Take a small sip of the wine but don’t swallow right away. Open your mouth slightly, suck in some air and mix it with the wine inside your mouth. This is an important step in wine tasting because by doing so, you can amplify the aroma, making the fruitiness more apparent.
Allow the wine to run through all taste buds. For a good bottle of wine, you will be able to taste the various fruity, floral, vanilla and oaky flavours, and even a hint of mineral in some.
Sweetness and sourness are the most obvious flavours, while tannin will carry a bit of bitterness and mineral a taste of saltiness. You should be able to taste what you can smell, for example, a wine with a cranberry and raspberry flavour usually a hint of refreshing sourness, whereas a wine with a plum and blackberry flavour has a slight sweetness of fruits.
Use your imagination and visualise the flavours you experienced, then write your own tasting notes.
So how to determine if a wine is good or bad? A good wine will have a range of complex, rich and varying flavours, and the flavours will be balanced and complementary, without a particular flavour becoming too dominant or overwhelming. For example, if a wine is too oaky with an obscure flavour of fruitiness, or if oakiness becomes your only impression of the wine, this means the wine lacks balance.
If a wine is too sweet, too sour, bitter, or too high in alcohol level, this means it is not well-balanced, or can be described as poorly made. Usually, after a long period of aging, the amount of tannin (astringency) will be reduced, along with its fruitiness, you will be able to experience all this with your taste buds.
Finally, pay attention to the finishing, which is leaving the residual flavour in your mouth. While some wines have a rich fruity flavour when drank, but leave behind a long-lasting oaky finish. Aside from flavour, you should also pay attention to the duration of the finishing, if it lingers in your mouth for a long time, this means you have got yourself a bottle of good wine.
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