Wine tasting is gaining pretty famous lately as many people are getting into it, some just out of curiosity and others out of the love of the taste of wine.
If you also want to venture into wine tasting for any of the reasons, you better get yourself acquainted with the following principles.
Five Pillars of Wine Tasting
Perhaps the very first thing that you can notice about a wine is the amount of natural sugar it has, which ranges from a crisp, bone-dry Chablis to a highly luscious and rich Liqueur Muscat.
Different types of acids are a part and parcel of wine, with tartaric acid being the most common and important of all, which comes from unfermented grape juice. You can sense the acidity or sharpness of a wine at the side of your tongue, which is very vital in determining the taste and quality of wine.
Tannin in wine is a courtesy coming from the pips and stalks of the grapes used in it, found richly in grape skins in particular. In fact, it is from the skins of the grapes that red wine gets its color, as the flesh in red and white grapes is the same. The tannin of wine is what gives a puckering sensation, the dry and furry feel, which makes drinking young red wines so hard. However, it fades out gradually with the passage of time as the wine matures.
Oaky flavors can be induced into wine by the winemakers by fermenting their wine in oak barrels. Or, this can also be done simply by aging the wine for a short period of time before bottling it. This kind of wood contact imparts a specialized flavor to the wine, introducing a nutmeg or vanilla cinnamon flavor, which whites appreciate in particular. In case of a light charred barrel used with red wine, a creamy smoothness will be oozing out of it, whereas a smokiness of burnt toast will prevail with a heavily charred barrel.
Detecting various fruit flavors is also a vital part of wine tasting, a skill that nurtures with practice and time. If you continue as a wine taster for a while, soon you will be able to differentiate among raspberries, elderflower, lychees and so on. Development of this skill has a lot to do with how passionate you are about the wine and the job of tasting, in addition to your memory and experience. The pinch of fruit flavors is surely among one of the most desirable attributes possessed by a wine.
How to Proceed
With an introduction to the basics of wine tasting, you need to have a spittoon and a tasting card by your side. The tasting card would help you jot down your observation and notes about each wine you taste, a spittoon will be needed to spit it out after you are done with tasting. Having a clean new spittoon is even better, because it would also help you observe the color of the wine after you spit it out.
In addition to a spittoon and a tasting card, you also need to have an appropriate wine glass, depending upon the type of wine you are willing to taste.
With everything readily available, it’s about time to get to the real job. Begin the tasting process by pouring yourself 2 ounces of the wine at hand and take a skeptical sip out of it.
Make sure you are grasping the wine glass from its stem instead of the bowl, because you would want to observe the color of the wine as you taste it. Holding the glass from the bowl will also leave it with smudges, making it difficult to observe the true color and character of the wine. Also, don’t forget to swirl the wine followed by dipping down your nose into the wine glass to get as much aroma as possible.
So, this is how you get totally ready for tasting the wine. And to truly get the taste of the latter, splashing it all across your mouth is also critically important, letting all your taste buds soak into the goodness of what you have to offer them in a glass of wine.
Some wines offer a combination of two different types of tastes and as a wine taster, it would be a part of your job to be able to successfully differentiate between them. Once you feel you have thoroughly tasted the wine, spit the residual out in the spittoon to get to the next tasting assignment and this is how you will have to go on if you are appeased with introducing your taste buds to a variety of tastes and aromas.