How to conduct a sensory analysis of wine? - Use your senses
Wines all have a different character, such as density, consistency, bouquet, the type of grapes used etc. Therefore, it is crucial to use all your basic senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing, to acknowledge and differentiate the distinctive elements from one wine to another.
In the first phase it is essential to look at the wine and observe its various color tones, when it is poured into the glass. The wine should be clear without any foreign objects, dirt or grime. To better observe the color characteristics, lean the glass towards a source of light. By placing a white paper behind the glass will help you to notice the color reflections and admire the wine color intensity. As an example, white wine gets a deep golden color as the time passes, meanwhile the red wine gets a lighter shade.
The olfactory sense plays an important role in the wine tasting process, since it helps you in determining the different bouquets of the wine. Moreover, our sense of smell has a deep impact on how our brain processes the wine flavor. Move your wine glass in a circular motion to swirl the contents of your glass in order to better release the wine aromas. While smelling the wine, you will notice distinctive aromas, such as floral, citrus, fruits, etc.
For someone that loves to drink wine, this is a hard step, and that’s because the wine should be sipped and not swallowed. Feel the wine composition in your mouth and notice its density, if it’s strong or light and if the acidity is reduced or not. Run the wine over all parts of your tongue to experience the various nuanced flavours that appear from different parts of the mouth.
Once you focus on the taste, you will recognize some of the aromas that you have already identified after you smelled the wine. Do you mainly feel a sweet, sour, salty or bitter taste? A good wine should have a perfect balance between sugar, acidity and alcohol.
The sense of hearing is also activated when wines are tasted and analyzed, especially in the case of sparkling wines. To better identify them, the sound that the bottle releases when it’s opened plays an important role.
What influences the wine color?
As you already may know, red wine is produced from dark color grapes, meanwhile the white one is produced from light color grapes. But as it can be seen below, that’s not everything that comes into play.
The fermentation process in wine making turns the grape juice into an alcoholic drink. During fermentation, the natural dyes, which derive from the grapes’ skin, are responsible for the wine color. As a rule, as long as the grape’s skins are let in the fermentation process, as darker the color of the wine becomes.
As it was mentioned before the white wine gets a deep golden color as the time passes, meanwhile the red wine gets a lighter shade and loses its intensity.
Wine serving temperature
- Dry white wines are served at 8-12° C
- Demi-sweet white wines and sparkling wines are served at 6-8° C
- Dry rosé wines are served at 8-12° C
- Light red wines are served at 10-12° C
- Strong red wines are served at 18-19° C
Wines tasting order
In order to truly sense each wine’s bouquet, you need to take into consideration a few wine tasting rules.
- Given the red wine’s intensity and its strong flavor, the white one should be tasted before, to be truly enjoyed without any alteration of its aroma.
- The dry wine should be tasted before the sweet one, since the sweetens can increase the acidity level of dry wines.
- The light wine should be tasted before the strong one, since it’s way harder to sense the taste of for example a Pinot Noir after a Cabernet.
- Young wines should be tasted before the old one. This is because the older wine has more characteristics and aromas, therefore it is advised to start the wine tasting with a young wine.