Musings on the Vine
Musings on the Vine
Musings on the Vine Musings on the Vine
Musings on the Vine
Musinings on the Vine Musinings on the Vine Musinings on the Vine
Musings on the Vine
Musings on the Vine

Practice Makes Perfect

The only way to develop a good palate and a consistent, effective tasting process is through practice. Every time I taste, whether just for pleasure, or more seriously during organized wine tasting, I use the time to run through my process and add data to my memory bank. Also, I’m never far from a pad of paper to jot down some notes about the wine. Even if it is only to note a few highlights, or lowlights, I always try to examine and assess the following with a series of questions: appearance, aroma, flavor.


  • What color is the wine?
  • How deeply pigmented is the base hue?
  • Is the disc of the wine clear, or slightly colored?
  • Is the wine itself clear or cloudy?
  • Does the light reflect off the wine?

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  • What does the wine smell like?
  • Are there any “off odors?” Do they persist, or do they seem to “blow off?”
  • How full and lively is the nose?
  • Does the nose smell more like fruit or flowers?
  • How much spice is in the wine?
  • Does the wine smell like the varietal from which it’s made?

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  • How “heavy” is the wine?
  • Does the wine have a lot of tannin?
  • Do the tannins block out any other flavors in the wine?
  • Does the wine taste acidic?
  • Is the wine sweet? Bone dry?
  • Are there “off flavors” on the palate?
  • Is the wine smooth? Rough?
  • How long does the aftertaste last?
  • Is the aftertaste complex? Does it evolve?

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Remember, above all, wine tasting should be fun! I include the above tips for those seeking guidance about developing, or refining the wine tasting process. As I said at the beginning, wine tasting is all about getting out what you put into the exercise.

Next: The Aging Potential of Wine >

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