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Posts tagged ‘Red Wine Tasting’

Still red wines Country
Akhasheni Georgia
Aglianico Italy
Amarone Italy
Barbaresco Italy
Barbera Italy
Barolo Italy
Beaujolais France
Blaufränkischer Austria
Bobal Spain
Bordeaux France
Brancellao Spain
Brunello di Montalcino Italy
Burgundy France
Cabernet Franc France, USA (California, Virginia)
Cabernet Sauvignon Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, France, Greece, Italy, Moldova, New Zealand, Romania, South Africa, Turkey, USA (California, Texas, Washington), Venezuela
Cannonau Italy
Carmenere Chile
Cencibel Spain
Cerasuolo di Vittoria Italy
Cesanese Italy
Chianti Italy
Crianza Spain
Cviček Slovenia
Dimyat Bulgaria
Dingač Croatia
Fetească Neagră Romania
Fetească Regală Romania
Garnacha, also known as Grenache and as Cannonau Australia, France, South America, Spain, USA (California)
Gumza Bulgaria
Kagor Moldova
Kalecik Karasi Turkey
Kavadarka Republic of Macedonia
Kindzmarauli Georgia
Kratoshija Republic of Macedonia
Khvanchkara Georgia
Lambrusco Italy
Malbec Argentina, France
Mavrodafni Greece
Mavrud Bulgaria
Mazuela Spain
Melnik Bulgaria
Merlot Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, France, Italy, Moldova, New Zealand, Romania, South Africa, Turkey, USA (California, Texas, Washington), Venezuela
Mirodia Red Moldova
Monastrell Spain
Mukuzani Georgia
Norton USA (Eastern and Midwestern States)
Nero d’Avola Italy
Nosiola Italy
Ojaleshi Georgia
Pamid Bulgaria
Petite Sirah Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, USA (California, Washington)
Pinot Meunier France, Germany
Pinot Noir Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, New Zealand, Romania, South Africa, USA (California, Oregon, Washington)
Pinotage Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Plavac mali Croatia
Prieto Picudo Spain
Rioja Spain
Saperavi Georgia
Saint-Emilion France
Syrah/Shiraz Australia, Croatia, France (Rhône), Greece, Italy, South Africa, Turkey, USA (California, Texas, Washington State), Venezuela
T’ga za Jug Republic of Macedonia
Tempranillo Argentina, Spain, Venezuela
Teran Croatia, Slovenia
Trollinger Germany
Valpolicella Italy
Vitach Republic of Macedonia
Vranac/Vranec Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia
Zinfandel/Primitivo/Crljenak Kaštelanski USA (California, Washington), Italy, Croatia
Zweigelt Austria
Sparkling red wines Country
Brachetto Italy
Cabernet Sauvignon Australia
Gutturnio Italy
Lambrusco Italy
Syrah/Shiraz Australia

Source: Wikipedia

List of Red Wine Grape Varieties

February 12th, 2008

Wine is usually made from one or more varieties of the European species, Vitis vinifera. When one of these varieties, such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, or Merlot, for example, is used as the predominant grape (usually defined by law as a minimum of 75 or 85%) the result is a varietal, as opposed to a blended wine. Blended wines are in no way inferior to varietal wines; some of the world’s most valued and expensive wines from the Bordeaux, Rioja or Tuscany regions are a blend of grape varieties of the same vintage.

Wine can also be made from other species or from hybrids, created by the genetic crossing of two species. Vitis labrusca, Vitis aestivalis, Vitis rupestris, Vitis rotundifolia and Vitis riparia are native North American grapes, usually grown for eating in fruit form or made into grape juice, jam, or jelly, but sometimes made into wine, eg. Concord wine (Vitis labrusca species).

Hybrids are not to be confused with the practice of grafting. Most of the world’s vineyards are planted with European vinifera vines that have been grafted onto North American species rootstock. This is common practice because North American grape species are resistant to phylloxera, a root louse that eventually kills the vine. In the late 19th century, Europe’s vineyards were devastated by the bug, leading to massive vine deaths and eventual replanting. Grafting is done in every wine-producing country of the world except for the Canary Islands, Chile and Argentina, which have not been exposed to the insect.

The variety of grape(s), aspect (direction of slope), elevation, and topography of the vineyard, type and chemistry of soil, the climate and seasonal conditions under which grapes are grown, and the local yeast cultures all together form the concept of “terroir.” The range of possibilities lead to great variety among wine products, which is extended by the fermentation, finishing, and aging processes. Many small producers use growing and production methods that preserve or accentuate the aroma and taste influences of their unique terroir.

However, flavor differences are not desirable for producers of mass-market table wine or other cheaper wines, where consistency is more important. Producers will try to minimize differences in sources of grapes by using wine making technology such as micro-oxygenation, tannin filtration, cross-flow filtration, thin film evaporation, and spinning cone.

