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Grappes & Le Parisien
Everything you always wanted to know about wine but never dared to ask

When we think of tasting, we see people spinning their glasses, smelling the wine, tasting it, then ending up spitting it out! This is neither simple nor difficult, but simply requires technique and above all practice. Nor should we think that tasting is not accessible to everyone because tasting is first and foremost tasting. We are all able to taste a wine. So what are you waiting for to get started?

To discover a wine well, you must use all your senses. Don't miss any stopover to discover the secrets of the wines you are tasting! Les Grappes helps you to become a true tasting pro!

Step 1: The Visual Examination

You have to use your eyes! How to taste a wine without having to admire it for a few moments. Above a white surface or under a light source you can visually enjoy a glass of wine. The colour of the wine, in other words its colour, informs us about many things:

First of all, you must observe the clarity of the wine, in other words the cleanliness of the wine. A clear, good quality wine does not have any particles in the liquid or on the surface.

You should also discover the viscosity of a wine by observing the tears of the wine (the wine that flows along the wall of the glass). To do this, turn your glass slightly to move the liquid and if the tears are fine and come down quickly then the wine is acidic. Otherwise, if the tears are thick, then the wine is fat.

With your eyesight, you can also have fun guessing the age of a wine thanks to the colour of its colour. For example, for red wines, a "young" wine has a colour between violet and purple that turns to tile and brown over the years. White wines are transparent when young and become a little more orange with the years. An orange wine can also characterize a sweet white wine.

2nd step: The Olfactory Examination

For this step, which is divided into two stages, you will have to use your nose to discover all the aromas present in the wine!

It will be necessary to start by discovering the first nose, i.e. to smell the wine for the first time before shaking it in the glass. If the wine does not smell good, the bottle is probably corked. If you don't feel anything, you should air the wine to bring out its aromas. It's the second nose.

The second nose consists in rotating the wine in the glass in a circular way and then smelling the wine. A word of advice: put your glass of wine on the table before turning it slowly, you will avoid a disaster. This allows the aromas to rise to the surface and reveal themselves to your nose when they are in contact with the air. These aromas come from the grape variety from which the wine was made. They therefore provide valuable information about wine. If you can't recognize the aromas, first try to find out if the smell of the wine is pleasant. After that, you will only have to proceed by elimination, does the smell remind you of flowers, fruits, herbs, or spices?

After these two steps, you will finally be ready to taste your wine.

3rd step: The Gustative Examination

To taste a wine you have to take a small amount in the mouth. This step is the most technical of the three. Once the wine is in the mouth, you will have to open your lips to suck in air and then exhale through your nose. This allows the aromas to circulate between your mouth and your nose.

In this step we distinguish three stages:

  • The attack: when you take the wine in the mouth, it can be weak, frank, or intense. You can tell if the wine is sour, sweet, salty or bitter for the first time.

  • The middle palate: this makes it possible to analyse the wine, its texture and its flavours. You have to turn the wine in your mouth as if you were chewing it.

  • The finish: this is when you can analyse the length in the mouth. That is, the length of time you continue to smell the aromas.

Through these 3 steps, it is therefore obvious that the use of each of your senses is essential, and in particular your olfactory and gustatory senses. The most important thing to remember from a tasting is simple: do I like this wine? This appreciation is personal and totally subjective because tastes and colours are not debatable. During a tasting, it is not necessary to be afraid to make a bad comment, the appreciation of a wine depends on our tastes but also on our experiences.

Lou Dubois for Les Grappes

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