While humans have enjoyed wine for thousands of years, the varieties we know and love today are far different from those of the past. Wine has evolved and improved over time with new growing techniques, and we now have access to wine from all over the globe. With more options at your fingertips, knowing how to taste wine notes is essential for finding a variety you enjoy.
What Are Tasting Notes in Wine?
Wine tasting notes can describe a smell, taste or both. For example, a wine with notes of green apple combines a sharp, acidic taste with a light fruit scent.
Our taste buds can detect slight differences between salty, sour, sweet or umami flavors, playing an essential role in the wine tasting process. The nose fills in the rest of the picture to provide the full flavor.
Are Wine Tasting Notes Real?
Wine tasting will always be subjective because taste and smell largely depend on the individual. The language used to describe wine tasting notes also depends on the individual, and you may identify with one set of notes over another. While the exact notes of a given wine may vary slightly between people, wine tasting notes help to assess overall taste and quality.
Wine Tasting Notes for Beginners
You can go into a wine tasting blind, meaning you don’t know any information about the wine, or with a few details. The goal of either type of taste test is to examine the wine’s appearance, flavors, aroma and texture. Proper wine tasting involves the following steps:
- Use a wine glass large enough to swirl 1.5 ounces of the variety you wish to taste.
- Take short breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, to capture the aroma.
- Pay attention to your taste buds on the first sip of wine.
- Write down your initial reaction and what you can taste and smell for reference for future tastings.
Understanding some of the basic terms to describe elements of wine will help you evaluate the quality of the bottle in front of you. The main aspects of a wine you may consider during tasting include:
What Notes Are in White Wine?
When creating white wine, winemakers separate the grapes from their skin before fermenting the beverage in stainless steel or wooden barrels. Countless varieties of grapes can impact the flavor and aroma of white wine. For instance, when trying a dry white wine, you may experience notes like these:
On the other hand, a sweet white wine may offer different tasting notes:
What Notes Are in Red Wine?
To make red wine, wineries press dark-skinned grapes and let them ferment with the skins. This fermentation process adds color, flavor and tannin, or naturally occurring compounds that create a drying sensation. As the yeast converts grape sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide, it creates alcohol.
The aging process and type of grapes used in red wine production can impact the flavor and aroma. For example, in a light red wine, you may experience notes such as:
- Bitter Almond
A medium-bodied red may taste:
While a full-bodied red may give notes that are:
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The best part about wine tasting is that there’s a variety for just about everyone. Our inventory includes a full range of wines available for direct shipping to your home, so mix and match a case today to taste your new favorite.