During the day our senses remain awake, registering visual, olfactory, gustatory, auditory and tactile stimuli, however most of the time we are not aware of these perceptions. In the tasting our brain tries to analyze and memorize the greatest number of conscious sensations that a wine transmits to us, thus improving not only our knowledge, but also the pleasure of our senses.

Tasting requires learning and memory, knowing how to taste means effectively using the senses to interpret the sensations that are part of the wine analysis.

Learning tasting requires mastery of tasting techniques, the criteria by which wines are judged, and the associated vocabulary. Subsequently, developing this knowledge requires trying a wide range of wines and drawing not only subjective conclusions, a longer process that requires patience and good will.


THE LEARNING

Keep in mind the following guidelines to develop in the world of tasting:

    Taste many different wines. Taste quality wines and try different wines (The good taster knows white, red, rosé wine ...)
    Compare similar wines. Taste wines from the same region, variety or style of winemaking.
    Define your method and style. Then follow him on all your tastings.
    Build your vocabulary. It is important to spend the necessary time until you find the right term for a sensation.
    Start with help. Learn everything you can in its beginnings and, if possible, from the hand of someone who masters the tasting.
    Cate blindly. If you are not influenced by labels and prices, you will better perceive the sensations.

FACE TO FACE WITH THE CUP: PHASES OF TASTING

Beyond drinking wine, or simply tasting, tasting involves conscious analysis through the senses. This work to make it easier and dogmatic, it has been accepted to divide it into three steps, stages.

1. Visual.

Although perhaps somewhat less important than flavor and aroma, visual analysis allows us to obtain important information about the concentration and maturity of the wine.

Observe the wine in an illuminated place and on a white background. Look from bottom to top, tipping the glass until it is almost horizontal, repeat the procedure from top to bottom, in order to clearly see the wine. This procedure will allow you to examine the color, width and nuances of the 'edge' or 'trim' of the wine. Look at the following aspects:

    Cleaning. Check that the wine is perfectly clean and shiny. If your coat is dull, blurred, or cloudy, it will probably turn out the same in the mouth.
    The color. Notice the color with its nuances and intensity. Distinguish pale, greenish, or golden color in a white wine, and ruby, purple, or garnet in a red wine. White wines are acquiring color in the course of their aging, evolving from the pale yellow of their youth to straw, gold or amber yellow. - Red wines. They lose their red color as they age. They go from their youth of purple red, they evolve into ruby ​​and garnet tones, until they reach the mahogany nuances typical of vintage wines.
    The color of the edge of the disc. The top of the wine poured into a glass is called a disk (best viewed by tilting the glass), edging, or simply rim. The edge of this disc reveals the state of evolution of the wine. In white wines, pale edges are usually shown, in red wines this fact is more revealing and is seen more clearly, the more brownish, brick or tile tone, the older the red.
    The fluidity. Hold the cup by the stem or 'foot' and rotate it gently. The movement of the wine itself can reveal the data of density or concentration. On the other hand, once it stops, the amount of wine that remains stuck to the walls, called 'tears', 'legs' or 'pearls', indicates the alcoholic strength. The denser and more marked the tears, the higher the alcohol content. It is important to note that before turning the wine, a first olfactory phase must be done, which we will see below.
    Carbonic gas. CO2 is present in all wines, it occurs naturally during the fermentation process. However, the quantities are so small that in most wines it is imperceptible neither in sight nor in the mouth. Sometimes tiny bubbles can be seen on the walls of the glasses in young white wines.

2. Olfactory.

It is essential to understand that smell is the most important sense in the appreciation of wine. In the world of wine and gastronomy, contrary to what many people believe, much of what we savor is smell.

Odor is the main variable of taste, much more than the sensations through the tongue (taste). People with olfactory problems (such as anosmia) have less or, at worst, no perception of food and drinks. The same occurs with temporary problems that prevent a correct olfactory capacity, such as flu or colds.

The perception of the smell is done in the nostrils. This perception is carried out when the odorous molecules (in a gaseous state) arrive at the receptor glands (olfactory bulbs) located in the upper inner part of the nose. Odorous molecules can reach these glands in two ways: the nose, by ascending through the nostrils when we breathe in, and the mouth, by going up the throat when we expire (retronasal route).

Wine must be scented in moderation to avoid the anesthetic effect. Olfactory bulbs tire quickly, this is why we quickly get used to an odor and stop perceiving it if we are in a closed environment. Therefore, allow a few moments between each inhalation to avoid the exhaustion of the olfactory bulbs. You can also slightly move your face to avoid this effect.

In general we call 'nose' the set of smells of a wine. The nose varies in intensity and quality according to the age, variety and origin of the wine. The nose should always be clean, that is, without unpleasant odors. Technically we distinguish the aroma and the bouquet.

The fragance. It designates the smell that comes from the transformation of grape juice by fermentation. They are fresh and fruity smells that are found mainly in young wines.
The bouquet. It designates odors whose result is the aging of the wine in tanks, barrels or bottles.

How to smell wine.

Before turning the wine it is smelled 'a little stop', then a rotary movement is printed and immediately it is sucked through the nose while the liquid is still in motion. This procedure will make you perceive differences between both 'nose blows'. Inhalations should be long and deep as well as short and vigorous, alternating between the two.

The first element that is identified in the olfactory analysis is the fruit (blackberries, currants, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, ...), the following scents that are usually identified almost always come from the barrels where they have been raised (cedar, vanilla , caramel, bread ...).

The vocabulary of aromas

There are a large number of terms to describe the olfactory notes. Among the most used are:

    Florals: pink, violet, acacia, jasmine and orange blossom.
    Spices: pepper, cloves, licorice, anise and cinnamon.
    Fruit trees: lemon, grapefruit, currant, cherry, apple, peach, apricot, pear, melon, pineapple and litchi.
    Vegetables: straw, weeds, hay, grass, asparagus and olives.
    Animals: big game, musk, leather, wet fur or wool.
    Balsamic: resin, pine, oak, cedar and vanilla.
    Pneumatic: cooked, roasted nuances, toast, coffee, caramel, tar and smoked.
    Chemicals: yeast, sulfur, nail polish, vinegar, and plastic.
    Minerals: phosphorus, chalk, volcanic soil, earth, oil, petroleum, and gasoline.
    Various: walnut, honey and butter.

3. Gustative.

We distinguish various ways of perceiving the taste through the mouth.

In the language we distinguish four basic tastes: sweet, salty, acid (or sour) and bitter. These tastes will enhance and conform together with the aroma, creating a certain flavor. Thus, white wines tend to have fruit, citrus and other flavors, such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, peach, pear, apricot, apple, melon, currant or litchi. The flavor in white wine varies greatly with age, the younger ones tend to more acidic citrus, while the older ones tend to sweeter ripe fruit. Young red wines mainly evoke red fruits such as cherries, plums, currants, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries, which can later evolve to other balsamic, mineral or spicy nuances, as we have seen.

The touch. The tongue, in addition to receiving the flavors, can perceive tactile sensations:

The body. It describes the tactile sensation of the tongue and mouth in general produced by the alcoholic graduation, fluidity and intensity of flavor.
  
Temperature. The right temperature enhances the flavor of the wine while too cold or hot can make us stop perceiving both olfactory and taste sensations. White wine should be taken at a temperature that can range between 10ºC to 14ºC and never cold. Red wine should generally be served between 15ºC to 18ºC and never from time.

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