The basics of wine tasting

Learning about wine tastings is an fun thing when you have never actually experienced the process. With wine tasting tours increasing in popularity, it is not uncommon for people to look for information so that they know what to expect from start to finish. There is a particular etiquette to these tastings, and not knowing this is going to leave you feeling rather awkward when the time comes for your first tasting.

The first part of the whole process usually involves a tour of the winery and grounds. This is because the owners tend to show the visitors the whole process that involves making wine. After you have completed the tour, most wine tastings will start in a separate room. Larger tastings that have a large group of people might have a room that is filled with tables and resembles a restaurant. Smaller tastings can be done in smaller areas and usually have a simple set up, like tall tables that you stand at.

There are three main things that you will be examining in your tasting session. Wine tastings are specifically designed to give you ample time to thoroughly check out the different wines that are served. You will be checking out the colour, smell and flavour of the wines in the tasting session. The smell and taste are directly related to each other because your smell affects how you taste things, so these two aspects take the most time.

Step 1: Visual examination

The wine is poured into the wine glasses. You hold the glass up against a solid white background if possible and examine the colour of the wine. White wines and red wines will have different criteria that you will be looking for. Good white wines are usually coloured light yellow to an amber colour. Age and sweetness determine how dark the colour will be. Red wines, on the other hand, can be easily pinpointed based on its colour. Younger wines appear in a bright red, but as it gets older, it will turn into a deeper red.

Step 2: The first smell

As stated before, the smell of the wine will help determine how it tastes to you. The distinguishing smell as well as the undertones that you pick up influence the taste that you experience. It is often a good practice to first swirl the wine around in the glass gently to help release and blend the scents and flavours.

Step 3: The second smell

Tasting the wine can be a great experience. You start by taking small sips of the wine and allowing your taste buds to take in the various aspects of each particular wine. An important tip here is to pay close attention to how much of the wine that you swallow, as it can be quite easy to become intoxicated and not realize it. Many wineries will provide bowls or separate cups that you can spit the wine into when you are finished.

Most wine tastings will give you access to a fresh supply of water. The idea is that you are supposed to use the water in between the different types of wine that you are tasting. This helps to refresh your taste buds so that you can distinguish the different flavours of each wine.

The basics of wine tasting

Describing a wine is not an obvious thing, it’s a bit like asking to describe the aroma of chocolate to someone who has never tasted. For this, you will try to transcribe the flavours or textures akin to it.

wineA tasting is personal because it is enough to call your own experience. Schematically it’s not because your neighbours table says the wine has a cherry flavour that you will agree with him.
Knowing the fundamentals of a tasting is must, above all, let you know the express reasons why you like a wine or not. With regular practice you arouse senses and vocabulary to help you excel in this exercise. But before we get to that, here are the basics to properly lead a good tasting. important vocabulary words are highlighted throughout this chapter.

• Meet the right conditions
• Step 1: Visual examination
• Step 2: The first nose
• Step 3: The second nose
• Step 4: The taste test

Above all: Bringing good conditions
It sounds silly to say this, but a tasting appeals to your senses and we are not all equal in this. Some people have sensory predisposition or have experienced sensory experiences in the past (eg a perfumer) that will influence their thoughts differently from yours.
To properly assess a wine you will need your eyes, your tongue and your nose. In other words if you have a cold you can already store your bottle. It is for these same reasons that you should not have eaten strong foods taste (garlic) or drank coffee before tasting. The ideal time is before a meal because it is at that moment that your senses are more alert.

Settle in a lighted area, without any smell and reasonable temperature.
Regarding wine glasses, choose those tulip-shaped, they have the distinction of offering the wine a good surface contact with the air will develop the flavours and imprison with its upper part smaller.
When your glasses are stored in a closet or in a carton, the residual odors can be impregnated. In this case, avinez (pour some wine and rinse) your glasses and your jug.
Fill your glass to its most flared part to promote maximum contact with the air.
And always hold your glass by his foot to prevent your hand warms the content.
Now that all the conditions are met enter the heart of the subject.

Step 1: Visual examination

Tilt the glass over a white surface and observe at first its clarity . The presence of particles will indicate the degree of filtration that the winemaker has had. Clarity: clear or cloudy
Then watch the liquid on the edge of the glass. A shiny reveal a certain acidity that will bring liveliness on the palate.

