How to drink wine? Wine testing guidelines
Duke Lev Golitsyn was a famous sponsor of wine testing in his marvelous cellars. The participation in these event was free, which is not really a wonder, since, the winemaker’s main concern is not a monetary rewards, but the ability to create amazing drink for the people.
The tales of contemporaries say that Golitsyn used to go into raptures when he met real wine experts, who were able to provide an eloquent characteristic of a wine. Any such common folk expert was always rewarded. If a person would accurately guess a wine, asked by the duke, then the winner was rewarded with a bottle of the same wine, regardless of its price.
At the same time, the duke was never arrogant or unkind to those who were only starting to know the wine.
As a winemaker with God-given skill, he always repeated “try the wine!”
Wine testing directions
Wine is evaluated by three main characteristics: visual, aroma, taste. Therefore, the main evaluation stages are:
• visual evaluation or “eye”
• olfactory evaluation or “nose”
• gustatory or “tongue”
Before the testing make sure that the glasses are thoroughly cleaned, their walls are transparent and the wine is chilled down to required temperature.
Serving temperature of the wine, depending on the type:
– Red wine — 16°-18°C
– Whine wine — 10°-12.8°C
– Strong red wine — 16°-18°C
– Rose wine — 10°-12.8°C
– Champaign, sparkling wine — 7°C
Fun fact: exclusive expensive wines have additional serving temperature requirements. For instance, champaign requires 11°-12°C, dry white wine – 14°-16.5°C, sweet wines should be served at 14°-16.5°C
I. Visual evaluation
As the glass is poured, the first visual stage takes place.
The glass is held by leg. In order to evaluate wine color, you will need a sheet of white paper. To a same degree of success tablecloth could be used, or if nothing else is available – the palm. Slightly tilt the glass on a white background. Evaluate the look of wine by such indicators, as:
– Clarity. Mature wine should be totally clear.
– Color intensity. Wine can be red, white or rose by color. The color varies from almost colorless to dark-ruby. All depends on the variety, maturity, location and production method.
II. Olfactory evaluation
Second stage can put the acuity of your olfactory perception to a test. Bring the glass to your nose and inhale deeply. Rotate the glass, while trying to slightly shake the contents so that the aroma can unravel itself in full, and inhale again.
Aroma is evaluated by the following criteria:
• Presence of tones
IMPORTANT! Aroma can show the mistakes of winemaker. Some smells indicate the flaws of wine, possible deviations from production technology. The most common are the smell of paper, moldy barrel, mold, chemicals, fermented cabbage, raw alcohol, vinegar.
III. Gustatory evaluation
Color and aroma have already given you the basic understanding of wine and now it is time to complete your impression with taste.
The first go should be small. Hold it on your tongue and evaluate it by simple criteria whether you like it or not.
Second go can be bigger, since its purpose is to give you a better appreciation of the taste. For this purpose you should “chew” the wine.
The taste primarily is evaluated by four basic criteria: sour, sweet, bitter, salty.
• Acidity. Is caused by presence of tartaric, malic, lactic or citric acids in the drink. Acidity can be mild, fresh, hard “metallic” (indicates higher concentration of mineral acids) and prickly (indicates the excessive presence of carbon dioxide or acetic acid).
• Alcohol strength. Is characterized by different degree of warmth in the taste. There are mild and strong wines.
• Sweetness. There can be following tones: noble (mead), syrupy, mawkish.
• Roughness. Roughness level can be caused by the presence of tannins in the wine. Their deficiency results in an empty and watery wine. There are silky, smooth, grippy, rough and hard rough tones.
The climax of any testing is aftertaste. It can be short or longs, pleasant or not.