If the wine does not have any residual sugar, it is considered dry. If it has elevated alcohol levels, it is made in a warm climate, while a bitter taste means it is high in tannin.

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