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Old 07-29-2012, 12:06 PM   #1
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Science of Wine Tasting 1

Buonasera,

The science of wine tasting is a personal skill involving all the senses. Wine should be seen as a living being that expresses itself in a language full of nuances and varying values.

To discover the secrets of a wine and reveal its soul. It should be treated with affection. As you might treat an old friend. First note its appearance. Then inhale the bouquet ( aromas ) and finally taste it. Each step begets a multitude of minute impressions.

When finally poured into the glass, after months or even years or decades of a slow ageing process, it reveals everything, both its virtues and its imperfections. Before it reaches the mouth, the senses of sight and smell can discover thousands of revealing traits. When tasted, these sensations multiply. Landscapes, moments, colours, and memories come to mind with each sip.

THE WINE´s APPEARANCE ...

Wine tasting is similar to the test carried out on a car by a skilled driver. In both cases, it is a matter of extracting by analysis detailed information on the qualities of a consumer product before it becomes available for the user.

In wine, the colour, the density and luminosity all make up a visual message. This can be compared to the bodywork of a car. Then, the application of the sense of smell can be compared to listening to the sound of an engine and finally, the crunch comes in the driving, that is when we actually taste the wine.

The sense of sight does not become tired as do the senses of smell and taste. However, it only gives us provisional messages on the quality or state of the wine, information on maturity, age, alcohol content, acidity, etcetra. These are graphic notes that we have to take into account during the smelling and tasting phases of the tasting session.

From a wine´s appearance alone, judgements should never be made about a wine. Take for example, the typical bubbling of sparkling wines which though spectacular, has little to do with the taste ...

Moreover, there is no perfect colour for wine. Certain tones or shades may be preferred by winemakers however, this is part of the creativity and should not be taken as a measure of quality, unless of course there are signs of oxidisation or there is a lack of clarity, transparence, brilliance or vivacity.

In the language of professional tasting, we call the surface of the wine within the glass the DISK AND THE CIRCUMFERENCE IS CALLED A RIM and the traces of glycerine left on the walls of the glass when wine is rotated are called TEARS.

Ageing lightens the color of red wines and darkens that of white wines. Young red wines can be recognised by their ripe ruby, pomegranate, cherry or dark red color with a violet or pomegrante, ruby or rasberry rim.

With age, red wines enter a range of colors between ruby and cherry sometimes with orangey or slightly golden rims. Then, as the ageing process lengthens, they take on a ruby to burnt sienna or brick red color and Gran Reservas, a brownish tone.

Rosé wines start to lose their natural freshness when the strawberry or watermelon pink with bluish tomes changes to salmon or copper and onion skin hues.

White wines range from straw blonde wheat, to green straw to lemon yellow to golden, pale golden, amber and old gold, and the darkest, Mahogany.

The colors are generally vivid and bright for example in Galician and Portuguese Albariñlo grape wines and more classic straw blonde wheat color in tone in the Catalan White Wines ...



To be continued: THE SENSE OF SMELL AND AROMAS - PART 2
Have a lovely summer,
Ciao, Margaux Cintrano.

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Old 07-29-2012, 12:28 PM   #2
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This is a good description. I'm occasionally called upon to judge wine at fairs and competitions during the summer months. When I first began tasting wine many years ago, the process was explained to me as a series of events, all beginning with the letter "S".

  • See
  • Swirl
  • Smell
  • Sip
  • Swish
  • Savor
  • Swallow (or Spit, if you are tasting many wines )
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:35 PM   #3
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i, for one, would like to see someone prove they can sense "thousands" of things in a glass wine.

lol, lets be realistic. a few nice things is good enough for me as the alcohol kicks in and gives you an artificially inflated sense of self esteem.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:19 PM   #4
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Steve,

As always, it is a pleasure to have you post on my threads, and provide your knowledge.

How True are the "S" words: See or sight, Swirl the glass, Smell the aromas and identify, Sip slowly, Swish of course, Saveur, Swallow or Spit in Bucket if wine tasting professionally ...

Have a lovely summer Steve,
Kindest Regards. Ciao.
Margi.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:25 PM   #5
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Steve and BT,

The alphabet of smell is infinite and cannot be learnt by heart. It can only be felt, lived and developed.

If with the 26 letters of the English alphabet we can achieve a flow of communications, full of expressions and nuances, with the alphabet our sense of smell enlargen our horizons. We build a language of great richness with a comprehension of syntax as the sense of smell offers us, generous yet humble figures of speech and the beauty of wine that could never be observed in verbal wording.

From a certified Wine Sommelier and Published Writer,
Thanks for your post.

Have a lovely summer.
Margaux Cintrano.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:43 PM   #6
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yes, steve is right, there's 7.

actually 8.

you forgot self esteem, lol.o

992 to go.
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Old 07-29-2012, 02:43 PM   #7
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I was taught that the last thing you do before swallowing or spitting is to have a bit of the wine on your tongue and then breathe in through your mouth to smell it. It looks kind of dorky doing that in a restaurant.
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Old 07-29-2012, 02:51 PM   #8
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i've found that your nose is just important as your tongue when tasting wine.

visuals are lost on me. it's a liquid with a colour. that's it. bubbles and legs are nice, but those factors are miniscule compared to taste/smell.

i like to slurp, or rather sloorp a little wine when tasting the first glass to incorporate air on the sip. it seems to fill out the flavour.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:13 PM   #9
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Like you say, taste and smell are the most important characteristics, and wine scoring sheets reflect this by awarding the greatest number of points in those areas. By comparison, appearance is only a small part of the picture.

Appearance can tell you a few things about the wine, though. Like Margi said, it can point to the age of a wine or its level of oxidation. It can also point to wine faults, such as renewed fermentation in the bottle or the presence of sediment. In some cases the particular hue or intensity can even help identify the type of grape used (in competitive tastings you are sometimes asked to do this).

As far as tasting thousands of different flavors, the human senses have a difficult time sorting out anywhere near that many. There may be hundreds of chemical compounds in a single glass of wine, but most of us will only detect a few familiar things.

And yes, slurping to incorporate some air is good. When you taste wine - or anything, for that matter - you taste it more with your sense of smell. Your tongue, on the other hand, can only pick up the most basic attributes: sweet, sour, salty, etc.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:18 PM   #10
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What would actually be impressive with wine tasting, would be blind tasting and identifying the wine. Now that would convince me someone is a wine expert.

As for the current way things are, IMO, its one of those baffle them with bs situations.
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