Single species grapesWhile some of the grapes in this section are hybrids, they are hybridized within a single species (for example, Niagara). For those grapes hybridized across species, see below.

Vitis vinifera grapes (wine)

Red grapes

Source: Wikipedia

The use of wine tasting descriptors allow the taster an opportunity to put into words the aromas and flavors that they experience and can be used in assessing the overall quality of wine. Many wine writers, like Karen MacNeil in her book The Wine Bible, note that the difference between casual drinkers and serious wine tasters is the focus and systematic approach to tasting wine with an objective description of what they are sensing. The primary source of a person’s ability to taste wine is derived from their olfactory senses. A taster’s own personal experiences play a significant role in conceptualizing what they are tasting and attaching a description to that perception. The individual nature of tasting means that descriptors may be perceived differently among various tasters.

The following is a list of wine tasting descriptors and a common meaning of the terms.

Astringent An overly tannic white wine.
Acidic A wine with a noticeable sense of acidity.
Balanced A wine that incorporates all its main components—tannins, acid, sweetness, and alcohol—in a manner where no one single component stands out.
Big A wine with intense flavor, or high in alcohol.
Body The sense of alcohol in the wine and the sense of feeling in the mouth.
Bouquet The layers of smells and aromas perceived in a wine.
Chewy The sense of tannins that is not overwhelming.
Closed A wine that is not very aromatic.
Complex A wine that gives a perception of being multi-layered in terms of flavors and aromas.
Concentrated Intense flavors.
Connected A sense of the wine’s ability to relay its place of origin or terroir
Crisp A pleasing sense of acidity in the wine.

Dry A wine that is lacking the perception of sweetness.
Expressive A wine with clearly projected aromas and flavors.
Fat A wine that is full in body and has a sense of viscosity.
Finish The sense and perception of the wine after swallowing.
Firm A stronger sense of tannins.
Flabby A lacking sense of acidity.
Fresh A positive perception of acidity.
Fruit The perception of the grape characteristics and sense of body that is unique to the varietal.
Green Overly acidic wine. Typically used to describe a wine made from unripe fruit.
Hard Overly tannic wine.
Heavy A wine that is very alcoholic with too much sense of body.
Hollow A wine lacking the sense of fruit.
Hot Overly alcoholic wine.

Lean The sense of acidity in the wine that lacks a perception of fruit.
Mature A wine that has aged to its peak point of quality.
Oaky A wine with a noticeable perception of the effects of oak. This can include the sense of vanilla, sweet spices like nutmeg, a creamy body and a smoky or toasted flavor.
Powerful A wine with a high level of alcohol that is not excessive alcoholic.
Rich A sense of sweetness in the wine that is not excessively sweet.
Round A wine that has a good sense of body that is not overly tannic.
Smooth A wine with a pleasing texture. Typically refers to a wine with soft tannins.
Soft A wine that is not overly tannic.
Supple A wine that is not overly tannic.
Sweet A wine with a noticeable sense of sugar levels.
Tannic A wine with aggressive tannins.
Tart A wine with high levels of acidity.
Toasty A sense of the charred or smoky taste from an oaked wine.

Source: Wikipedia

Red Wine Glasses

February 12th, 2008

Red Wine Glass | Red WinesA wine glass is a type of glass stemware which is used to drink and taste wine. It is generally composed of three parts: the bowl, stem, and foot. Selection of a particular wine glass for a wine style is important, as the glass shape can influence its perception.

Proper Use

It is important to note the most obvious, but often most neglected, part of the wine glass—the stem. The proper way to drink from the wine glass is to grasp it by the stem and drink. The purpose of this is so the temperature of the wine is not affected when holding the glass. This is achieved because the stem is not in direct contact with the wine. It would be more difficult to control the temperature of the wine if one held the glass by the bowl because it is in direct contact with the wine.


Wine glasses made of fused or cut glass will often interfere with the flavor of the wine, as well as creating a rough, thick lip, from which it is not as pleasurable to drink. Blown glass results in a better vessel, with a thinner lip, and is usually acceptable for casual wine drinkers.

High quality wine glasses are often made of lead crystal, which is not technically crystal, but is merely called it through convention.

Lead crystal glasses’ advantages are primarily aesthetic, having a higher index of refraction, thus changing the effect of light passing through them, but lead poisoning becomes a danger. Using lead in the crystal matrix also offers several advantages in the material’s workability during production. Wine glasses are generally not coloured or frosted as this would impede the appreciation of its colour.


The shape of the glass is also very important, as it concentrates the flavor and aroma (or bouquet) to emphasize the varietal’s characteristic.

The shape of the glass also directs the wine itself into the best area of the mouth from the varietal. Though to say that a given varietal has a specific target area of delivery in the mouth is wildly speculative, despite the marketing attempts of prominent stemware manufacturers, such as Riedel and Spiegelau, to make consumers believe this. Some small benefit may be derived from drinking a given varietal from its specially designed glass, but to go so far as to say it improves the taste of the wine would be to go too far. In general the opening of the glass is not wider than the widest part of the bowl.

