If you are a wine and wine tourism lover, you are surely familiar with one of its star activities: wine tastings. Practically all the wineries include tastings within their activity programs, whether for people initiated in the world of wine as well as for authentic expert tasters. We must leave behind the outdated idea that these types of activities are made for professionals or people with extensive knowledge of wine. Wine is there to be enjoyed by all.
Tips for learning to taste a wine
Before we get into the matter, we give you some tips to keep in mind. The first thing is to learn from those who already know: seek help from someone who knows the subject and can advise you. Attend tastings in wineries that allow you to learn about the different types of wines in the place where they are made, or, if you want to become a true sommelier, take specialized courses that allow you to head down that path.
Variety is very important in this trade: try different good quality wines. Do not focus on a single strain, although if you do, try to compare one and the other, thus appreciating the different nuances of flavors.
Terminology is also essential: always look for the most precise words to describe the sensations it produces in you, and incorporate and remember that vocabulary.
What types of tastings exist?
There is not just one type of tasting, and not all have the same ceremony or procedure. We can differentiate three modes:
- Vertical tasting. The one in which the wine from the cellar is tasted but from different harvests.
- Horizontal tasting. The one in which different wines are offered but belonging to the same vintage and denomination of origin
- Blind tasting. The one in which different wines are tasted of which there is no prior information.
How do you taste wine?
The fundamental objective of a wine tasting is to analyze the wine sensorial to explore its characteristics and properties at any of its three levels: visual, olfactory, and gustatory. In other words, learning the different qualities of wine while enjoying it.
In order to prevent external elements from distorting the taster’s assessments, the tasting must take place in a place with good lighting and no odors, good ventilation, and a medium temperature. Likewise, it is important to use transparent and colorless glasses that do not confuse the taster when it comes to appreciating the color and brightness of the wine.
After uncorking the wine, the cork is smelled. This can give us many clues about the state of the wine that we are going to taste. The glass is held, always by the stem or the base, and the glass is tilted at about 45º on a white background, the tablecloth itself or a napkin, for example, to observe the color, brightness, and cleanliness of the wine. If we can see through the wine we can say that it is a low layer. If, on the other hand, it is difficult to see what is behind the glass, we will say that it is a high layer. On the other hand, the color of the wine will give us an idea of the age of the wine; if it is bright and cherry-colored, it will be young; if it is garnet, it is surely more aged with aging.
In this phase, the wine is smelled by bringing the glass close to the nose to appreciate the primary odors, typical of the grape variety. Afterward, the glass is shaken and sniffed again to inhale the secondary ones, which result after fermentation.
Finally, a third agitation is carried out to be able to distinguish the tertiary aromas, the bouquet, and those that develop during the aging of the wine.
Finally, we tasted the wine 101 with a small sip. The attack is this first impression that we receive when tasting the wine, which we must move from one side of the tongue to the other if we want to appreciate the four basic flavors. If a wine achieves a perfect balance between the four, we can say that it is around wine.
After this step, we proceed to determine the texture (smoothness, smoothness, astringency, roughness…), as well as the retronasal route, which refers to the sensation that the wine leaves us after a few minutes in the nose.
It is important to know that the wine should not be swallowed so that the alcohol does not pass into the blood and thus prevent the taster from getting drunk.
Lastly, it will indicate which finish the wine has left, both on a sensory level (pleasant finish, acid…) and referring to the duration (long if it lasts between nine and twelve seconds, short if it lasts less than two seconds).
Although here you will find, in broad strokes, the different steps that a tasting consists of, at Comenge we recommend that you come and have a tasting at the hands of our experts, within our wide range of wine tourism. A fun, different, and unique way to learn and enjoy the best Ribera del Duero wine.
How to taste wine: learn through the senses
It is true that the complete learning of tasting requires the mastery of some criteria that are used to judge wines, specific techniques of the profession, and associated vocabulary. Also training in the memory of the flavors and smells allows perceiving the notes that we describe in the different steps. But you always start somewhere and the best way to learn how to taste a wine is to be clear about the conditions in which it should be done and its three fundamental steps.