Wine Tastings - Enjoyable Self Improvement - A Life Long Hobby 

"Reading the labels on a wine bottle is worth 25 years of tasting experience."     - an old winemaking saying

Learning to taste wine. It is hard to think of a more enjoyable hobby or  self-improvement than an organised wine tasting. Investing some thought, paying attention and following a procedure rewards you with new insights and appreciation for one of life’s great pleasures.                                                                        

You already have the experience and preferences for a wide range of smells and tastes.The trick now is to apply this knowledge to wine. As you become interested in wine be aware of and try remember the aromas and flavours of fruits, nuts, vegatables, and spices to build up a mental memory foundation to apply to wine you experience.

Finding the Wines You Like – Try Different Wines – Pay Attention

Grape Varietals are the Organising Tool .In our grape variety section we feature the most often encountered red and white grapes that represent all the best fruit qualities and styles of wine. Try them from different countries and regions, using tasting notes to add focus to the experience.

Wine Tasting Basics – Dress for the occasion  and don't try to show off. When going to a wine tasting it is advisable not to wear a strong after-shave or perfume. The wine tasting glassis important. Wineries or wine shops usually provide ISO standard glasses, having a perfect, clear bowl that allows the true colour to come through, long stems to prevent hand warming and tapered tops to concentrate the aromas. After each wine rinse the glass and dry or use a new one. Also often take sips of water to rinse your palate.

Wine Tastings Notes – Useful at a Wine Tasting and throughout the year.




 In one year you will taste hundreds of wines. You might remember the very best, but it is impossible to remember details of the others unless you make notes.  Making wine tasting notes at meals and at tastings makes it easy to keep informative, organised notes that guide you to understanding the wine you like.  

Assessing Wine – Technique, observation and experience combine with the senses.

The following is the accepted procedure for your analysis

Appearance – Fill your glass one third full, pick up by the stem, look at the colour-hue, depth-intensity, and clarity-limpidity. Judge hue (true colour) by tilting glass then look through rim, intensity by looking straight down through wine and clarity by looking sideways with light shining through. Wine colour gives clues as to the wine’s grape variety and the climate in which it was grown. Next, swirl the wine, tears or legs appear irregularly on the side, the more prominent, the higher the alcohol content.

Aroma -Smell – Sensitive and revealing, the aromas connect the wine to memories that provide the associations. Swirl the wine to intensify. Put your nose into the glass and inhale deeply. Your description should focus on freshness, intensity, persistence and associations. Herbal, fruity, floral, vegetal, spicy, earthy, animal and human traits are the associations often used.

Taste – While the aromas are fresh, take a sip but don’t swallow. Roll it around in your mouth for 10 to 15 seconds. Focus on the balance of acid, alcohol, fruit, tannins and sweetness. Also, taste for body – fullness on palate – and weight in combination with alcohol and tannin. For white wines give special consideration to the sweetness. As in the aroma, consider intensity, persistence and harmony. Look for fruit, herbal, spice and other associations. Is flavour consistent with aroma? Is there a finish – an aftertaste? Good wines and all superior wines will linger. Younger wines have mainly fruit flavours, while aged, more expensive wines have a notable finish, lingering to reveal complex flavours like leather, tea, tobacco, chocolate. Impressions –

Wine Qualities to Assess – and Comment.

Varietal character – how typical is the wine to its grape’s aroma and flavours?

Balance-Integration – are flavours, alcohol, acidity and tannins in harmony?

Expressiveness – are qualities clearly projected and defined?

Complexity – with further sips or smells does wine reveal more? Body – mouth feel of weight and texture. A description of wine, but not of quality – full, medium or light bodied wine can all be excellent.

Wine Faults:

Astringent, Hard, Bitter – too tannic. These wines can be softened by ageing. Cooked – stewed, prune like flavour, thin, unfresh. Corked – musty, moldy. Flabby – not enough acid or wine is served too warm. Green – unripe – Lean or Hollow not fruity enough. Hot – too much alcohol – Oxidation  rust coloured reds, dark gold whites – burnt taste resembles old sherry or Madeira. Tart – too acidic, tastes sharp and raw. Sediments – are not a defect, but indicates the wine should be decanted. .


 Click on the picture to go to Wine Styles.

Visiting French Vineyards Tips  - Be Observant.   Walk the Vineyard besides visiting the tasting room. Look at the rows of vines, pick up some soil and examine it. If there is the opportunity see what methods are used for crushing grapes, fermenting the juices, and aging the wine.  Is oak storeage used - if so for how long? .  If the staff are obliging, you might ask about the length of time juice is left in contact with skins, aging times and why.  What qualities are intended for the finished wines. 

Make the most your visit go - for

Wine Tasting Notebooks  for FantasticTasting Note Forms  Plus How to Taste Wine and General Wine Information.  Maximizes your wine visit experiences and  make better value wine purchases You also get our  Wine Cellar Book- that enables you to drink the wine you bring home in its prime. All for only - ~£0.95 - Euro 1.20 or $1.50. In print these books cost over £20.00 you get pdf files suitable for use in looseleaf notebooks.