Guest PostTaste: Food & DrinkWines and Spirits of Provence

Wine Tasting and Determining the Properties of Wines

Wine tasting has been around for a long time. Throughout the years, experts developed a methodology to have a more systematized process of wine tasting. You will use most of your senses to evaluate and examine wine.

Wine tasting is a joy for both amateur and professional wine tasters. Professional wine tasters make use of specialized terminology to report their findings providing an in-depth analysis of the wine. Aside from systematized wine tasting, there are also informal tastings for recreation. Although wine tasting has been around for a long time, the word “tasting” was first noted in 1519. The terminology became official in the 18th century.

Wines of Provence Rhone Valley

Essentials to Remember About Wine Tasting

Wine evaluation uses the following four categories:
1) Appearance
2) Aroma
3) Taste
4) Finish

When tasting, you will report your findings and determine the specific properties of the wine. A “tasting flight” involves tasting many wines at one time.

Tastings can be vertical or horizontal. In a vertical tasting, the samples compared have the same type of wine from the same winery but have different vintages. On the other hand, in a horizontal tasting, you compare wines from different producers but with the same vintage. You can determine the differences in the styles of the wineries by keeping the wine type and region the same on all wines.

You should also consider that for you to have a fair evaluation of a wine, you should try a blind tasting. In a blind tasting, you will taste and examine the wine without seeing its bottle shape or label. A server can also put the wine in the black glass to hide its colour. Your judgment can be affected by knowing some of the characteristics of the wine, such as price, place of origin, colour, reputation, etc. Blind tastings can avoid bias arising from colour, price, and geographic origin.

French wine Wines of France Provence

How Do You Perform Wine Tasting?

In evaluating wine, it is essential to take notes so that you don’t forget your findings. Also, remember that this skill takes time and practice to develop. You must learn how to characterize wine in terms of colour, smell, and taste. Below is an outline of the steps for beginners:
Examine the colour – you can view it from a straight angle, side view, or tilted view. You can also swirl it to observe the legs and get an idea of the wine’s alcohol content and sweetness. You can use the colour of the wine to determine its saturation and density. The colour can also give a clue on the type of grapes that make up the wine.
Examine the smell – you must learn the different fragrances indicating good and bad characteristics of the wine. The aroma can help you determine some of the wine’s components or ageing conditions. The smell can also give you an idea if the wine is spoiled.
Wine Tasting and Determining the Properties of Wines – take a sip of the wine but not too much, or you’ll end up drunk by the end of the wine tasting session. After this part of the examination, you will be able to conclude if the wine is harmonious, complex, balanced, or complete.

Red Wines of Provence

Don’t Wear White

You should also take note of the following when participating in tasting flights:

• Plan your activity
• Don’t be afraid to try new things
• Ask questions
• Spit; do not swallow all the wine
• You can give your honest opinion about any wine
• Avoid wearing aftershave or perfume
• Eat before the activity
• Avoid wearing a white shirt

Whether your purpose for wine tasting is to determine what wine you like or to learn how to evaluate wines like a professional, you must know some essential characteristics of wines. Being good at something takes time, and you must try to learn as much as you can.

Additional reading: Wines of Provence Understanding the Colours and Terminology


A guest post by Bill Marcia, who has been involved with winemaking since 2007 and loves to share knowledge with others.

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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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