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Nashwood Winery The Technique of Wine Tasting Copyright 2002 The Wine Society of Texas All rights reserved.

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Presentation on theme: "Nashwood Winery The Technique of Wine Tasting Copyright 2002 The Wine Society of Texas All rights reserved."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nashwood Winery The Technique of Wine Tasting Copyright 2002 The Wine Society of Texas All rights reserved

2 The Three Steps in Wine Tasting Wine tasting involves attention to sensory perceptions that we often take for granted. Tasting is somewhat of a misnomer as it really involves multiple sensory perceptions to achieve the full impact. Therefore, to receive the complete affect we must use our: Eyes - Visual Appearance Nose - Smell n Mouth - Taste

3 Step 1 - Visual Appearance l The most immediate perception we have to wine is its color. The eye is very sensitive and can differentiate between many colors, shades and hues. The color of a wine can tell us many things about the wine - its varietal character (red or white), age and how it was stored or handled. White wines really are not white but usually shades of green, straw, amber and gold. Lighter wines that have seen no oak will start somewhat greenish to straw colored and darken with age. l Heartier wines that have aged in oak, and those that are more concentrated or are older will be amber to gold. The deepening in color with age is a slow oxidation process.

4 Colors of White Wines l Typically, white wine show there age with an increasing intensity of color and a brown hue. This color change is similar to the browning of an apple after it is cut. l However, young white wines with a brownish color are likely to have been spoiled by exposure to air, mold or excessive heat. l Some white wines (such as French Sauterne) are intentionally allowed to mold on the vine (Botrytis), which adds certain characteristics (sweetness, depth of flavor and a deep yellow to brownish coloration that deepens with age).

5 Colors of Red Wines Nearly all red wines derive their color from the pigments in the skin of the grapes. They range in colors from deep purple to garnet, ruby, tile red and even brown. The color varies with varietal, winemaking style and age. Aging produces an increasing brownish hue. n The soil and weather can also affect the coloration. Iron rich soils and dry warm weather produce more intense colors.

6 Colors of Red Wines As red wines age, they change from purple to red to brown; the character of the wine also changes : Young:PurpleStrong fruit and tannins Mature:Ruby to garnetTannins and fruit soften Old: BrownLow acidity, tannin & fruit gone Old style of winemaking is for intense wines which are of deep coloration which take years to age. Many commercial winemakers are tending to produce lighter wines with less intense coloration which are more approachable while young and go with a greater variety of food. l A young red wine with a brick to brown color may be spoiled by exposure to air, mold or excessive heat.

7 Clarity of Wine l Clarity is assessed by viewing the wine against a lighted, white background. l It can tell many things about the winemaking process (i.e. use of techniques to enhance clarity. l However, it is usually only an esthetic quality. l Good clarity may require mechanical fining or filtering that will actually result in loss of body, aroma and flavor.

8 Clarity of Wines There are many very good wines which do not have perfect clarity. For example: Tartrate crystals in white wine that has been over-chilled. Results from sediments produced during bottle aging of red wines. These can be removed by careful decanting. There are also many problems that can arise in winemaking that result in low clarity (i.e. cloudiness or haziness): Undesirable yeasts and bacteria can develop in the bottle. Contamination of the wine with iron or copper in the winemaking process can result in cloudiness in the bottle. n These conditions usually result in bad smells and tastes.

9 Visual Indication of Body One of the factors that results in body in a wine is its viscosity. High viscosity - high body Low viscosity - less body The formation of beads of wine, “legs”, on the sides of a wine glass can give a hint of the way the wine will feel in the mouth: The longer it takes for these legs to run down, the higher the viscosity resulting from sugar, alcohol or glycerol in the wine. n These correlate with more body and a more weighty mouth feel. Wine with “Legs” Wine with “Legs” - NOT!

