ABCS OF WINE TASTING 4s Tasting Method

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ABCS OF WINE TASTING

4s Tasting Method

SEE

Tilt the glass at 45 degree angle against a

white background.

SNIFF

Swirl, then put your nose inside the rim of

the glass and take 2-3 sharp sniffs.

SIP

Take a small amount of wine into your mouth.

Roll the wine around, bringing it into contact

with every part of your mouth.

Retronasal passages smell flavors.

Tongue tastes sweet, tart, bitter.

The mouth feels…

… cloyed, gummy from sweetnees

… puckered, refreshed from acidity

… dried out, fur-lined from tannin

Back of the throat feels burning heat of

high alcohol.

SUMMARIZE

Spit or swallow the wine and

record your impressions.

4S Step

Evaluation Questions

Clarity, Intensity, Color

Is the wine brilliant, clear or hazy?

What color is the wine?

Is the color pale or intense?

Legs

Are they pronounced-indicating a bigger body?

Intensity and Identification

Are the aromas faint or intense?

What are the aromas?

Temperature

Is the wine too cold, so it seems tart, with muted fruit flavors?

Is the wine too warm, so it seems alcoholic and flabby?

Body

Does the wine fill your mouth? (Think skim milk vs. cream)

Is the wine light-, medium- or full-bodied?

Flavor

Are the flavors intense, or just barely there?

What are the flavors?

Are they the same as the aromas?

Taste, Mouthfeel and Balance

What are the tastes and sensations?

Tart - pucker? Sweet - cloying? Bitter - furry, dry? Hot?

Are the fruit, acidity, tannins and alcohol in balance?

Or does one dominate?

Is the wine’s texture rough, smooth or silky?

Finish

Do the flavors linger for a long time or do they stop short?

Quality

What is the wine’s quality level?

Is it well-made? Poor, good, excellent or outstanding?

Is it a weekday, weekend or special occasion wine?

Value

Does the wine provide good value for the price?

Preference

Do you like the wine?

Would you drink a second glass?

How would you describe the wine in one sentence?

What stands out or makes the wine distinct, memorable?

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ABCS OF WINE TASTING

Describing Wine

This chart highlights the five or six words necessary for a clear one-sentence wine description.

The 4 S’s

Characteristic

Commonly-used terms

SEE

Color

White - Red - Rose/Blush

SNIFF

Aroma

Citrus, tropical, berry, jammy, etc.

SIP

Sweetness

Dry - Off-Dry - Sweet

Flavor

Citrus, tropical, berry, jammy, etc.

Oak

No Oak - Hint of Oak - Oaky

Body

Light-Bodied - Medium Bodied - Full-Bodied

Acidity

Refreshing - Crisp

Tannin (for reds)

Smooth - Big

Finish

Short - Long

SUMMARIZE

Quality

Weekday, Weekend, Special Occasion

Preference

Not so good, Ok, Delicious

White Example:

This Sauvignon Blanc is a dry, medium-bodied white with citrus and herbal flavors

and maybe a hint of oak and crisp acidity.

Red Example:

This Zinfandel is a dry, full-bodied red with jammy, spicy flavors, a hint of oak and big

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ABCS OF WINE TASTING

Grape Guide

WHITES

Riesling

Sauvignon Blanc

Chardonnay

Origin New Frontiers AKA Aromas/ Flavors Acidity Sweetness Body Alsace, Germany Australia, California, New York

almost always called Riesling

Citrus, apple, peach, apricot, mineral, honey

Medium to high Dry to off dry to sweet Light to medium

Bordeaux, Loire California, New Zealand

white Bordeaux (blend) Sancerre

Pouilly-Fumé Fumé Blanc

Grapefruit, melon, grassy, herbal, mineral

Medium to high Dry

Medium

Burgundy

Australia, California, many other regions

Chablis white Burgundy Pouilly-Fuissé

Apple, pineapple, vanilla, smoky, lemon, mineral Low to medium Dry

Medium to full

Origin: The growing regions where the grape rose to prominence.

New Frontiers: The growing regions where grapes have found new homes and are used to make noteworthy wines. AKA: Throughout Europe, many wine regions specialize in making wine from one grape variety or a blend of specific grapes.

These wines are often named after the growing area, rather than the grapes itself. In Burgundy, for instance, white wines are made from Chardonnay and red wines are made from Pinot Noir; the wines themselves are named after the towns or vineyards where the grapes were grown (i.e. Chablis).

REDS

Pinot Noir

Shiraz or Syrah

Cabernet Sauvignon

Origin New Frontiers AKA Aromas/ Flavors Acidity Tannin Body Burgundy California, Oregon red Burgundy

Strawberry, raspberry, cherry, earth, mushroom Medium to high Light Light to medium Northern Rhône Australia, California, South Africa Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie

Raspberry, blackberry, black pepper, violet, bacon Medium

Medium Medium to full

Bordeaux

Australia, California, Chile, Italy, etc…

red Bordeaux and Meritage from CA (part of the blends) Black currant, cherry, mint, tobacco, bell pepper Medium

