Hints on tasting:

Many people think that wine tasting is an arcane science that is beyond their ability and comprehension, a view that has been fostered by many in the wine industry. In truth however, anyone who enjoys wine, can enjoy wine tasting.

A few simple ground rules that are simple common sense:

  1. Avoid tasting wine in a smoky or perfumed room
  2. Avoid toothpaste, mints, coffee, or strongly flavoured food immediately prior to tasting.
  3. You don't have to spit out the wines you taste, but you will be able to taste more wines with a clear head if you do.
  4. Try and taste in an order of white to red, dry to sweet and light to heavy and any fortified wines or spirits at the end. A good tip is to check the alcoholic strength on the label and use this as a guide.

There are three stages to tasting wine:-.....

The first stage is a visual examination - look at the colour of the wine by tilting the glass to an angle of 45°. Look at the centre of the wine and at the rim. A pale coloured white wine will usually be younger and lighter than one that has taken on a golden hue. A red-purple wine is likely to taste young and fruity; orangey-brownie-red, a lot older. White wines generally gain colour with age, whilst red wines lose it.

The second stage is to examine the bouquet or aroma of the wine. This means quite simply to smell the volatile substances present in the wine. Swirling your glass will release more of the bouquet. Place the glass on a flat surface and slowly outline a couple of circles with the stem and then sniff. This is where it is easy to come into Jilly Goolden territory!

Some of the Types of Wine Aroma:

Flowers Acacia, almond blossom, wallflower,honeysuckle, rose, elderflower, etc
Fresh FruitApricots, bananas, pineapple, blackcurrant, raspberry, grapefruit, etc
Dried FruitAlmonds, raisins, figs, glace cherries,prunes, etc
SpicesCinnamon, cloves, ginger, bay, pepper,nutmeg, etc
Vegetal AromasGrass, leaves, pine, sandal wood,mushrooms, cigars, loam, etc
ConfectioneryLiquorice, vanilla, aniseed, bergamot,acid drops, etc
Burnt Aromas Burnt wood, tea, coffee, cocoa, caramel,tar, etc
Animal AromasLeather, game, musk, wildfowl,marinaded meat, etc
Other Aromas (usually a bad sign) Musty, vinegary, stalky, cabbagey, etc

And finally the moment has come to taste the wine. Slowly slurp the wine, taking in enough wine, as well as plenty of air with it, to bathe all your mouth. Notice the immediate sensation. What comes next? And the finish? Do you like it? That is the most important question to ask oneself. If you want to describe the wine, use terms that mean something to you personally and write them down - they may form a useful reference for your future purchases.

Grape varieties

Hints on handling/serving wine

Back to previous page

Boursot's Wine Collection
9 Rue de l'Arsenal, 62610 Ardres, France
Wine Consultants SARL RCS Saint-Omer 481 778 876 00013
Tel: +33 (0)3 21 36 81 46
Email: ardres@boursot.co.uk

MON to SAT. 10.00-6.00