Wine tasting is the elaborate art of perceiving a myriad of tastes and sensations on your palate. It takes experience and passion to fully identify the multitude of flavors present in wine. To be an expert, it takes more than just an attentive and clever palate to sense aroma and taste. An expert must also have the intelligence and accuracy to be able to identify and describe in detail the compelling attributes of any choice of wine.

There are no shortcuts to becoming a pro at wine tasting – you have to learn the ropes and the basics to build the required intimacy. Wines are known to vary in taste or flavor depending on their different aroma components, or what are called “stereoisomers” by experts and gurus. The volatile makeup of alcohol present in wine helps release the stereoisomers, and each aroma component contributes to the way in which the wine will taste. Wine can be categorized into two main types:

Red Wine – Reds are said to be perfect when paired with red or cured meat as well as veggies. The trick to pairing food with wine is the wine is supposed to taste sweeter and more acidic than the food. You should never combine bitter wine with bitter food varieties. Red wine can also be identified as light, medium or full-bodied. You can identify both black or red fruit and berry flavors in red wine. Black fruit flavors like blueberry, blackberry, acai, black plum, prune and jam are found in wines like Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. On the other hand, red fruit flavors like strawberries, red currant, cranberry, cherry, and raspberry can be detected in reds like Merlot and Pinot Noir.

wine and grapes on tray for wine tasting
img c/o shutterstock

White Wine – This is said to be easy on the palate when paired with cheese, fish or any seafood variety. White wines are typically affected by the ripeness of the fruit flavors and also the location where the fruits were organically grown. The two distinct flavors found in white wine can be identified as either citrus or tree fruit. Common citrus-like flavors found in exquisite wines such as Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are lime, orange, passion fruit and pineapple. Tree fruit flavors savored in popular whites such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc are the likes of apple, peach, apricot and pear. You can identify different flavors by their aroma and how the wine feels in your mouth. The whole sensation that wine gives while you let it roll around your tongue and mouth will deliver an overall perception of its flavors. One wine can taste entirely different to one person compared to another. It depends primarily on the acidity or the rush of juices in your mouth, the dry and velvety feel of tannins, the explosive sweetness of natural fruits, and the alcohol level, which is indistinguishable yet provides a warm sensation.

Wine tasting is said to be more than just the social clanking of wineglasses – it’s a lifestyle.

About the Author
Amy Heydt
Follow Amy