Wine tasting is not “just like an art”, it is an art. It is very easy
to learn the basic of wine tasting, and learning the nuance is always simultaneously
increasing the pleasure that derive from tasting wine. A perfect wine should have
a good balance meaning that the fruit, acid, and wood flavors are in the right proportion.
There are three steps in wine tasting:
Visual Appreciation of the Wine
The first way to know about a wine is simply to look at it. The glass should be
poured into a clear glass and held in front of a white background so that the color
can be clearly examined.
1. Clarity of a Wine
The wine can be brilliant (describe a clear and free of suspended material) dull
(indicates haziness) or cloudy (term used when the wine presents heavy amounts of
2. The Color
White wine can range from green to yellow to brown. More color in a white wine usually
indicates more flavor and age. Look for a very light shade of straw-toned color
in dry white wines such as chardonnay and white Riesling. For Semillon and sauvignon
blanc, look for a more definite yellow color. For sweeter wines, look for a more
Red wines can range from a pale red to a deep brown red. Usually, the red wines
will become lighter in color as they aged. But the color is also really different
according to the type of grape. A red wine ‘s color depend also on the type
of grapes used: Look for a dark red for a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah, a light
red for a Cabernet Franc or a Pinot Noir, a medium red for a Merlot or a Sangiovese.,
3. The Rim Color
The rim color will allow a connoisseur to guess the age of a red wine. In order
to appreciate a rim color, the glass should be first tilt slightly. Then, look at
the edge of the wine: A purple tint indicates youth while orange to brown indicates
Swirling the wine will allow to observe the body of a wine. A wine with “good
legs” indicates a thicker body and a higher alcohol content and /or sweetness
level: The legs, (or tears as the French refer to them}, are the streaks of wine
forming on the side of the wine glass. The alcohol has a faster evaporation rate
and a lower surface tension than water, forcing the alcohol to evaporate at a faster
rate. This dynamic allows the water's surface tension and concentration to increase,
pushing the legs up the glass until the surface tension pushes the water into beads.
Finally, gravity wins the battle and forces the liquid to tear down the glass in
a defeated streak.
We actually smell most of the things that we think we taste. The human nose is capable
of discerning thousands of subtle variation of scents, distilling whereas our taste-buds
can discern only five flavors: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and unami. In order to
really appreciate the perfume of the bouquet (also called aroma or nose), the wine
should be swirl in order to release its molecule.Then take a quick whiff and formulate
an initial impression. Then take a second deeper whiff. Describing in words the
aroma is at first difficult, but after trying many wines you willl notice similarities
and differences. As a beginner: 1- Focus on unwanted smells (yeast, wood, mold,
sulfur dioxide, oxidation –brackishness-, acetic acid –vinegar-…)
Then, try to identify any grape aroma and rank the strength of the aroma. Analyze
the aroma further. Try to detect the smell of fruity or floral notes. 3- Finally,
note the presence of spices (pepper, anise, cinnamon, vanilla, tea or possibly nuts).
4- Try to note the presence of other aromas, (cedar, oak, dust, moist earth, herbs,
chocolate, tobacco, smoke, mushrooms, grass, hay, or asparagus….)
Three steps should be followed:
1. Iinitial Taste (or first impression)
Your taste buds will respond to the sensation and awakens your senses
2. Taste ( mouth or palate)
Sip a small amount of wine and move it over your entire tongue so that all your
taste buds come in contact with it. It is important to allow the aromas of the wine
to enter your nasal passageway at the back of your throat. In order to do so, some
people pucker their lips and suck in a small amount of air through the wine
Look for sweetness or dryness. An acid bite indicates the vitality of the wine.
Taste for excessive tannins (bitter and rough) and for vinegar flavor, which is
usually not desirable Taste, the presence of alcohol. Note also boldness, fullness
and richness while tasting. These tend to indicate a wine with good body. The body
is the weight of the wine in your mouth (a wine can be full bodied, medium-bodied
or light bodied)
3. Aftertaste (the finish)
This is the taste that remains in your mouth after you have swallowed.
The amounts of time the sensations of taste and aroma persist after swallowing is
call the length of a wine.
Also, note the flavor that lingers in the mouth: Are they harsh, hot, soft?
While wine tasting, avoid strong food as anchovies, vinegar, hot peppers,
and highly salted fish as they can make almost any wine taste bad.