Oeno Ventures - The Art of Wine Tasting

The Art of Wine Tasting
Before Visiting Wine Country

Wine Varietals & Descriptions
Useful Wine Tasting Terms

Wine Country Weather
Wine Regions & Their Key Varietals
Quick Tips for Serving & Storing Wine

About Wine Glasses
Reading Wine Labels

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Wine tasting is an art which is worth more than just a quick swallow. It is a sensory examination
& evaluation describing the range of perceived flavors, aromas and general characteristics of a
wine which can ultimately be used to assess it's overall quality.

TASTING SUCCESSION: Always start by tasting white wine before moving on to the reds. Begin
your tasting with Sparkling wines, followed by light white wines, then by heavier whites, roses,
light reds, heavy reds, and end with sweet wines such as muscat or port.

ANALYZE THE APPEARANCE: After the wine has been poured into a crystal clear glass free of fingerprints & smudges, focus on the color & clarity of it's contents. A red wine should be brilliant
& clear while a white wine should be bright & opaque. The best way to examine the color of a wine
is by tilting the glass and looking at the edge of the wine. Any cloudiness or discoloration may
indicate possible faults or defects in the wine.
If you are tasting an older red wine you will notice
a less intense color and sediment (or residue) in the wine is normal and quite common.

Freely swirl the wine around in your glass. This process introduces oxygen into the glass,
which will help release the aromas & soften the tannins in the wine. Younger wines should be swirled fairly vigorously (yet carefully) while older wine should be treated more gently. Never swirl Sparkling Wines or Champagne as it demises the carbonated effect, causing it to flatten.

*Another observation during this process is the wine's viscosity. Examine how slowly the wine
runs back down the inside of the glass after it's been swirled. The tears (also referred to as
"legs") gradually running down the glass may imply a higher alcohol content in the wine. Outside
of aesthetically pleasing to the eye, this phenomenon has no relation to a wine's quality although
may indicate a more full bodied wine

SNIFF: Begin by holding the glass a few inches from your nose and taking a prolonged, deep
sniff. Then place your nose over the rim and into the bowl of the glass for a deeper sniff. The
aromas should be pleasing to the nose as you strive to detect various scents in the wine.

For example, some red wines may take on aromas such as black currant, leather & tobacco
while various white wines can exhibit scents of perfume, honeysuckle or apples. Sense of
smell is critical when wine tasting as the nose is the gateway to the tastebuds.
wines normally have a stronger, more aggressive aroma, while older wines are typically
more subdued & subtle.

SIP: After satisfying the olfactory sense, advance to tasting the wine. Take a healthy sip and
roll the wine over your tongue exposing it to your entire palate. At this time, turn your attention
to the texture, weight and body of the wine. A wine that is balanced incorporates all its main components i.e. acidity, tannins, sugar (fruit) & alcohol in a manner where no one single
element stands out. These components do not exhibit specific flavors, they marry & offer impressions in intensity and complexity, soft or firm, light or heavy, crisp or creamy, sweet
or dry.

Now you can take the time to examine how the wine actually tastes on the palate. If you are
tasting a red wine you may note flavors such as berries, plum, prune or fig or perhaps some
spice such as cloves or cinnamon. Where as white wines such as chardonnay can exhibit
flavors such as rich apple, tropical fruit, citrus and even vanilla.

Finally, once you have swallowed the wine, take notice of the finish or aftertaste. How long did
the flavor impression lasts after the wine was swallowed? Did the flavor linger? Did you enjoy
the wine? Would you like to take another sip?

PALATE CLEANSERS: Before moving onto the next wine, consider cleansing your palate to refresh
your taste buds. it is easier to appreciate all the complexities of the wine if you clear the previous tastes from your senses before attempting to move on to the next. Palate cleansers such as plain white bread, unsalted crackers or even water can cleanse the palate of exhaustion without confusing your tastebuds with new flavors.



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