The wine tasting calls upon all the senses. Knowing how to recognise and appreciate a wine therefore requires time and practice. This will allow you to refine your olfactory capabilities and to be able to put a name to a colour, an aroma, or a perfume.
RECOGNISING WINE AROMAS: OLFACTORY MEMORY
Who has never smelled a scent or heard music that reminded them of their childhood, of a particular moment, of a significant event? This feeling comes from your olfactory memoryIn other words, your ability to remember a smell and to recognise it among all others. Although for many people this olfactory memory is almost instinctive, it can also be worked on. By practising recognise the smells, colours and aromas of a wineYou will then learn to refine your ability to identify a grape variety, a terroir, and to appreciate all its flavours.
How to learn to recognise a wine ? The best way is to train at the olfactory analysis on a daily basis. There are several techniques for doing this.
The wine smells are present in your environment every day. If you take a deep breath, you will be able to discern the smell of leather, undergrowth, red fruits, mushrooms, citrus fruits... Learn to spot it, to put a name to each smell, and to dissociate it from the others.
A second tip for practising the recognition of wine aromas is called the jam method. The predominant flavours of red, white or rosé wines are often fruity. For example, you can recognise a Pinot Noir by its cherry aroma, or a Viognier by its apricot flavour. Practise recognising the different fruit flavours by tasting several jams. Simply boil one or two spoonfuls of jam in a little spring water and leave to cool. Tasting will reveal all the flavours of the fruit, which you can memorise. Afterwards, have fun making the game more complex by mixing several fruits or adding spices.
WINE TASTING: RECOGNISING IT AT FIRST GLANCE
In a process of wine tastingIn the case of wine, the experts always start by swirling the wine in the glass and then obserwineg it. This visual examination is as important as taste or smell, since sight allows you to appreciate the brilliance, colour, reflections, or clarity of a wine. These elements will give you valuable information about the wine you are about to taste, such as the age, the dominant grape variety, or the wine-making method of the wine to taste.
Served in a thin, elegant glass, held by the stem, the wine is observed against a white background to create a contrast. You should then examine the top of the glass, and more particularly the disc, the circumference that the liquid forms around the edges. Then you can look through the glass to discover the wine's colour.
WINE TASTING: NOTE THE SMELL OF THE WINE
The sense of smell comes into play at two very specific moments in a tasting: directly through the nose, or through the back of the throat, after the wine has been put in the mouth (retro-olfaction). It is therefore essential for enjoy a wine and detect all the subtleties of the aromas.
The approach to a wine through the sense of smell will then be in two stages:
- The first nose consists in smelling the wine at rest, with the glass still without shaking the liquid, to discover the most discreet aromas;
- The second nose consists in turning the wine in the glass to release the aromas and concentrate them at the neck of the glass. The nose should then be plunged to the rim to feel the full power of the aromas.
By smell, we can detect two types of aromas: the primary aromasfrom the grape, and the secondary aromasThis is a result of the fermentation and winemaking process.
WINE TASTING: AWAKENING THE TASTE BUDS
After obserwineg and smelling the wine, it's time for thetaste test. There is no need to take large quantities of wine, a small sip turned in the mouth is enough to reveal the flavours that emerge successively. Taste is closely linked to smell, and the feedback will have a direct impact on the appreciation of flavours.
Tasting a wine implies going through 3 essential steps:
- L’attack The first sip of the wine should allow you to determine whether it is nervous, lively, balanced, powerful, etc. Bringing air into the mouth during a second sip will allow the wine to be aerated, while swirling it in the mouth will allow all the taste buds to be coated.
- The mid-mouth The aim is to evaluate the sensations felt on the tongue after spitting out the sip, and then by retro-olfaction. This allows us to determine the quality of the aromas, tannins and acidity.
- The final determines the length in the mouth of the wine, i.e. its persistence after spitting it out. The length of a wine in the mouth is measured in caudalie (1 caudalie = 1 second). It is estimated that a wine with a long finish has between 5 and 10 caudalies.
The wine tasting requires a certain technique that can be acquired with time and experience. Don't hesitate to practice by tasting different white, red or rosé wines, or to take tasting lesson.