I truly believe that it is not necessary to always taste a wine and analyze it. In fact, I will argue that the majority of the time wine should not be analyzed, rather just enjoyed. It is an entryway into a conversation, or a doorway to a memory.
If you saw my previous video or post on “Why we hate tasting notes,” it explains exactly how I feel it adds to the pretentiousness of wine. When a person sips wine and starts describing its aromas, flavors and finish, it can very easily become intimidating to others.
It is an interesting concept. People have faith in themselves, but when it comes to sharing what they are tasting in their wine, for some reason, they become timid and doubt every aroma and flavor. More often than not, they will say, “I think I get….” as opposed to “I get…”
With that being said, there will always be a place on this earth for breaking down the wine into its tasting components. It doesn’t have to be tedious though. It can be a very simple procedure and if you aren’t concerned about breaking it down into its nano-components, it will alleviate the anxiety.
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First, let’s look at the wine. Wine is either a Rosé, White or Red. We can throw in Orange also, but that technically falls into the white wine category. Each category can be broken into three colors:
Rosé wine; pink – salmon – orange
White wine: lemon/green – lemon or gold
Red wine; purple – ruby – garnet
If we move onto the aromatics and flavors, similarly, both wine categories can be broken into four fruit groupings, with the Rosé now falling into it’s red wine category:
White wine; citrus fruit – green fruit – stone fruit – tropical fruit
Red wine; red fruit – black fruit – blue fruit
You can also smell and taste flowers within wine. The most common floral scents found in wine are roses, geranium, citrus blossom, white flowers, lavender and violet. I’m confident everyone has smelled these flowers at some point in their lives. If not, it’s time to run to your local garden center and take a whiff!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with stopping your wine descriptors at this point. You have successfully described the wine. But if you feel you want to dive deeper, it still isn’t difficult. Just break them down into opposing qualities.
Sweetness; dry or sweet. Some people feel a wine is sweet even when it is dry. Remember, this is determined by how much sugar the yeast ate before dying off. Fruit can be sweet, tricking your palate. The trick to this is if you squeeze your nose when you taste the wine and it still.
Acid; low or high. Acid can be determined on the sides of your tongue. Does the wine make you salivate? Then it is high.
Tannins; low or high. Tannins are sensed on your gums. Take a sip of the wine and swish it around your mouth. If your gums feel like they have a bit of sandpaper on them, it is low. Really rough sensation then call it high in tannins.
Body: light or full. Think about a glass of milk. If the wine reminds you of the consistency of fat free milk then call it light bodied. If it feels like full calorie milk, then it is a full bodied wine.
Finish; short or long. As with all the sensations involved in wine tasting, this is very subjective. What is short to someone maybe long to another. Typically, if you swallow the wine and the flavors leave along with the liquid, it is short. If you can still taste the wine on your tongue for a bit after swallowing, call it long.
And that is all there is to it. Yes, the more you get into wine, the deeper dive you can take into the tasting notes. There are secondary flavors which come from the fermenting process and tertiary flavors that come from the aging process, but there is no need to go down that rabbit hole. In the end, just enjoy the wine.
I hope this article puts your mind at ease when it comes to tasting wine. Don’t let anyone intimidate you. YOU ARE ALWAYS RIGHT WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT YOU TASTE! Simply put, just enjoy the wine in your glass.
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