After you have evaluated your wine through sight, smell and sipping, it is time to summarize what you have experienced. Consider elements like the wine’s finesse or smoothness, its balance ….. to various elements work together or do they compete with each other. Is it full-bodied or light-bodied? Did it have a long or short finish ….. how long did the flavors linger? And the finish ….. meaning the impression it leaves once you have swallowed.
You can summarize your thoughts as to the quality of the wine. As your experience grows the more capable you will become at assessing wines and discussing their assessments with others. Remember that everybody has different likes and dislikes, so your evaluation of a wine may not be the same as others.
I always say that the bottom line is ……… did you like the wine and do you want to drink more in the future!
Enjoy tasting your wines and I hope that you learn something from each and every glass that you drink!
Now the best part ….. Sip! Take a significant mouthful of the wine ….. usually a tablespoon or two. Roll the wine around in your mouth and on you tongue. Note the wine’s flavors and its texture. Do you get an impression of sweetness, sourness, or bitterness? Do the wine’s flavors match up to its aromas or do you detect something different? Do you feel the wine’s weight: a wine that gives a heavier, thicker impression is called a full-bodied wine, while a lighter, thinner wine is called light-bodied. With reds you may detect the wine’s tannins as a velvety or drying sensation on your tongue. Do you get a thermoreaction …. a sense of heat or coolness …. which reflects the level of alcohol in the wine. I personally like to sip some of the wine through my front teeth to provide even more aeration to the wine prior to finally swallowing.
After you have evaluated your wine with your sight and swirled it in your glass, proceed to smell or sniff your wine. Different wines have different aromatic intensities, the best technique is to smell/sniff in three steps …. the chest, chin, and nose test. At each step take a sniff of your wine see what, if anything, you can smell from your glass. If you can detect a smell from your chest the wine is very aromatic. If you have to stick your nose into the glass to smell anything, the wine is usually neutral or muted. Three are currently over 200 or more aromatics commonly detected in wine …… everything from fruits, flowers, and herbs to vegetable, leather and stone! You can with practice learn to identify many of these aromas. What you smell may not be what another person smells. Each individuals own sense receptors may detect smells that others do not. Don’t worry if you can’t smell what you are “supposed to” …… just make notes of the differences.
After you have evaluated you wine with your sight, it is time to “swirl” your wine.In this step you expose the wine to oxygen. This oxidation intensifies the aromas in the glass so that you can better sense them. When learning to swirl, hold your glass on the table by the base and swirl the wine. As you become more experienced you can hold the glass off the table by the stem.
As I shared earlier there are the five “S’s” of wine tasting: See, Swirl, Smell, Sip, and Summarize. The next series of posts will go a little more in depth as to how each should be used in tasting wines.
After you have poured yourself a glass of wine you need to “see” the wine ….. what is its color and translucence. The color and translucence will provide you clues as to the grape variety, the style, and the age of the wine. We normally think of wines as red, white, and rose’ ……. however there is an entire spectrum of colors that wines can show: ruby, garnet, brick, tawny, violet, pink, peach, salmon, straw, gold, green, and many more. Wines can also show pale, medium, and deep tones of any of these colors. As wines age white wines tend to show deeper colors while red wines tend to lose some of their color.
Make notes of the color and transparency of the wine, note the age of the wine in your notes. As you taste more wines you can compare your notes to see how your knowledge of “Seeing” is progressing.
Wine tasting has always been something near and dear! While I do know the basic ABC’s of wine tasting, it seems that in most instances our tasting methods are either modified and brief or non-existent!
To really get to know a wine we really need the discipline to follow the ABC’s of wine tasting, which are very simple ……….. the 5 S’s! Swirl, Sniff, See,Sip, and Summarize!!
Swirl: Hold the wine glass by the stem, swirl the wine in the glass to release the aromas.
Sniff: Hold the wine glass up to your nose and put your nose into the glass and inhale the aromas. You may be able to identify basic aromas such as fruity or earthy or identify specific aromas such as blackberry, citrus, apple, etc.
See: Hold your glass against a white surface and see what color the wine is. The color provides insight into the age of the wine.
Sip: This is in my opinion the most important step. Take a small sip of the wine and swirl it inside your mouth, letting it hit all areas of your tongue. Then suck a little of the wine through your teeth to allow a little air to mingle with the wine …… then swallow the sip and identify what you have experienced.
Summarize: The last step is to summarize your experience. Make note of what you enjoyed or did not enjoy about the wine. The bottom line is very simple …….. do you like the wine and will you drink it in the future!
During future posting we will go more in depth about each tasting step as well as covering various grapes and wines. Make sure you are linked to http://www.wine69.me for blog updates. Also please share with your friends.