Do you taste wine? A human brain can recognize over 10,000 possible scents and given that the olfactory (smell) senses are connected to our oral (taste) passage we both smell and taste our wine. We smell, fruits, spices, vegetal, flora nuts, wood, mineral, undergrowth to name but a few. We taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter and Unami, and we feel fizziness, temperature, viscosity and dryness and see we color and clarity. Ergo we savor wine.
When Wine tasters are discerning a wine they are looking at four basic concepts, which are the wine’s appearance, nose, palate, and overall impression.
Clarity: Look at your wine, is it clear or hazy? Are there floaties (OK floaties may not ooze snooty wine snobbery terms however it is highly descriptive and you get what you are suppose to be looking for)?
Intensity: Looking down into your wine glass is the color pale, medium, or deep. Tilt your wine glass and now look, (best done against a white backdrop) the outer edges may appear to have a different color. A Riesling will have a green tinge, whereas a Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer will have a pinkish hue. A Blue outer tint in red wine indicates the youth of the wine; where as an orange to yellow hue suggests the wine that has been aged.
Color: For simplicity is it White, Rose or Red? As you acquaint yourself with color you will find varying degrees of lemon, gold and amber in white wines. Rose’s can be pink, salmon to orange and reds will go from purple, ruby, garnet to tawny.
Condition: Clean – unclean, it should smell like wine if images of vinegar or a wet cardboard box come to mind this wine may be faulty.
Intensity: Light – medium – pronounced, do you have to work at smelling the wine or is it pronounced.
Aroma: From your memory bank of aromas what is it that you smell? Fruits, flowers, spices, nuts, herbaceous, vegetables, oak, and animal are scents that are commonly associated with wine.
Sweetness: is it dry with no residual sugar noted, or does it take you back to your childhood of getting a good old fashioned sugar rush. Wines will also fall in between with off dry and medium descriptions.
Acidity: low – medium – high
Body: Light – medium – full
Flavor Characteristics: Fruits, flowers, spices, nuts, herbaceous, vegetables, oak, and animal
Finish: Faulty – poor – acceptable – good – very good – outstanding
OVER ALL IMPRESSION
This is the best part; you get to decide after you have tasted a wine on whether or not you liked it.
You can analyze the wine’s strongest component, sugar, fruit, acid or tannins, where they balanced for you. Was the wine worth the price and what food would you serve it with?
So drink up, it is the only way to discover what wine excites and melts you into a puddle of blissful enjoyment.
The Fermented Sister