We all love to taste wine, but are we aware what we really need to look for in the scent, in the flavor? What do you need to taste, the sweet, or the salty? Is it good or bad if the wine tastes the same as it smells? Wine tasting sounds like a subjective case of matter, but why are the ‘professionals‘ (sommeliers, wine makers, wine critics), all agree in a taste of ‘apple’, ‘chocolate’ or ‘nuts’ in a certain wine?
Here I would like to share some small tips and tricks regarding wine tasting. Let’s assume that the wines are served at their best temperature, which is 10-14 degrees Celsius for whites, 12 for rose, and 14-18 for reds.
This is the first attribute of a wine, that you can easily specify. To have a clear, matt color is a must when drinking wine. In any other case, just send it back with the waiter. The color can vary in a range in the different types:
Red: purple (pink line on the top)-rubin (blueish line on the top)-granite-brown
For the whites it is easy to assume the right color, but for the reds there is an easy trick: if you tilt the glass in an angle with a white paper in the back, and look at the top of the wine, you will see its real color.
Moving your wine in the glass a bit will help you to smell the aromas of the wine. It can be a clear or an uncertain fragrance. Also, it can vary between a low-key and intense fragrance. To taste a low-key fragrance wine does not necessary makes it a ‘bad’ wine, as long as it is in harmony with its taste as well.
The main aroma characteristics of a wine are:
– Fruity (ex. citrus, green fruits, red fruits, tropical fruits, dried fruits etc.)
– Flowery (like rose, lilies, orange, acacia etc.)
– Spicy (cinnamon, ginger, pepper, vanilla, nutmeg etc.)
– Vegetal (fresh, herbs, nuts, wood, or even boiled-very old wines happen to taste like boiled veggies etc.)
– Other (ex. animal, mineral, mature, etc.)
Just like the scent, the taste of the wine can have the same characteristics: fruity, flowery, spicy, vegetal or others. What is even more important is that you can now decide whether the fragrance and the flavor are in parity. In case there is a difference in flavor and scent (one or the other is more, or different), then the wine is not complex, it cannot be a great wine. Scent and flavor should show you very similar characteristics.
The flavor now can show you some easily definitive, and objective, attributes as well: dry-semi dry- sweet- semi sweet. When you are done with that, decide how you find the body of the wine: is it a light wine, middle or a full-bodied heavy wine. This will come from the taste, and you can also imagine the food that can follow this wine.
The intensity of the scent and flavor also varies between intense and low-intensity.
Acid and tannin content are also important attributes that define a certain wine, a region, a producer, even the method of production. While the acidic content you feel on both sides of your tongue, tannin content can be realized from the contractile feeling on your palate.
Where do you feel the four tastes on your tongue?
After you moved the sip all around your mouth, it is time to swallow. How long the taste lasts in your mouth and throat? Only some second? Or do you still taste the wine after 5-6 more swallowing? That is the way you define the length of the wine.
4. Overall conclusion
Reviewing the above attributes of a wine choose which category would fit the best: weak-average-good-perfect.
A light wine would not necessary be a weak wine, you need to see all the attributes in harmony.
If you follow these easy steps I guarantee you will enjoy wine tasting more, and soon you will expertise yourself in wine drinking!
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