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Tasting the Wine
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A SHORT GUIDE TO WINE TASTING

Tasting the Wine

Surroundings
Tasting should take place in a closed well aired environment with indirect light and a temperature of around 18/20 °C

Glass shape
Tasting should be carried out with a standardized (ISO) tulip shaped glass which is internationally recognized. 

Tasting order
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. 

Conditions

  • 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

Appearance
Observe the clarity and the color for indications of the age, depth and body of the wine. 
Smell
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. 
Palate
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

Colour
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. 

Red 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: 

  • full 
  • noble 
  • pronounced 
  • delicate 
  • soft 
  • faint 
  • elusive 

The aromas of wines are usually compared to aromas in nature: 
Flowers
In white wines, springtime wild flowers, and in reds the perfumes of the more strongly colored flowers (rose, violet etc.) 
Fruit
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. 
Sweet flavoring 
Vanilla, aniseed 
Herbs and leaves 
Fresh mint, pine, tobacco 
Toasted 
Toast, coffee, cocoa, tea 
Spices and herbs 
Pepper laurel, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, thyme, basil, juniper 
Truffles
Truffles 
Food and drink 
Beer butter cider honey cognac 
Other aromas 
Leather amber animal 

Taste sensation
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.

The finish
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.

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