February 24th, 2011 by eileen in wine lifestyle
While there undoubtedly are circumstances when optimal conditions and quality craftsmanship come together to produce a superior wine, there also are a lot of great accessible wines to taste and enjoy. Among these wines, how do you pick a winner?
You can start by applying the standard procedure for wine tasting.
• Notice the color and clarity of the wine. Is it cloudy or clear? Is the color consistent with the type of wine?
• Swirl the wine around in the glass and sniff it. What aromas come through? Is one scent stronger than the others? Is it pleasant and appealing?
• Next, taste the wine. Does any one characteristic particular to that wine stand out more than the others? Does the taste last or disappear quickly?
Of course, wine tasting, even by the most enlightened connoisseur, is going to be influenced by personal preference. But, regardless of individual taste, you can still identify a “good” wine by the balance of its essential properties.
The best way to test this out is to select a type of wine that you do like, such as Cabernet or Chardonnay, and try it from several different vineyards. Rate which one you think fits the criteria for being the “best.”
When tasting wine, what is “good” may be subjective, but what is “bad” is – well – just bad.
Here are a few sip-stoppers to look out for:
• Sediment or cloudiness
• Metallic smell
• Moldy odor
• No detectable aroma
• Excess tannin or acidity
• Stale or vinegary smell
• Sulfuric odor
• “Cooked” or caramelized color, smell or taste
• Effervescence (in non-sparkling wines)
• Strong alcohol taste
• Pushed-out cork
All of these may indicate some form of improper handling and storage, overheating, contamination or processing errors.
Read more about hosting a wine tasting party at home.