Any tasting consists of four phases: pre-tasting, visual, olfactive and taste perception. We will look at each of them in detail.
1). Preliminary preparation. Wine tasting should be carried out in a quiet, clean and well-ventilated room. It is desirable to achieve natural light, air humidity 60-70% and temperature 19-22 ° C.
Next, wine glasses are properly selected, they should be semi-ellipsoidal (type “tulip”), with a volume of 210-225 ml. Also the following requirements are made to the glasses: thin walls, absolute transparency and the presence of a long stem. Before tasting, the glasses should be clean and dry. They are filled to one third (70-80 milliliters) and held by the stem.
If during the feast it is planned to evaluate several different wines, it is important to follow the order of tasting. The general rule is to start with light wines and move on to more intense wines, from dry to sweet, from young to old. It is recommended to follow the following sequence:
- sparkling (champagne);
- light whites and rosés;
- aged dry whites;
- young reds;
- aged dry whites;
- aged reds;
- sweet and fortified.
2). Visual Phase (“Eye”). The view from above and from the side is evaluated. First, the glass is lowered onto the table and the surface of the wine is looked at. A quality drink should be shiny and there should not be any particles on its surface.
Next, the glass on a white background is raised to eye level, held straight for a few seconds, and then tilted. This is how the transparency, the color of the drink, its shade and the presence of carbon dioxide are determined. The presence of carbon dioxide in the glass is a sign of spoilage (does not apply to champagne).
Visual tasting of white wine. The brilliance and transparency of a white young wine indicates its high acidity. Wines with a light matte hue contain less acidity. A mature drink should have a straw-golden or amber color. If you see a brown or grayish rim on the “disk,” this is evidence that the wine is dying.
Visual tasting of red wines. Drinks of this type range in color from purple to brown. Good young wine comes in dark ruby, purple, garnet or cherry colors. Mature and old wine should be brown or red.
Turbidity or brown color of young wine indicates spoilage or non-compliance with production techniques. A general rule of thumb is that the better the harvest, the more intense the color of the wine.
3). Olfactive phase (“Nose”). Wine is poured into a glass without shaking, inhaled and sniffed. It is important to catch barely perceptible volatile substances and determine their intensity. In a good wine there are no odors of sediment, sulfur or fermentation.
Next, you should swirl the glass while holding it by the stem. This will oxygenate the wine and release the aromatics contained in it. Then the nose is lowered into the glass and the aroma is inhaled. This is how the individual shades of odor of the drink are determined.
The wine is then poured out and the empty glass is sniffed to assess the residual aromatic components of the wine and its resistance to oxygen. Still studying the aroma of the empty glass (it should not be pungent) gives an idea of the alcohol content of the beverage.
4). The phase of taste perception (“Mouth”). A small amount of wine is taken into the mouth. The first sensation caused by the drink is called “attack” by experts. In a good wine, its pronounced flavor is immediately perceptible. After holding the drink in your mouth for a few seconds, open your lips slightly and let in a little air.
Now you should concentrate on your sensations. Warming up in the mouth, the wine will release aromatic substances. It is at this point that you can analyze its acidity, sweetness bitterness and consistency.
A metallic flavor indicates a lack of acidity, while too much viscosity indicates an oversaturation of tannin. All the components of the wine should be well balanced, a clear highlighting of one of them indicates a low quality drink.
The aftertaste of a wine is the continuation of its flavor and aroma after a sip. If the wine is of poor quality, the aftertaste disappears very quickly. It is this fact that deserves close attention when tasting. It is important to remember that the aftertaste does not include a pronounced feeling of strength, tannin saturation and acidity. These are clear signs of a bad wine.