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Wine Tasting

29 April 2012

According to expert wine taster there are five basic steps in tasting wine: color, swirl, smell, taste, and savor. These are also known as the "five S" steps: see, swirl, sniff, sip, savor. During this process, the taster must look for "clarity, varietal character, integration, expressiveness, complexity, and connectedness".

A wine's color is better judged by putting it against a white background. The wine glass is put at an angle in order to see the colors. Colors can give the taster clues to the grape variety, and how the wine was aged i.e. in wood, etc.

The results of the four recognized stages to wine tasting:

  • appearance
  • "in glass" the aroma of the wine
  • "in mouth" sensations
  • "finish" (aftertaste)

– are combined in order to establish the following properties of a wine:

  • complexity and character
  • potential (suitability for aging or drinking)
  • possible faults

A wine's overall quality assessment follows further careful description and comparison with recognized standards, both with respect to other wines in its price range and according to known factors pertaining to the region or vintage; if it is typical of the region or diverges in style; if it uses certain wine-making techniques, such as barrel fermentation or malolactic fermentation, or any other remarkable or unusual characteristics.

Whereas wines are regularly tasted in isolation, a wine's quality assessment is more objective when performed alongside several other wines, in what are known as tasting "flights". Wines may be deliberately selected for their vintage ("horizontal" tasting) or proceed from a single winery ("vertical" tasting), to better compare vineyard and vintages, respectively. Alternatively, in order to promote an unbiased analysis, bottles and even glasses may be disguised in a "blind" tasting, to rule out any prejudicial awareness of either vintage or winery.

The temperature that the wine is served it can make a huge difference to the taste, smell and even colour of the wine. Generally white wines are served cold and red wines are served at room temperature but this can vary according to personal preference. Traditionally the wines served the coldest are the sweet light bodied desert wines, and the wines served the warmest are the full bodied red wines.

To gain an impartial judgment of wine it is traditionally served "blind" which means without the taster having seen the bottle shape, label or colour. Sometimes the wine is served in a black wine glass to disguise the colour.

Well Wicked have a massive selection of wine tasting days in various locations available. Please see our wine tasting section for more information.

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