THE WINE TASTING PROCESS:The recommended steps are:
WHAT TO LOOK FOR :
Truth be known, many people make wine tasting appear much harder than it really is. Wines are described by some using vague terms that the taster him or herself does not fully understand, or even worse, by reference to other wines that very few people may have even tasted (i.e. statements such as "this wine displays characters not unlike a Corton Charlemagne from a good year"). When challenged to describe the wine in plain English, and in such a way that the description may mean something to someone else, they cannot. Why? You can be the judge.
* The term "bouquet" has been a part of tasting lore for many years, being defined as any aroma that originates from the winemaking process as distinct from the grape. In light of the reality that in many cases it is impossible to conclusively categorise each smell as per this distinction, the term has (rightfully) fallen into disuse.
Many wine tasters are adamant that an optimum glass in terms of size and dimensions exists for a particular wine type or even style. that it is absolutely imperative that the correct glass be used if maximum enjoyment is to be had. But how much of this idea has truth in fact, and how much is the result of concerted marketing efforts on the part of some glass manufacturers to effect a marketing point of difference.
Before we can answer this question in an intelligent way, we must first distinguish what is meant by "taste" in a wine. In lay-mans terms, the term "taste" encompasses a combined result of a wide variety of sensory experiences including the perception of:
The separation of these is not just an academic exercise as for a variety of logical reasons it is likely that the size and shape of the glass should affect these to largely varying degrees.
Despite these strong beliefs about the importance of glass shape, little scientific research has been conducted in this area, but two recent reports have thrown some light on the effect of glass type on the aroma of wines.
The right proportion of fruit, acid, tannin and varietal character. Harmonious.
A wooden barrel distinctive to Bordeaux.
Blanc de Blanc
An expression found on some Champagne labels and literally means, “white of whites,” referring to the color of grapes used in making it.
The impression of fullness or "roundness" in the mouth.
The aromatic scent as expressed by the winemaking process; the combination of varietal fruit character with all the elements of aging wine.
Rich, oily texture. Usually used when describing Chardonnay.
An English term to describe the Cabernet-based wines of the Haut-Médoc.
Shows an integration of aroma and flavor, often with subtlety; one of the highest compliments to a wine.
The smell of the wine when it has been spoiled by a bad cork. Typically musty or wet-cardboard smell; relatively uncommon.
A vineyard. Only used in reference to the very best properties in Burgundy or Bordeaux.
A single container of wine — a tank or a barrel — sometimes used to designate a special blend.
Means “taste” as in “gout de terroir” or “taste of the earth” and is used to describe many rustic-flavored wines.
A second fermentation in which the malic (sour) acid is converted to lactic (softer) acid. Creates softer, silkier, more approachable wines.
Exhibits the benefits of aging where all the elements have come together.
The combination of aroma and bouquet of the wine.
The smell and/or flavor associated with aging wine in small oak barrels. When properly integrated, a positive element.
Prix de Mousse
A type of yeast that starts the wine fermenting.
A compound that forms naturally during fermentation. Winemakers traditionally supplement with minimal amounts to protect the fruit quality and prevent oxidation.
Wine is aged on the spent yeast "lees" (cells) after fermentation, gaining added flavor and complexity.
The natural components from grape skins and oak contact that make young wines lightly astringent and sometimes bitter. Tannin subsides as part of the aging process and contributes to the wine's complexity.