Enjoying wine is very important but you also need to know how to train your palate. This will allow you to distinguish a wine from the other with time, although the difference may be almost imperceptible. That is why you need to know which are the different aspects tasting implies and practice them.
The main aspects you should bear in mind when tasting wine are the following ones: sourness, scents, wood crianza, body, tannins, sugar contents, vintage and fruits content. These features are the ones that determine wine's quality and its origin.
Pouring wine in fine crystal glasses is very important. You will better appreciate its taste and consistence. You should bear in mind that a glass of wine should be half-filled because you will appreciate its scents in a better way. Next, you will find a detailed list of each of the aspects you should consider for an effective and pleasant tasting.
It is the rough sensation and, in a way, a sour sensation of wine. It is due to the presence of different organic acids. Sourness degree depends on factors such as grape variety, the kinds of acids that come from them (tartaric acid, citric acid or malic acid), fermentation which is in charge of originating sucinic acids, lactic acids and acetic acids. Stating sourness is necessary to bring a fresh and light sensation in younger wines.
Tasting or the so called «organoleptic test» is a very important test in the analysis process of wine's quality. This is due to the fact that smell brings a diagnosis of young wine's scents after they have been through an aging process. Smelling wine is essential because most of the pleasure wine produces responds to its scent feature. Altogether with taste sense, smell intensifies perception. That is why it is so important to keep wine in the mouth for a certain amount of time, in contact with all the parts of the tongue. There are three types of scents to find in tasting. One of them are wine grape's scents, they are named «primary scents». «Secondary scents» appear along with fermentation. «Tertiary scents», on the other hand, develop during harvesting process and during the evolution of wine in the bottle.
Each type of depot where wine is stored greatly influences its flavor. Some containers, such as stainless steel tanks, are neutral and they are used to store wine with the aim of getting fermented grape's flavor. Wine is stored in wood containers, especially of new wood in cases in which flavor needs to be modified. Through some scents and flavors, wine is aged in oak wood barrels, fir barrels or chestnut barrels. Flavor and scent intensity change a lot depending on the type of wood used and the time wine has spent in touch with it. The use of wood to age wine changes according to its production area. You also have to consider that good periods of storing are changeable too, although a little percentage of wines gets better with a 10 year storing.
Generally, red wines bring about a sense of intensity in the taster's mouth. This is due to the fact that they have a determined «body» in comparison with white and pink wines which are lighter. The less wine moves physically inside the mouth, the better its quality will be. However, you need to bear in mind that maceration is a process that is usually applied in red wines with the aim of providing color, flavor and good tannin contents.
Must clarification could be obtained through certain physical mechanisms such as centrifugation power or controlled gravity effect. Another mechanism is filtering because it helps clarifying and stabilizing wine although it must be applied with a certain control because it could ruin red wine's quality.
Sugar and rectified must, which must be added to must for its total alcoholic content in a process called «chaptalization», are the main additives to elaborate wine. All red wines and some white wines go through a bacteriological transformation called «malolactic fermentation» after primary fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is a process in which lactic bacteria are added to the must in fermentation or wine. Tannin is the name given to certain organic substances which have an astringent flavor and which come from chemical components which are present in oak wood used during wine harvesting, skin and grape seed. Tannins' function is to preserve wine naturally, allowing wine to age through long periods of time, without losing its essential features. It is important to know that wine should be filtered if it contains many types of sediment (this usually happens with aged port). Decanting is also useful to serve really young red or white wines because oxygenation increases this type of wine's expression.
The amount of sugar wine contains is related to the type and the maturity degree of the grapes used for its elaboration and also, but less important, to the duration of the fermentation process. Mature grapes generally have higher sugar content in comparison with younger grapes. For the elaboration of sweet wines, the fermentation process decreases with the aim of not transforming sugar in the must into alcohol. «Dry» wines go through a longer fermentation process by comparison with the rest of the wines. The so called «noble poverty» receives its name due to the presence of a moss that exists in good quality sweet wines in the cases climate conditions are good, because moss dries grapes and strengthens sugar enhancing its quality.
This is the term used to name the year wine grapes are harvested. Some of these periods are highly remembered for producing breeding. These grapes give a superior quality to those wines that are produced with them. In each of the grape growing areas, vintage classification is different. This is due to climate and production factors of each of the wine producing areas.
The scent and the flavor of younger wines keep the features of the wine grapes -this is the case of «varietals»- or of other fruits such as peach, cherry, banana or red currant. Wine flavor varies as time passes by. Most of them deteriorate and must be consumed as fast as possible. Remember that expensive wines are better due to storage, especially when this happens inside the bottle. In most cases, red wines with fruit content are elaborated with the entire fruit, a process also known as «carbonic maceration». In these cases, red fruits are not pressed or macerated; they are entirely fermented in an anaerobic environment. Wine wastes, which are sediments' deposits, provide the drink with flavors that increase its absorption power after being shuffled.
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