Tasting should take place in a closed well aired environment with indirect light and a temperature of around 18/20 °C
Tasting should be carried out with a standardized (ISO) tulip shaped glass which is internationally recognized.
It is customary to taste white wines first, followed by rosés and then reds. In detail, the correct sequence is:
- Light and sparkling white wines
- Dry and full-bodied white wines
- Young, red wines
- Fortified white wines
- Heavy red wines
Taste in order of age, from the youngest to the oldest.
- Wine temperature should be from 14/18 °C
- No smoking in the tasting room
- Avoid neon light
- Avoid any noise that will distract tasters
- Fill the glass up to around one third
- Clean the palate with a piece of bread
STAGES IN TASTING
Observe the clarity and the color for indications of the age, depth and body of the wine.
Analysis of the smell. This should be given time and thought before tasting. Perception of the aroma is enhanced by swirling the wine around the glass.
Take a small mouthful of wine and hold it in the mouth to fully appreciate the flavor and (via the nasal passages) the aroma.
The wine is gently moved around the mouth to allow contact with all the taste buds. At this stage there is a primary sensation of 'attack' followed by a continuous change and development of the flavor.
Finally there is the 'finish' (or length) when the wine has left the mouth
TASTING THE WINE
The first thing to look at: the range of colors is almost infinite. White wines:
- Greenish white, in very young wines
- Straw colored in mature wines
- Golden with a varying degree of amber in aged and particularly in sweet wines.
- Purple red with hints of violet, in new wine
- Cherry red in a young wine that is ready for drinking
- Brick red, with a varying degree of orange, in a moderately aged wine
- Red with varying degree of brown in very old wines.
Clarity and depth
To observe clarity hold up the glass in front of a light source and check the liquid for impurities.
To see the depth, hold the glass at an angle above a white surface.
Smelling the wine
The aromas of a wine are in general fairly complex mixtures, difficult to pinpoint and demanding great concentration.
They are given off in relation to how volatile they are, so tasting temperature is of great importance.
The aroma is analyzed twice: firstly with the glass held still, then after swirling the wine around. The smell is released gradually allowing a true impression of the quality of the wine
There is a descending scale of aroma:
The aromas of wines are usually compared to aromas in nature:
In white wines, springtime wild flowers, and in reds the perfumes of the more strongly colored flowers (rose, violet etc.)
Apricot, banana, apple, lemon and pineapple in white wines; strawberry, raspberry, peach and cherry in red wines
Dried fruit and nuts
Usually the smell of dried fruit appears with age. Toasted almonds in whites, dried figs in reds.
Herbs and leaves
Fresh mint, pine, tobacco
Toast, coffee, cocoa, tea
Spices and herbs
Pepper laurel, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, thyme, basil, juniper
Food and drink
Beer butter cider honey cognac
Leather amber animal
Take a small sip for a last analysis in the mouth before swallowing. The wine warms up in the mouth revealing new facets, with bitter acid, sweet and salt flavors detected in different areas of the mouth.
These sensations allow the taster to evaluate the substance and structure of the wine.
The taste of a wine is a balance:
- of acidity, fruit and tannin in a red
- of acidity and fruit in a white.
After tasting a wine, the final observation is of how long its aroma and flavor last.
The longer is the finish, the better the wine.