The Tasting Process (Detailed Version)
1. Color (Appearance, Hue, Sight) - Light gold to dark purple
In my opinion color is the least important part of the tasting process. Dark colored wines do not always guarantee full bodied, impressive wines.
Legs- Swirl your glass and the legs are the coating on the inside of the glass. After
swirling there will be streams down your glass. The thicker the legs the higher the
alcohol content is but does not determine quality! . Sediment is not a negative and
you should decant the wine.
Fact: As white wines age they become darker in color and red wines lighter in color.
2. Nose (Aroma, Smell)- Really important!!!
Your senses really start working with the nose of the wine. The more wine you smell the better you will get at detecting the characteristics of different wines. The best wines have noses that offer several characters that are easily detectable.
Aroma- The scent from a younger wine
Bouquet- Used for older more complex wines
Character- Violets, black cherry, oak, spice, etc. This is what you smell.
Corked wine- This will smell like wet cardboard. If any wine smells off it is and
should not be consumed. Return it for a refund.
Fact: Smell with enthusiasm! If you take a polite smell you won't get much
compared to the "Sideways" sniff.
3. Taste/ Palate
This is the most important step in the tasting process in my opinion. Take this step seriously for every wine you try. In order to properly taste wine you must swish the wine around in your mouth to hit all the taste buds (5 seconds will due). If the aroma and tastes match up, the wine is balanced.
Sweetness or dryness- You will detect the sweetness of the wine by using the tip of
your tongue. Wines high in tannins will dry out your mouth creating a cotton ball
mouth effect on the roof of your mouth.
Acidity- The tartness of a wine. White wines are higher in acidity for the most part.
Alcohol- Wines that are "hot" can be high in alcohol and can throw off the balance
of the wine. This is a sensation not a taste.
Balanced- No components over powers the other. Example the acidity is not
over the top compared to the bitter taste of the wine or a wine is not over "oaked".
Bitterness- Detected on the back of your tongue. Bitterness comes from oak
barrels, the skins, seeds and stems.
Body- Full bodied is a wine that is rich and complex and feels heavy in the mouth.
Light body wines can be very good but have the texture of skim milk.
Tannins- Gives red wines structure and a backbone. Young red wines can be a bit
harsh and hide the flavors of the wine. This is why aging high end reds is so
important. Tannins will soften over time.
Fact: Most people swallow their wines and will only taste the sweet taste bud with wine.
4. Finish (Aftertaste)- The best wines have a complex finish
The length of the aftertaste of the wine. Many sensory elements might come up in the finish such as acidity, tannins, high alcohol levels and complex taste sensations. The best wines in the world will have a lengthy finish with positive elements. When you can taste a wine over a minute it is said to have a long finish.
5. Evaluation (See Handout)
Usually scored out of 100 points however a simple evaluation is whether you would buy it again or not. This is important to you as a consumer. When you buy wine from a shop and ask for recommendations, you need to evaluate these wines to determine whether to shop there again. Wineglas uses a concrete scoring system which also includes a price I think the wine is worth.