One of the best ways to become a wine connoisseur is by attending a wine tasting.
At a wine tasting you have the opportunity to learn about what elements make up different types of wine, as well as which types of wines you prefer.
Many wine tastings have a host, so use this opportunity to ask the host questions about each wine. Their job is to get people excited about the wine that they are peddling, so they will be more than happy to teach you the ways of the knowledgeable wino. Take note of which types of wine suit your fancy and become familiar with your own likes and dislikes.
A wine tasting involves more than just your taste buds; it engages four of the five senses. Before you gulp down a glass of wine and call it a day, consider the different ways that the wine interacts with your senses. Wine connoisseurs analyze their wines through sight, smell, touch and taste.
The following article from Red-Wine-Passion.com describes the steps included in wine tasting. This specific article focuses on red wine; however, all of these steps can be applied to any type of wine tasting.
Wine Tasting Tips – 4 Steps To Rate Any Wine
There are 4 important categories included when evaluating wines using our wine tasting tips section.
When you taste wine you use your senses in the following order: sight, smell, touch then finally taste.
We use the following wine tasting tips section when evaluating and recommending wines to you and we score them using our own personalized rating system. After you review this page , please click here to see how we rate our red wines.
Sight is very important when evaluation wine and you will be concentrating on the Clarity, Color and Intensity of the wine.
The clarity or brightness to a wine is an indicator of its acidity and quality. Wines that display a cloudy or hazy look indicate possible contamination and or poor storage conditions. Fortunately, this is very infrequent today. Occasionally you may see crystals sticking to the cork or the bottom of your wine glass or wine bottle. They are harmless and usually indicate that the wine was stored in cold temperatures. We are experiencing a trend away from filtering so we are seeing more sediment in our wines.
The color of red wines comes from the skin. The longer a wine ferments with its skin, (a process called maceration), the darker its color. Lighter color red wines indicate a higher acidity, lower tannins and readiness to drink. Color terminology for red wines as they age are as follows: Purple-Ruby-Garnet-Brick-Tawny.
The intensity or depth of the wine can easily be assessed by pouring a small amount of wine (less than 1/3 of a glass) and looking down into the glass to see how easily you can see the stem of the glass through the wine sample. The deepest color of the wine is in the center of the glass and gradually gets paler towards the rim. Tilt the glass when performing this exercise. The more mature wines become very pale towards the rim and can even become colorless.
Most people do not realize this simple truth and important wine tasting tip but when we taste a wine we actually are smelling it. When you hear people refer to the “nose” of a wine they are actually referring to the smells. If the wine has intense aromas, it is said to have a “big nose”. When working on your wine tasting scorecard, smell is one of the most important steps.
Now vigorously swirl the glass that is about 1/3 full to aerate the wine. Make sure that you have the proper red wine glass for this. Now put your nose right into the glass and inhale deeply. Ask yourself:
1) Is the aroma intense, medium or vaguely there?
2) Do I like the smell?
3) What does it smell like?
Characteritic red wine aromas are many but here are some common ones for you to consider.
1) Red Fruit – Cherry, Raspberry, Strawberry and Currants
2) Dark Fruit – Blackberry, Black Currant, Blueberry, Plum and Raisin
3) Spicy – Licorice, Anise, Black Papper, Cloves and Cinnamon.
4) Other common aromas – Woody, Smoky, Coffee, Tobacco, Chocolate, Earthy and Floral.
Texture or touch is how the wine feels in your mouth. Now sip and swirl the wine and make sure that it makes contact with your tongue and palate. The tongue is where the majority of our taste buds are. How does the wine feel?
The body of the wine is the perception of its weight in your mouth. Does the wine feel watery or full and heavy? Taking note of the body of the wine is an important wine tasting tip and is important in food and wine pairing. For more information please visit body of a wine.
Astrigency can be explained as the “puckering” sensation one would have when drinking something like a strong tea. This sensation comes from the tannins in the red wine. In some wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, the astrigency can be quite strong.
Wines with a higher alcohol content tend to be heavier bodied. A higher level of alcohol in a wine can cause a burning sensation down the center of your tongue when tasting. Higher alcoholic wines also tend to be more bitter.
This is where all your senses and wine tasting tips come together.
How did you like the wine?
Did you taste the fruit?
Was it intense or vaguely there?
Evaluating the balance in the wine is where the true test of the wine makers ability comes through. Balance is simply the measure of how the four major components of wine, fruit, sugar, acid and tannin come together. A good wine blends the 4 components together seamlessly and is an important consideration and one of the most important wine tasting tips.
The final impression for your wine tasting scorecard is the finish. This is the taste in your mouth after the wine has been swallowed.
If the finish last only a few seconds you are dealing with an simple everyday wine. Generally, more longer lasting finishes will be present in higher quality wines with a 20-30 second aftertaste being present. Some outstanding wines can have a finish of over a minute or more.
How many flavors can you detect in your wine? Some wines have many different flavors and are referred to as being more “complex”. A wine tasting tip to remember is that wines that show greater levels of complexity are usually much better quality, show higher flavor intensity and demonstrate longer finishes.
Please visit us here to print off your wine tasting scorecard.
Now that you are armed with the knowledge of how to taste and understand different wines, you can put your know-how into place at a wine tasting. This way you can figure out what types of wine you prefer without having to purchase an entire bottle.
Julio’s Liquors offers wine tasting in the Angel Share room, where forty-eight wines are on tap at one time. We also host a variety of tastings nearly every day of the week. Contact us with any other questions that you may have.