Proceed to the examination of the dress (the colour) and its intensity . It may be: light, medium, intense. You should know that the dress . Changes over time for the reds, the dress of a young wine will be more purple as that of an aged wine will tone brick. Dress red wines: purple, ruby, garnet, brown. For white wine, a young wine has green reflections to become amber for older. Dress white wines: lemon, gold, amber, brown. For roses, a purple rose is a sign of youth while it turns on orange tones he is older.

The colour of the wine and allow you to give you a rough idea of the age of the wine but careful not to make it a rule because there are many exceptions depending on the grape varieties used, regions and winemaking methods.

Now tilt the glass and observe how the liquid descends along the walls to determine its viscosity. A wine with a good degree of alcohol and / or good sugar content slide to form drops that are called tears . Expect then to a certain roundness in the mouth. Otherwise, the wine will be rather quick.

If you enjoy a sparkling wine, observe the size and abundance of bubbles tend to reveal the finesse and smoothness of the wine.

Step 2: The first nose

Go ahead, do not be afraid, dip your nose into the glass and inhale.
At this point determine what is your first impression. Is it free or “questionable”? If you ever get to determine certain flavors we say that the wine is opened or otherwise we say it is closed .
Do not necessarily try to immediately identify specific flavors but let it present itself to you in time.

Step 3: The second nose

Rotate the wine in your glass in order to put it in contact with air and release the aromas it contains. If you see a much higher intensity it can be aromatic we will consider decanting . Otherwise, please do not use a carafe; the wine is mature and too the oxygenate would only deteriorate. Continue sensory analysis, if you had already identified a family of aromas in the first nose, trying to determine specifically aromas.

The 5 Step Process to Wine Making

Wine making involves five main steps. Of course, one can find small intermediate steps at any stage of the process which make each wine unique and contribute, ultimately, to the size or the particular quality of all wines.

The steps to realise the different types of wines, are essentially the same with some exceptions.


To make good wine, the grapes must be harvested, preferably when they are physiologically mature. A combination of science and tasting is often used to determine the ideal time for the harvest, making often involves people outside the operation such as consultants.
Harvesting can be done mechanically or by hand. However, many prefer operating hand picked, since the mechanical harvesters can often be too harsh on the grapes and the vineyard, and damage the grapes.
Once the grapes arrive in the wine cellar, wine producers sort the grapes, to remove the rotten fruit, or that are not mature enough, before grinding.



Today, the use of mechanical mills replaced the traditional stomping of the grapes. Using mechanical presses, a huge health gain is taken in the manufacture of wine, while improving the quality and longevity of wine, and reducing the need for preservatives.
However, it should be noted that grinding does not necessarily follow the harvest. Sometimes winemakers choose to wear to the fermentation of grapes uncrushed whole grapes, so to enjoy the natural weight of the grapes and tear the skins of uncrushed grapes before pressing.
Until grinding and pressure, the steps to the white wine and red wine are essentially the same. However, if a grower must make white wine, it will press quickly, just after grinding to separate the skins juice.



Naturally, the juice begins to ferment naturally within 6 to 12 hours after its extraction, driven wild yeasts in the air, this natural fermentation is popular. However, for various reasons, many winemakers prefer to intervene at this stage by killing wild and sometimes unpredictable natural yeasts, by injecting a yeast of personal choice, to provide more easily.
Regardless of the path chosen, once fermentation begins, it usually continues until all the sugar is converted into alcohol and a dry wine is produced. Fermentation may require ten days to a month or more.
There are two types of fermentation: alcoholic fermentation and the malolactic fermentation.



The purpose of clarification is to remove all waste and residues of wine before bottling. Winemakers can choose between technical filtering or bonding. While the first method is to use a filter that will keep debris, the second method is to introduce into the wine substances that will adhere to the unwanted solids and force them to settle in the bottom of the tank.



After clarification, the winemaker has the choice of a wine bottle immediately, or give it an extra ageing. Ageing can be done in the bottle, in stainless steel tanks or ceramics, or in wooden barrels.
The choices and technical options in this final stage of the process are almost endless, as are the final results.