10 Visual Appearance of Wine: Summary l The visual appearance of a glass of wine is the first and most immediate source of information. l White and red wine offer a range of colors that provide information on the varietal and winemaking techniques used to make the wine. l It also gives hints as to the age of the wine and how it was stored. Watch for brownish colors in older or mishandled young wine. l The clarity tells about the extent of fining and filtering used as well as the possibility of flaws in the winemaking process. l Legs on the glass yield an indication of the body of the wine and the potential mouth feel.

11 The Process of Smelling l There are a group of olfactory cells inside the head which can be stimulated by aromatic chemicals. l These chemicals have been classified in to broad classes as shown on the innermost ring of aroma wheel. l These aromas are then further categorized in more detail on the second and third rings of the aroma wheel. Aroma Wheel

12 The Process of Smelling l As with visual appearance, smelling gives us a preview of what a wine will yield prior to actual tasting. l However, the olfactory sensors can become numb and adapt to the presence of various scents. l Smells can provide strong and emotional responses which are sometimes more vivid than those associated with the tasting that occurs in the mouth. They are often related closely with memory of past encounters and events more than any other sensory perceptions. l Many times, the olfactory simuli are confused with tastes which have a more limited range of characteristics.

13 Aromas in Wines Aromas are scents that develop in a wine as a result of the varietal make-up of the wine and the byproducts of fermentation. They combine to produce olfactory characteristics and similarities to other things to which we are familiar: fruits, berrys, nuts flowers, grasses & wood Spices and herbs n Earth, flint, rocks

14 Aromas in Wines To become familiar with common wine aromas. Find a few of the following items: Fruits - green apple / lemon / melon / peach / pear Organics - fresh cut grass / mushroom / green pepper Spices - vanilla / pepper / clove Candy - chocolate / jam Flowers - rose / violet / lavender Woods - oak / cedar / bamboo / burnt wood Earthy - flint / fresh soil / wet rocks / leather / wet dog l Place them in plastic cups separately and in combinations. Develop your ability to identify them by smell only.

15 Characteristic Aromas of Wines Chardonnay Vanilla / citrus / wood Chenin Blanc Ripe melon / honey Sauvignon Blanc grass / green apple / grapefruit Riesling ripe fruits / lemon Gewurztraminer n ripe fruits / exotic spices / perfume Carbernet Sauvignon dark fruits / wood / leather Zindandel red or dark fruits / pepper Merlot ripe grapes / plums Grenache dark fruits / pepper Pinot Noir n red fruits / wood /

16 Bouquets of Wines Only the best and finest of the wines made are expected to pass the test of time. Estimates are that as little as 5 percent of wines produced are made to undergo significant bottle aging. The right wine under the right conditions and a long enough time, will develop more complex olfactory characteristics referred to as a “Bouquet”. Bouquets are typically described as complex odors such as those associated with combinations of cedar / tobacco / coffee / leather in red wines and vanilla / cloves in certain white wines. Objectionable smells may develop during aging: sulfurous / rubbery / vinegary / moldy / yeasty l In some cases, this situation is only temporary and will dissipate if the bottle is left open for a while. However, in other cases, this is caused by improper winemaking techniques or wine storage practices.

17 The Scent of Wine: Summary l Wines provide olfactory stimuli that provide information regarding the varietal character of the wine, the winemaking techniques and hints of the taste to come. l Aroma is the smell associated with a young wine which arises from the grape varietal and byproducts of the aging process. l Bouquet is a very special and complex set of smell that develop in only the finest wines after prolonged aging. l Practice identifying various components and their combination found in wine aroma and bouquets.

18 Four Basic Elements of Tasting There are four basic elements of tasting: bitter, salt, acid and sweet. All taste sensations are made up of these components. The tongue senses tastes preferentially in different areas: bitterness - back/center saltiness - middle/center acidity - sides n sweetness - tip

19 Tasting Sensations of Wine Wine tasting is composed of groups of sensations resulting from the primarily constituents of the wine: Sweetness usually comes from unfermented sugars and alcohol. Acidity comes from organic acids - primarily tartaric, citric, malic and lactic acids derived from the grapes and those produced by the fermentation process. Bitterness (in a mild form) originates from tannins which come from grape skins and stems in addition to the oak used in the wine making process. Mouth sensation of strong tea. n Saltiness is not a usual component of wine.

