Enjoying a bottle of wine with a meal or during a leisurely afternoon with friends helps to create moments of happiness and warmth. However, analytic wine-tasting is something different. Within a professional setting, all aspects and characteristics of the wine are deeply examined, and perhaps even a score system for the wine is used. However, when tasting outside this setting, it isn’t necessary to be as precise. Yet applying a few techniques for your tasting will help ensure you get a good understanding and maximum amount of pleasure of your wine. This section will explain the principles of wine-tasting as well as the objective of each analysis.
When possible, it is always best to blind-taste a wine. This is the only way to ensure our judgement isn’t influenced by the origin of the wine. A tasting can be influenced positively or negatively by preconceptions we may have about wine and knowing what region, country, wine-grower or age of the wine can interfere with our judgment of it. For example, if you know you are tasting a wine from your favourite wine producer your brain will condition your judgment in favour of the wine, or in other words, you may subconsciously already like the wine before even tasting it.
Just as with finger prints, our olfactory system, which comprises the mouth palate and the nose, is unique. Our capacity to pick-out and recognise tastes and odours is very variable. Some will find a certain odour to be over powerful, yet others will find the same odour almost undetectable. All levels of detecting these sensations is subjective, but with wine, as with food, some sensations are evident to all, and therefore objective. Take for example a spoonful of sugar. Eating a spoonful of sugar will give everyone a sensation of sweetness. Yet the same amount of sugar dissolved in 100ml of water will give a sensation of sweetness that will vary amongst people, some will not even be able to detect the sugar.