To taste a wine we must work not only the sense of taste, but also the sense of sight and smell. Treating a wine with tranquillity and subtlety can lead us to discover aspects we didn’t know about. That is why a wine tasting is a must for oenophiles who want to discover the wonderful world of wines. It is also an unbeatable plan to enjoy in a group with your friends.
Although mastering the art of wine tasting is the result of years of experience, the main technique and basic notions are quite easy to understand. All you need is a pen and paper and a selection of wines to taste. Here are the steps to keep in mind:
It is very important to prepare a suitable room for this activity. If possible, it should be white, like the tablecloth we are going to use, and with good lighting also in the same colour. The room must be properly ventilated to maintain a neutral smell and a suitable temperature.
Another essential preparation is to have all the necessary material ready, such as a decanter, a corkscrew, a cooler, a spittoon, a notepad to write down the perceptions and the number of glasses necessary depending on the participants and wines in the tasting.
It is also very important to know the order in which the wines should be tasted, taking into account their type and structure. The most logical order is usually to start with the sparkling and young whites and finish with the oaked reds and sweet wines. Among them are the oaked whites, rosés and young reds, in that order.
This is the first phase of the tasting itself and the simplest of the three. At first glance, the most basic colour is distinguished by differentiating between red, white and rosé wines. Once we have established this first idea, we must differentiate the tonality of the wine within the different ranges. If it is more russet or earthy, more yellow or golden or more salmon or brownish respectively. Then we must observe other aspects such as its brilliance and intensity. The composition of these four aspects will make each wine have different and unique parameters.
On this occasion we must differentiate two parts, the first one with the glass still and the second one. During this phase we can perceive three groups of aromas. The varietal aromas come from the fruit itself, the fermentation aromas are those generated by the metabolism of yeasts and bacteria, especially in red wines, and finally the tertiary aromas that develop during the ageing process in barrels. Thus, we can differentiate between fruity, floral, chemical, vegetal, balsamic and spicy aromas.
The last phase is closely related to the previous olfactory phase. In the taste of the wines we must differentiate between sweetness, bitterness or acidity but also the type of structure that each wine has in the mouth. In this process we must always put the same amount of wine and keep it in our mouth for several seconds.
Once the tasting of each wine is finished, it is important to clean the glass so as not to alter the properties of the next wine. There are several ways to do this, the most usual being to rinse the glass with the previous wine, hence the strategy of the order in which the different wines are tasted. If we have more time, we can also wash it with warm water and an odourless soap that does not affect the connotations that we perceive in each modality. Finally, if there are enough glasses, a different one can be used for each tasting, thus ensuring that there is no interference with our senses.
Bearing these aspects in mind, you will be able to enjoy an excellent tasting. Put your knowledge to the test and enjoy a good wine tasting.