Wine Tasting and Description is not Precise, it’s subjective.


Wine writers try to describe aromas and flavours they discover in wines they taste.

Aromas are odours caused by one or more volatilized scents.

Flavours are sensory impressions of food or liquids by the chemical senses of both smell and taste.

Taste on the other hand is limited to sour, salty, sweet, and savoury (umami).

Wine writers describe wines based on their sensory backgrounds, with aromas with which they are familiar. Human beings are not measurement machines and possesse different criteria. Yet, at the end, most writers’ or wine judges evaluations end up with minimal numeric differences, if and when they are experienced enough and not biased. Some writers or judges don’t assign numbers.

As a reader, you must understand that a writer’s descriptions are guides and never a final judgement.

Also, the temperature, the glass in which the wine is served, your mood, the time of the day, your company, how the wine was stored, and how long influence your perception.

Wines change over time, and temperature changes, vibrations during transportation, and storage also change the taste.

If you don’t like the smell of mint or eucalyptus, refrain from buying some Chilean reds, and white Australian, especially mid-priced chardonnay wines.

If you like aromatic wines, go with high quality German wines.

Also, consider the fact that winemakers tailor their wines to the taste orientation of their immediate marketplace, with few exceptions not withstanding.

The human mind is flexible and prone to accept suggestions, If during a tutored tasting the instructor mentio0ns that he/she smalls “pineapple” in a white wine, then many in the audience will say that they smell it too.

Remember wine drinkers in different countries appreciate – English old style, ever so slightly oxidized red Bordeaux, Germans old and a little “over the hill” sweet Rieslings, Russians, Georgians, Armenians sweet red wines, Americans over-oaked chardonnays, Canadians very fruity red wines and off dry whites, Italians slightly acidic red and white wines, as well the French, Spanish prefer acid-driven whites, and medium bodied reds.

Wine writers taste thousands of wines every year and develop extended vocabulary with which ordinary consumers may not be familiar. Some wine writers’ stick with common everyday terms most people can relate.

Also, remember that almost all wine writers possess an extensive “aroma and flavour bank” due to their past experiences.

How many people know the smell of wet stones, or minerals, or commonly used preservatives in winemaking? (Think of icing glass, sulphites, casein, bentonite, gelatin)

Most of the above are additives; they are used in the winemaking process to achieve a desired effect. Few wine drinkers would be able to recognize any of those and be allergic to any of them except sulphite, which is prominently displayed on all labels, as some people are allergic to it.

As a regular wine drinker and reader of comments choose one writer whose palate seems to be close to yours, and you will experience no disappointments.

Hrayr Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.

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