Buy a wine & not love it?!? UGH!
If you aren't "remembering" wines with tasting notes, it can become impossible to choose wines you love & avoid ones you don't...
The INSIDER'S SECRET is to make the SUBJECTIVE experience of trying wine OBJECTIVE with a TASTING NOTE. And don't worry, your tasting notes needn't resemble a SHAKESPEAREAN SONNET!
Actually, it's easy as 1,2,3...
But how do you choose?
It's really not that complicated...
- BODY is the weight of the wine on your tongue. Let the wine sit on your tongue and ask yourself, is it LIGHT like water, MEDIUM-bodied like skim milk or FULL-bodied like 2% or even whole milk?
- SWEETNESS is the perception of sugar on your tongue. Be careful to not assume that fruit FLAVORS are sugar. You can have ripe fruit flavors without any sugar. Sugar in wine comes from the grapes. A wine is DRY, when most to all of the sugar is fermented into alcohol. A SWEET wine is a wine where it is clear a good amount of sugar was NOT fermented into alcohol. And an OFF-DRY wine is one where the wine has a touch of sweetness, but is not overly sweet. Some Rieslings or Moscatos could be classified as OFF DRY.
- COLOR... I'm sure I don't have to explain this one!
- FLAVOR is the taste of the wine from the flavor molecules from the grapes and fermentation. This is where I find most wine newbies get overwhelmed and frustrated. But fear not! It doesn't have to be complicated or overwhelming. Remember, KEEP IT SIMPLE by reducing the world of aromas and flavors to just three categories... FRUIT, EARTH & SPICE. Below are some more specific terms for each of these three categories.
The power of self suggestion is enormous in wine tasting! As you sip the wine, ask yourself, "Do I smell/taste FRUIT, EARTH or SPICE?". You can stop there or, if, for example, you said "FRUIT", you can ask yourself, was it CITRUS, TREE (apple/peach), TROPICAL, RED, BLACK or BLUE fruit? Again, you can stop there or dig deeper into each category. Regardless of how detailed you get, any answer will be helpful in understanding which wines you like and dislike.
This process takes all of 2 minutes once you get the hang of it... Take a sip and then use a tasting template like the one below to fill in your answers.
Below are examples of increasingly specific tasting notes of the same wine when someone continued to ask themselves questions about what they were smelling/tasting. NOTE, even the first description is a helpful one and a great starting point!
- light-bodied, dry, red wine with fruit
- light-bodied, dry, red wine with red fruit
- light-bodied, dry, red wine with strawberries
- light-bodied, dry, red wine with strawberry jam
Love ALL your wines!
Once you have the tasting note, you have to complete the most important part... Did you LIKE the wine?
With your tasting note, you'll be able to "recall" wine long after you tried it!
You'll also see a pattern of wine types/flavors you like/dislike, making it easier for you to be more specific & successful finding wines you LOVE when you're at the retail store or restaurant!
Writing wine tasting notes takes a little practice and setup upfront, but it more than pays for itself when every wine you choose is one you LOVE!
Founder & Inventor, HaloVino