The optimal tasting environment will have:
- Good lighting
- No strong smells (perfume, lotion, foods, etc.)
- Space for glasses and note taking
What is the recommended amount of wine to be poured into glasses for tasting purposes?
1.7 fluid oz (5cL)
What are the 2 things you look for when evaluating a wine’s appearance?
What is meant by ‘color intensity’?
How saturated the color of the wine is.
When talking about color intensity, what’s the difference between “pale” and “deep”?
- a white wine that has a wide, watery, almost colorless rim
- a red wine that has a light hue and is mostly see-through from rim to core
- a white wine with color that reaches or almost reaches the rim
- a red wine that has deep, concentrated color and is near-impossible to see through
What are the 3 colors used to describe white wines?
- Water-white to yellow in color
- Tinges of orange or brown
- Noticeable browning
What are the 4 colors used to describe red wines?
- Blue or purple tinted
- Bright red
- Obvious brick/orange or browning, but the wine is still more red than brown
- More brown than red
What are the 3 colors used to describe rosés?
What are the differences between Primary Aromas, Secondary Aromas, and Tertiary Aromas?
- aromas that come from the grapes themselves
- aromas made during fermentation
- aromas made after fermentation (e.g. vanilla from oak contact, butter from malo)
- aromas made from the aging process (e.g. caramel, hazelnut, dried fruits)
Describe the levels of the dry-to-sweet scale.
- No sugar or no perceptible sugar
- Barely-there or a kiss of residual sugar
- Obvious sugar, but not sweet enough to pair with desserts
- Sugar is the main driver of the wine
What does acidity do to your mouth?
Acidity makes your mouth water.
What are 2 things to consider when tasting for acidity in wine?
- What is the sugar level in the wine?
- think about lemonade and how important it is to balance sugar and acidity
- when in doubt, focus on how much and for how long your mouth waters
- Is that tingling sensation alcohol or acidity?
- alcohol can sometimes trick your brain into thinking that sharp or searing sensation is acidity
What effect do tannins have on the palate?
- Cause your mouth to dry and make it feel parched and scratchy like a cat’s tongue
- Tannins can sometimes leave a bitter taste on the back of the palate
What are the alcohol % levels for a low, medium, and high alcohol table wine?
Low: below 11% abv
Medium: 11% - 13.9% abv
High: 14% abv and higher
What are the alcohol % levels for a low, medium, and high alcohol fortified wine?
Low: 15% - 16.4% abv
Medium: 16.5% - 18.4% abv
High: 18.5% abv and higher
What structural components contribute to a wine’s body?
What structural components can make a wine appear lighter in body?
- Higher acidity
- Lower tannin
- Lower alcohol
What structural components will make a wine appear fuller in body?
- Higher alcohol (main factor)
- Higher tannin
- Higher sugar
What does the “finish” refer to in a wine?
How long you taste the wine after you’ve swallowed it or spat it out.
Finish is more about how long flavors remain on your palate and less about the structural components.
If a wine’s tannins are harsh and stick around your palate for a long time, you’d say the tannins are “persistent”. If the fruit and other tasty flavors stick around your palate for a long time, the finish is “long”.
A wine that is high in residual sugar will taste more balanced if the wine also has a lot of ______.
A wine that is high in alcohol will taste more balanced if it has a lot of ______.
Wine high in residual sugar will taste more balanced if it also has a lot of acidity.
Wine high in alcohol will taste more balanced if it has a lot of fruit.
When considering these concepts, think about lemonade (an acidity to sugar ratio) for the first example, and fruity cocktails for the second example (the alcohol in cocktails is hidden by the fruity flavors of fruit juices).
Generally, the shorter the finish the ______er the quality, and the longer the finish the ______ the quality.
Short finish = lower quality
Longer finish = higher quality
What are the 5 quality levels of wine used for the SAT?
From highest quality to lowest:
- Very good
When would you use ‘outstanding’ as a quality level when evaluating a wine?
If the wine shows exceptionally in these 4 categories:
- Discernible characteristics + flavors (and the intensity of them)
If a wine shows well in 3 of the above categories, it’s Very Good;
If a wine shows well in only 2, it’s Good;
If a wine shows well in only 1, it’s Acceptable;
If a wine struggles for any positive attributes, it’s Poor.