20 Flavors in Wine l There are also a whole host of flavors in wine. l A fine wine is characterized as having a complexity where multiple flavors can be experienced. l These flavors are often subtle similarities to various fruits, flowers, spices and other substances. l These sensations are produced by various chemicals in the wine that may also be in other substances. l The volatile components found in the wine aroma are particularly important as they are often closely associated with tasting.

21 Flavors in White Wines Examples of white wine flavors are: Toast - new oak or bottle aged Chardonnay or Semillion. Vanilla - Wines aged in oak Pineapple / Clove spices - Gewurztraminer Gooseberries / Citrus - Sauvignon Blanc Lime / Lemon - Semillion Peaches / Apricots - Riesling or Muscat n Honey - Sweet dessert wines subject to botrytis cinerea - Noble Rot

22 Flavors in Red Wines Examples of Red Wine Flavors are: Bananas / Pears - Beaujolais Black pepper - Zinfandel Strawberries / cherries - Pinot Noir Green peppers - young Cabernet Sauvignon Chocolate - Pinotage n Raspberries / plums - Syrah

23 The Sensation of Tasting Wines l The green apple flavor often associated with white wines can be sensed near the back and sides of the tongue due to the combination of bitterness and acidity. l The citrus flavors is usually sensed on the sides of the tongue about midway back due to their associated acidity. l Sweet wines are tasted near the tip of the tongue. l The tannins common in red wines are “felt” by the astringency or dryness left behind the lips (like strong tea). The location of the tastes can help to identify the component flavors of the wine.

24 The Blind Tasting - Recognizing Wines Most wines have a characteristic signature: They have recognizable aromas and flavors (see previous slides). They also have varying levels of flavor intensity, tannin and body. These are the components of the wine that help to pair just the right wine with foods. You can identify fine wines by the complexity and quality of sensations that they bring and by their balanced characteristics. The only way to lean is to “practice” tasting. l Relax and take in all that you can; start a record of your tastings for future reference.

25 Identifying Wines by Tasting: Chardonnay - French or California California ChardonnayFrench Chardonnay - (White Burgundy) Look for the “Characteristic Signatures” of the wines you drink.

26 The Tactile Sensation of Taste In addition to the direct sensation of tasting, there are also tactile sensations.These are associated with the feeling that the wine has in the mouth. This tactile sensation is called the “body” of the wine. Components of the wine that lead to its body are: Viscosity & density of the wine are important in body. Alcohol, tannin, sugar, and fruit extract change these properties. Temperature is also important. Wines appear to have more body at higher temperature. l Wines with more body generally go with richer foods. Viscosity is an important aspect in “body”

27 Complexity, Balance & Length of Flavor (The Finish) Signs of a fine wine: Complexity is the characteristic of having multiple and more evolved aromas & tastes Balance is the delicate combination of flavors and sensory experiences so that each of the components is in right proportion to the others. Not too much alcohol, tannin, etc. The Finish - After the initial taste is complete and the wine is swallowed, their usually exists a lingering taste sensation in the mouth. This is referred to as the “finish” of the wine. Stronger and more persistent and complex aftertastes are commonly associated with finer wines. Fine wines characteristically have what is referred to as a long finish. n These aftertastes allow an intermingling of wine and food that enhances the total experience.

28 Tastes of Wine: Summary The four components of flavor are: bitterness, saltiness, acidity and sweetness Each one is sensed in a specific location on the tongue which aids in identification of complex flavors. Wines possess many flavors found in other fruits, vegetables and species which can be used: to identify the grape varietal and winemaking practices for pairing the wine with food. You can practice tasting to enhance your skills. The body of the wine is related to its mouth feel which is related to the viscosity and density of the wine. l Balance of the major flavor components and length of the aftertaste are what separates fine wines from many other lesser wines.

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