So, you’re interested in wine, yet you might not know yet what your wine personality is. When you first start drinking wine, It can be so overwhelming when faced with so many choices and how people describe wine. Let’s talk about some of the basics and make the process of choosing wine that’s easy peasy and the wine that’s best for you!
You might want to go and grab yourself a glass of wine. If you don’t have a glass of wine handy, you can follow along for the next time you have a glass in hand!
You’ll notice that our taste buds pick up four different flavours on different places on our tongue. Tasting wine is often about the interaction with the flavours on our tongue – like a little party on your tongue! and what our nose is picking up.
With wine, you can experience sweet bitter and sour. You might not taste salty in wine – I hope not!
If you are drinking red wine, and you notice your mouth drying up, you are experiencing the tannins in the wine. Tannins are from the red grape skins, seeds, and oak. Imagine drinking tea – this is another place that you taste tannin.
(Image: Scienceinspiration blogspot)
You’ll taste that more on the back of your tongue (where it says bitter on this tongue map). When you taste sour, this may represent acidity – it also might taste fresh and tart.
When you taste sweet, this is reflective of the residual sugars that are left over from the fermentation process in making the wine.
Before you taste that glass of wine in front of you, do these three simple steps to get the most out of the experience.
3 Simple Steps
1) Swirl the glass gently to aerate the wine. This will improve the aroma and get the flavours to disperse. Here’s a fun short video on this.
2) Smell (image: publicdomainpictures.net)
The smell of the wine is another piece of determining your wine personality. When you take a smell of the wine – what do you notice? What are the scents and aromas you are experiencing? You might notice some subtle scents of types of fruit, oak, citrus, at least to start. Again, you will find your nose will notice more as time goes on. As your sense of smell develops, you might notice more of the yeast smell (especially with white wines) and later on, more of the aromas of nuts, spices, and earthy smells.
3) Take a small sip
What do you notice?
Do you taste sweet? Acidic? Bitter? Sour?– here are some places to start. What do you like or not like?
With wine tasting we are often determining how the acidity balances out the sweetness and the balance of the tannins. We all have our own preferences for each of the different taste characteristics.
The graphic below is another way to determine your wine personality by looking at bold versus light and fruity versus earthy.
Perhaps you start off with a Cabernet Sauvignon – you might notice that you like the smoothness of this wine. You might smell and taste black cherry, licorice, black pepper or even tobacco. If you look at this wine map, you might venture to try Syrah – more earthy or Pinot Noir that is lighter.
Just remember the 3 Simple Steps – swirl, sniff, and sip, and you’ll be on your way to determining your own wine personality!