Full

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ABCs OF WINE TASTING

White Wine Checklist

SEE

SNIFF

Aromas & Flavors

Citrus: Lemon, lime, grapefruit Tree Fruit: Apple, pear, peach,

apricot, fig

Tropical: Melon, litchi, pineapple,

banana

Floral: Orange blossom, honeysuckle Herbal: Hay, grass, green vegetables,

mint

Earthy: Stone, slate, mineral,

mushroom

Spicy: Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove,

allspice

Nutty: Almond, hazelnut, marzipan Woody: Vanilla, oak, coffee, smoky,

toast

Caramel: Honey, butterscotch, butter

Citrus: Lemon, lime, grapefruit Tree Fruit: Apple, pear, peach,

apricot, fig

Tropical: Melon, litchi, pineapple,

banana

Floral: Orange blossom, honeysuckle Herbal: Hay, grass, green vegetables,

mint

Earthy: Stone, slate, mineral,

mushroom

Spicy: Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove,

allspice

Nutty: Almond, hazelnut, marzipan Woody: Vanilla, oak, coffee, smoky,

toast

Caramel: Honey, butterscotch, butter

Citrus: Lemon, lime, grapefruit Tree Fruit: Apple, pear, peach,

apricot, fig

Tropical: Melon, litchi, pineapple,

banana

Floral: Orange blossom, honeysuckle Herbal: Hay, grass, green vegetables,

mint

Earthy: Stone, slate, mineral,

mushroom

Spicy: Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove,

allspice

Nutty: Almond, hazelnut, marzipan Woody: Vanilla, oak, coffee, smoky,

toast

Caramel: Honey, butterscotch, butter

SIP

SUMMARIZE

Body Flavor Taste Finish Light–medium–full-bodied Acidity: Flabby–moderate–crisp Sweetness: Dry–off-dry–sweet Short–moderate–long Light–medium–full-bodied Acidity: Flabby–moderate–crisp Sweetness: Dry–off-dry–sweet Short–moderate–long Light–medium–full-bodied Acidity: Flabby–moderate–crisp Sweetness: Dry–off-dry–sweet Short–moderate–long

A wine’s flavors and aromas are often similar. Circle the flavors you can identify in the aroma section above.

Quality

Preference

Thumbs down–everyday wine– weekend or special occasion wine Yuck–okay–yum

Thumbs down–everyday wine– weekend or special occasion wine Yuck–okay–yum

Thumbs down–everyday wine– weekend or special occasion wine Yuck–okay–yum Color Intensity Green-yellow–straw–gold–amber Pale–medium–dark Green-yellow–straw–gold–amber Pale–medium–dark Green-yellow–straw–gold–amber Pale–medium–dark

Riesling

Producer: ______________________ Growing Area: __________________ Vintage:________________________ Alcohol %:______________________ Price: ________________________

Sauvignon Blanc

Producer: ______________________ Growing Area: __________________ Vintage:________________________ Alcohol %:______________________ Price: ________________________

Chardonnay

Producer: ______________________ Growing Area: __________________ Vintage:________________________ Alcohol %:______________________ Price: ________________________

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ABCs OF WINE TASTING

White Wine Mat

Sauvignon Blanc

Wine 2

Riesling

Wine 1

Chardonnay

Wine 3

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ABCs OF WINE TASTING

Red Wine Checklist

SEE

SNIFF

to identify aromas and flavors Aromas &

Flavors

Berry: Strawberry, raspberry,

blackberry

Tree Fruit: Cherry, plum Dried Fruit: Jam, raisin, prune Floral: Violet, rose petal Herbal: Bell pepper, olive,

mint, tobacco

Earthy: Earth, mushroom, tar Meaty: Smoked meat, bacon, leather Spice: Anise, cinnamon, black pepper Woody: Vanilla, oak, coffee,

smoky, toast

Other: Chocolate

Berry: Strawberry, raspberry,

blackberry

Tree Fruit: Cherry, plum Dried Fruit: Jam, raisin, prune Floral: Violet, rose petal Herbal: Bell pepper, olive,

mint, tobacco

Earthy: Earth, mushroom, tar Meaty: Smoked meat, bacon, leather Spice: Anise, cinnamon, black pepper Woody: Vanilla, oak, coffee,

smoky, toast

Other: Chocolate

Berry: Strawberry, raspberry,

blackberry

Tree Fruit: Cherry, plum Dried Fruit: Jam, raisin, prune Floral: Violet, rose petal Herbal: Bell pepper, olive,

mint, tobacco

Earthy: Earth, mushroom, tar Meaty: Smoked meat, bacon, leather Spice: Anise, cinnamon, black pepper Woody: Vanilla, oak, coffee,

smoky, toast

Other: Chocolate

SIP

SUMMARIZE

to gauge quality Body Flavor Taste Finish Light–medium–full-bodied Acidity: Flabby–moderate–crisp Tannins: Silk–suede–leather Short–moderate–long Light–medium–full-bodied Acidity: Flabby–moderate–crisp Tannins: Silk–suede–leather Short–moderate–long Light–medium–full-bodied Acidity: Flabby–moderate–crisp Tannins: Silk–suede–leather Short–moderate–long

A wine’s flavors and aromas are often similar. Circle the flavors you can identify in the aroma section above.

Quality

Preference

Thumbs down–everyday wine– weekend or special occasion wine Yuck–okay–yum

Thumbs down–everyday wine– weekend or special occasion wine Yuck–okay–yum

Thumbs down–everyday wine– weekend or special occasion wine Yuck–okay–yum Color Intensity Purple–ruby red–brick–amber Pale–medium–dark Purple–ruby red–brick–amber Pale–medium–dark Purple–ruby red–brick–amber Pale–medium–dark

Pinot Noir

Producer: ______________________ Growing Area: __________________ Vintage:________________________ Alcohol %:______________________ Price: ________________________

Shiraz

Producer: ______________________ Growing Area: __________________ Vintage:________________________ Alcohol %:______________________ Price: ________________________

Cabernet Sauvignon

Producer: ______________________ Growing Area: __________________ Vintage:________________________ Alcohol %:______________________ Price: ________________________

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ABCs OF WINE TASTING

Red Wine Mat

Shiraz

Wine 2

Pinot Noir

Wine 1

Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine 3

Figure

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References