How to taste a wine?

According to the type of wine, according to its origin, according to its year of manufacture, or the duration of its aging, the wine can present different characters.

To learn to appreciate the subtleties of a wine , here are the steps to follow.

wine tasting

Visual examination of wine

The first step in tasting a wine is to observe it .

A first glance at a glass of wine will already provide some information, in particular its color and its intensity.

The color of a wine can be intense, medium or pale. When wines are aged, they can have brick tones, while young wines are more purplish.

As for white wine , it can be lemon, golden, amber or brown in color . Young wines display a color with green highlights and older wines become amber or even brown. As for the rosés , we start with a purplish pink color for the young wines. We then end up with an orange tone for aged wines.

By tilting a glass of wine, we can observe its clarity (clear or cloudy). The particles present will give information on the degree of filtration of the wine.

Thereafter, it will be necessary to look at the edge of the glass. If we notice that the liquid present on this part is shiny, this will reveal valuable information on the vivacity in the mouth of the wine. To judge the viscosity of the wine and know its alcohol content, you gently swirl your glass.

wine tasting

The olfactory examination of wine

With the nose, we can reveal the different aromas of the wine. Wine should be enjoyed in a wine glass. The particular shape of the glass makes it possible to better distinguish its aroma. The olfactory examination takes place in two stages.

First, there is what is called the "first nose" . By sniffing the wine without moving the glass, trends or volatile aromas (spice, flower, fruit, etc.) can be perceived.

Then there is the "second nose" . By swirling the glass, the wine is aerated. Normally, the aromas should be much more present. Indeed the aeration of the wine allows to wake it up. To detect all the aromas, it is best to place your nose in the glass.

It is interesting to know that there are in all three families of aromas that can characterize a wine . These different aromas do not come from the winegrowers, they do not add secret ingredients to obtain this or that aroma.

In the first place, we have the primary aromas , which we obtain thanks to the grape variety. For example, the Gewurztraminer variety, in general, expresses aromas of lychee and rose.

Thereafter, we have the secondary aromas . These come from fermentation. Finally, there are the tertiary aromas. These come from the aging of the wine (in barrels, in oak, etc.). They are characterized, for example, by the aroma of vanilla or the toasted side found in a wine.

By continuing the olfactory analysis and after finding the aroma family of the wine, we can try to find the aromas more precisely.

The most common aromas that can be found in wine can be categorized into six groups . We have fruity aromas, floral aromas, vegetable aromas, spicy aromas, woody aromas and other aromas.

Depending on the wine, you can clearly feel aromas of rose, mint, clove or caramel, for example.

The taste test

The taste examination can be the most decisive in the analysis of a wine . Each part of the tongue can give precise sensations . The tip of the tongue will provide sweetness information, while the right side will provide sourness information. The back of the tongue will tell us about the bitterness of the wine, while the left side will give information about the saltiness.

In addition, it is important to specify that the tannins are rather detected at the level of the gums. To properly examine a wine, you will have to take a small sip and keep it in your mouth, awakening all your taste senses.

In order to sublimate the perceptions , it will be necessary to use the technique of retro-olfaction. This technique involves taking three or four puffs of air through your nose while trying to hold the sip in your mouth. As the sensitivity of each person can be different, it will be necessary to turn the wine well in the mouth. The olfactory examination of the wine makes it possible to better apprehend the persistence of the wine, its flavors and its aftertaste.

During this stage, we must be attentive to three criteria : power, flavors in the mouth and persistence. On the attack, note the power of the wine (supple or frank). In the middle of the mouth all the flavors unfold. For white wines, we will observe the acidity and for red wines, the tannins. We will dwell on the flavors towards which the wine evolves and on the duration of its persistence in the mouth. As a general rule, the longer the wine lingers in the mouth, the higher its quality. A quality wine will last 8 to 10 caudalies (seconds) in the mouth, it can go up to 20 for prestige wines.

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The important points to note in the tasting of a wine are: its length, its complexity and its expression. Quality wines have their own identity.

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