Wine Tasting Technique in 5 easy steps

Now its time to discover how the professionals taste. Pour yourself a glass of wine and learn how to analyze wine like a pro. We suggest the Voyage de Lanessan, because it is delicious.

The 5S Wine Tasting Approach

The Top Down approach. It starts with the eyes and sight.

Wine infographics - How to taste a wine

How to taste a wine? The 5S wine infographics


EyeSight

The color of a wine can give you a lot of information, including climate, age, varietal, and whether it was aged in wood.

  • White wine gets darker as it ages.
  • Red wine gets lighter as it ages.

 

SwirlSwirl

Swirling 'aerates' the wine and makes more aromas and flavors come out. Basically, it makes the wine taste more delicious.

 

SniffSniff - "FEW-O"

When you think about a wine - think about the FRUIT, EARTH, WOOD, and OTHER scents in your wine (and the acronym FEW-O). Use our awesome wine aroma periodic table to figure out what you are smelling.

Don't forget that 90% of taste is smell - so really think about what you are smelling!

 

 TasteSip

Now comes everyone's favorite step - sip! Make sure you pay attention to what you are drinking! Think about...

 

  • Sweetness - this happens when there is a bit of residual sugar left in the wine. Most wine is made until there is almost no residual sugar left. Many people confuse sweetness with fruit.
  • Bitterness - this can be due to high alcohol content and/or tannins
  • Tannin - a textural component to wine - makes your mouth dry out.
  • Acidity - this wine component makes your mouth water. Its more evident in white wine than red.
  • Fruit - each varietal has a different fingerprint that makes it taste different from other varietals.

 

savorSavor

When the wine is gone, it is sad. But the finish of the wine is quite important. The finish of a wine is how long you can taste the wine after you've swallowed it. The longer the finish, the better quality the wine.

The finish should be like a good date - smooth, elegant, and goes on for exactly how long you want it. Think about if you enjoy the finish, if it is delicious it is a good wine for your taste, if you don't like it so much, even if the finish goes on for 5 minutes, maybe this is not the wine for you.

 

 

Some Wine Vocabulary

Quick Guide to Bordeaux Wine Region: Bordeaux wine comes from the Western region of France - Bordeaux! The grapes of Bordeaux: - Merlot - Cabernet Sauvignon - Petit Verdot - Cabernet Franc - Malbec Generally, the first two grapes are the most widely used: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The proportion of each depends on where in Bordeaux the wine comes from! Left Bank - Right Bank Bordeaux can be split into two separate regions: the Left Bank and the Right bank. The Gironde river cuts through the middle of the region, creating these two main areas. The Left Bank of Bordeaux and its sub regions generally have a wine that is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines tend to be more powerful and age-worthy. The most well known names - Medoc, Haut Medoc, St. Julien, Margaux The Right Bank of Bordeaux and its sub regions generally have a wine that is mostly made of Merlot. These wines are softer, less tannic, and can be generally drunk before its Left Bank cousins. The most well known names - Pommerol, St. Emilion
Quick Guide to Burgundy Wine Region: When you see 'Bourgogne' that is the French term for 'Burgundy.' Burgundy is a region in Eastern France. When you see a red bottle of Bourgogne - this is a wine made from Pinot Noir grapes. When you see a white bottle of Bourgogne - that is made of Chardonnay! There are 5 main regions in Burgundy: Chablis, the Côte d'Or, the Côte Chalonnaise, Mâconais, and Beaujolais. We'll go more in-depth with some of these regions later but for now, we're going to concentrate on the Côte d'Or. - Chablis - north of the Côte d'Or, Chablis is Chardonnay country where you'll find zesty white wines - Côte Chalonnaise - directly south of the Côte d'Or, here you will find Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Aligoté (another white varietal). These wines tend to be a bit more rustic than their elegant cousins northern cousins. - Mâconnais - south of the Côte Chalonnaise, here you have more white wine produced than red (80%). For the red, you can have both Pinot Noir and Gamay. Côte de Nuits + Côte de Beaune = Côte d'Or: The Côte d'Or, made up of the Côte de Nuits & Côte de Beaune, is renowned for its amazing, long lived, wine and is where some of the most famous wines in the world are produced. Romanée Conti anyone? The grapes of the Côte d'Or are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. There is a ranking system in Burgundy. With the best wines (and most expensive) coming from Grand Cru vineyards, then Premier Cru, Village, and then finally Bourgogne. Grand Cru (Romanée Conti) > Premier Cru (1er Cru Meursault Les Charmes) > Village (Puligny-Montrachet) > Regional (Bourgogne) Côte de Nuits: Here more Pinot Noir is king, and much less white wine is produced (only 20%). There are 24 grand crus in the Côte de Nuits. Some of these grand crus can make wines that age for many years! Some well known villages are: Gevrey Chambertin, Nuits St. Georges, and Vosne-Romanée. The wines from this region can also cost quite a pretty penny. You can also get some village level wines which are great value! Try Fixin or Marsannay! Côtes de Beaune: Chardonnay reigns supreme in this area, south of the Côte de Nuits. Around the adorable town of Beaune, the vineyards around are mostly planted with red wine. There are 8 grand cru vineyards in this area - with only one producing a Grand Cru red (Corton). Some of the best known villages? Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Pommard and Volnay for Pinot Noirs, Meursault...
Wine Vocabulary:

- Varietal: This means the type of grape used in the wine. You can have a single varietal wine or a wine with multiple varietals. For example: A white Burgundy (aka Bourgogne) is made of the varietal Chardonnay. 

- Dry Wine: a wine that is not sweet. As in, a wine that has no residual sugar. When wine is made, the grape sugar is converted to alcohol. When there is no sugar (or very little sugar) left the wine is considered dry. The opposite? A dessert wine. 

- The Formula for Wine: Sugar (grape juice) + yeast = Alcohol & CO2 

- Vintage: The year the grapes were harvested

- Wine Tasting:Actually tasting & thinking about the wine in your glass, not just drinking it ;)