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Tasting Tips

Wine has many flavors and aromas. Identifying the distinctive components of a wine can help you identify its vintage and place of origin. We have put together this comprehensive guide for exploring wine-tasting in your own home. For a description of individual flavors and aromas refer to the Aroma Chart.

Wine-tasting, like drinking wine, is best shared with others. So, invite your friends, get out the brie and crackers and choose two or three bottles each of white and red wines and get ready to taste!

  • When ready to taste, pour 2 oz. of each of the wines that you have selected for each guest.

  • After swirling the wine, ask your guests to place their noses into the glass (not the wine!) to smell the aromas that issue from the wine. Ask them to match them with flavors from the Aroma Chart. (The aroma and odor of the wine tells the examiner the richness of the fruit, and the maturity of the wine itself. The smell of the wine, often called the "nose" or "bouquet", will tell a great deal about the wines quality.)

  • Once the wines aroma or bouquet has been examined thoroughly, ask your guests to taste the wine. The different components of the wine can be tested on different parts of the tongue. Sweetness is experienced on the tip of the tongue, saltiness in the center, bitterness in the back, and acidity on either side.

  • Most professional tasters will spit out the wine, but where's the fun in that?

  • When the flavor and aroma of the wine seem to last and last on the palate this indicates that a rich wine has just been tasted. Rich wines and vintages are always characterized by the purity, depth, richness, and ripness of the fruit from which the wines are made.

Aromas and Flavors

The smell of a wine will tell a great deal about the quality of the wine. A professional taster will never understate the significance of a wine's odors, aromas and flavors. The follwoing are a short list of aromas and flavors that can be used while giving a wine-tasting seminar at home.

White Wine

Fruity: cherry, strawberry, blackberry

Herbaceous: black olive, mint, eucalyptus

Spiced: licorice/anise, clove

Oaky: honey, vanilla, wood/pine

Red Wine

Fruity: cherry, strawberry, berry jam

Herbaceous: black olive, mint, eucalyptus

Spiced: licorice/anise, clove, black pepper

Oaky: cedar, chocolate, molasses