Depending on how it is carried out, there are different kinds of tastings:
- Comparative (considering and measuring against each other a number of wines).
-Blind (concealing the label so as not to be able to identify the participating wines).
-Vertical (a single wine is tasted throughout a number of vintages).
-Varietal (This comprises only wines of a defined grape variety).
Before getting started, there are some basics that need to be taken into account viz:
* If several wines are to be tasted, the order of the day should begin with whites, move on to rose' and save the reds for last. Within each colour, dry wines go before sweet and lighter ones before those with more defined structure - light, medium, full-bodied.
* The correct temperature is essential to fully appreciate a wine. 10 deg.C is a good rule of thumb for white wines, 11deg.C for rose' and 16Deg.C for reds.
*Ideal stemware is plain but fine crystal, fully transparent and unadorned glasses.
*The setting should be well ventilated and offer proper light.
*Perfume (cologne, after-shave lotion, etc), should not be worn on the day of tasting, by any of those partaking in it.
|A wine tasting & review session with notes.|
Tilt the glass against a white background to appreciate the colour, intensity and general appearance of the wine (transparency, brightness, limpidity, effervescence).
Young white wines and sparkling wine should present a light shade of colour, always with green hues or undertones. If barrel or bottle aged, they acquire a golden-yellow glow.
Roses' wines vary greatly in intensity, but if they turn orangey, it is a clear sign that there might be oxidation or other damage.
Young red wines feature a deep, vibrant red-colour with a darker violet rim and diverse hues that are specific to each variety. With age, reds range from ruby-red to more brick-like colours,orangy and may even turn slightly yellowish. Bottle aging is associated with roof tile shades, dark red, maroon, and ochre. Irrespective of its age or aging, a wine should always look shiny and limpid.
Take the glass by the stem or base, and, with your nose completely immersed in the mouth of the glass, inhale deeply, trying to percieve the different aromatic notes. After registering this first impression, swirl the glass to liberate the aromatic components and inhale again. The best wines are always very aromatic, complex and tend to open-up in the glass, furthering their aromatic profile and expressiveness as they oxygenerate. Try to compare the notes you percieve with other aromatic archetypes that will come to mind. First try to identify a broad family: there might be aromas of fruits, flowers, herbs, spices, minerals or a combination of several of these. Try to rate aromas based on their distinctiveness, complexity and intensity.
There is a third phase within the the olfactory analysis that occurs with wine already in the mouth. The warm temperature inside the mouth stirs yet another aromatic dissemination. In this stage notes are percieved by the olfactory epithelium and this is what we call mouth aromas or retronasal aromas.
Typically, wine aromas suggest or resemble characteristic aromas of the vegetal kingdom: flowers, fruits, herbs or spices as well as other aromas that are part of our olfactory memory: leather, earth, chocolate, tobacco and smoke.
When at this stage, take a sip generous enough to impregnate the whole tongue surface. While keeping the wine in the mouth, inhale a little air and let the wine swirl and oxygenate between your tongue and palate. Try to pinpoint the flavour notes, describe the texture and sensation that the wine leaves behind.
A wine with good acidity will convey a refreshing feeling and is defined as being fresh. On the contrary, an alcohol-rich wine evokes heat and is described as being warm and alcoholic. The smoothness is measured in terms of how a wine flows in the mouth and some of the adjectives that may come to mind are smooth, silky, or on the other hand, rough, hard, rugged.
A correct wine will be able to harmonize its sweet, sour, salty and bitter components to pleasantly stimulate the sense of taste. Also, its taste ought to linger for a while in the mouth after swallowing, what is described as a long lingering but smooth finish.