Principles of Wine Tasting – How To Ideas

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If you have been drinking wine, you probably know some of the principles of wine tasting. The video below is an experiment on whether one could tell the difference between the cheap and the expensive ones; I must say it can be tricky to the untrained.



For those uninitiated, here is a preview of wine tasting.

Pardon me for the trolling scene in this video, I picked this video simply to depict the method of wine tasting.

Let’s probe further into the principles of wine tasting.

Wine tasting (often, in wine circles, simply tasting) is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. While the practice of wine tasting is as ancient as its production, a more formalized methodology has slowly become established from the 14th century onwards. [1]

There are five “s” steps to wine tasting: see, swirl, sniff, sip, and savour. One probably be asking, what is the objective of this whole exercise? The objective is for the taster to know its clarity, the varietal character, the integration aspect, the expressiveness in aromas and flavours, the complexity in multiplicity of flavours, and the connectedness of its origin of a wine from a wine tasting experience.

Firstly, SEE; check the wine’s colour by angling the glass with wine against a white background. Colours give clues about the grape variety, and whether the wine was aged in wood. Is it clear or cloudy? Does it contain sediment or other solid matter?

Next, SWIRL; do it in gentleness yet sufficiently to create a fairly vigorous wave in the liquid for the aromatic compound in the wine to be activated.

Followed by, SNIFF; tipped the rim of the glass at a 45 degree angle to meet your nose. Inhale gently for three to four seconds. The objective is to look for its varietal character which describes how much a wine presents its inherent grape aromas.

After that take a SIP; take a good amount of sip that is enough to cover every surface of the mouth, carefully narrowing the gap of the lips pursed by drawing some air to enhance the flavour of the wine in the palate, close the lip and breathe downwards through the nose to allow the taste of the wine be transmitted through the nasal passage and tongue as well. Think of its taste, what messages is the wine giving you? Do you like it or not?

Finally, SAVOUR; there are five elements to look for in wine tasting – sweetness/dryness, acidity, tannin, fruit and body. By doing so, a wine taster looks for the integration quality to see if these elements are out of balance with the other components. A well balanced wine is said to have achieved a harmonious fusion.

Another important quality of the wine to look for is its expressiveness, a character when its aromas and flavours are well-defined and clearly projected. While the complexity of wine is affected by many factors, one of which may be due to the multiplicity of its flavours. Lastly the connectedness of the wine is viewing abstractly to ascertain the bond between the wine and its land of origin.

With this background knowledge, let’s watch a video as below to have better understanding of the methods of wine tasting.

Here’s another video on the understanding of mechanism of wine tasting and how our olfactory system comes to play.

References:

1. “Wine Tasting” – Wikipedia.

2. Stuart Walton and Brian Clover, “The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Wine, Beer, Spirits and Liqueurs: The Definite Reference Guide to Alcohol-based Drinks“, (London: Anness Publishing Limited, 2006), 12 – 13.

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