The stem of a glass is an important feature as it provides a way to hold the glass without warming the wine from body heat. It also prevents fingerprints from smearing the glass, and makes the glass easier to swirl. Except for the wine connoisseur, wine glasses can be divided into three types: red wine glasses, white wine glasses and champagne flutes.

Red wine glasses

The shape of the glass is also very important, as it concentrates the flavor and aroma (or bouquet) to emphasize the varietal’s characteristic. The shape of the glass also directs the wine itself into the best area of the mouth from the varietal. Though to say that a given varietal has a specific target area of delivery in the mouth is wildly speculative, despite the marketing attempts of prominent stemware manufacturers, such as Riedel and Spiegelau, to make consumers believe this. Some small benefit may be derived from drinking a given varietal from its specially designed glass, but to go so far as to say it improves the taste of the wine would be to go too far. In general the opening of the glass is not wider than the widest part of the bowl.

The stem of a glass is an important feature as it provides a way to hold the glass without warming the wine from body heat. It also prevents fingerprints from smearing the glass, and makes the glass easier to swirl. Except for the wine connoisseur, wine glasses can be divided into three types: red wine glasses, white wine glasses and champagne flutes.

Glasses for red wine are characterized by their rounder, wider bowl, which gives the wine a chance to breathe. Since most reds are meant to be consumed at room temperature, the wider bowl also allows the wine to cool more quickly after hand contact has warmed it. Red wine glasses can have particular styles of their own, such as:

Bordeaux glass: Tall with a wide bowl, and is designed for full bodied red wines like Cabernet and Merlot as it directs wine to the back of the mouth.

Burgundy glass: Larger than the Bordeaux glass, it has a larger bowl to accumulate aromas of more delicate red wines such as Pinot Noir. This style of glass directs wine to the tip of the tongue.

Source: Wikipedia

Red Wine Serving Temperature

February 12th, 2008

The wine serving temperature at can greatly influence the taste of a wine. Serving of a wine cool can help to mask the flaws seen in young or cheap wines, whereas serving wine warmer can allow the bouquet and complexity to be expressed, which is ideal for aged and expensive wines. Lower temperatures also repress the ‘bite’ that alcohol can give in lighter bodied wines. Below is a table showing ideal wine serving temperatures.

°C °F Wine style
19 66 Armagnac, Brandy, Cognac
18 64.5 Full bodied red wines, Vintage port, Shiraz
17 62 Tawny port
15 59 Medium bodied red wines
14 57 Amontillado sherry
13 55.5 Light bodied red wines
5 45 Goon
10 50 Rosé, Dessert wines
9 48 Vintage sparkling

Ideal serving temperature and ideal storage temperature can differ.

Source: Wikipedia

Wine Tasting | Red Wines

February 12th, 2008

French Taste of Wines | Red Wines
Wine tasting (often, in wine circles, simply tasting) is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. While the practice of wine tasting is as ancient as its production, a more formalized methodology has slowly become established from the 14th century onwards. Modern, professional wine tasters (such as sommeliers or buyers for retailers) use a constantly-evolving formal terminology which is used to describe the range of perceived flavors, aromas and general characteristics of a wine. More informal, recreational tasting may use similar terminology, usually involving a much less analytical process for a more general, personal appreciation. The results of the four recognized stages to wine tasting –

- appearance
- “in glass” fragrance
- “in mouth” sensations
- “finish” (aftertaste)
– are combined in order to establish the following properties of a wine: complexity and character
- potential (suitability for aging or drinking)
- possible faults

A wine’s overall quality assessment, based on this examination, follows further careful description and comparison with recognized standards, both with respect to other wines in its price range and according to known factors pertaining to the region or vintage; if it is typical of the region or diverges in style; if it uses certain wine-making techniques, such as barrel fermentation or malolactic fermentation, or any other remarkable or unusual characteristics.

Whereas wines are regularly tasted in isolation, a wine’s quality assessment is more objective when performed alongside several other wines, in what are known as tasting “flights”. Wines may be deliberately selected for their vintage (”horizontal” tasting) or proceed from a single winery (”vertical” tasting), to better compare vineyard and vintages, respectively. Alternatively, in order to promote an unbiased analysis, bottles and even glasses may be disguised in a “blind” tasting, to rule out any prejudicial awareness of either vintage or winery.

Blind tasting

To ensure impartial judgment of a wine, it should be served blind — that is, without the taster(s) having seen the label or bottle shape. Blind tasting may also involve serving the wine from a black wine glass to mask the color of the wine. A taster’s judgment can be prejudiced by knowing details of a wine, such as geographic origin, price, reputation, color, or other considerations.

Scientific research has long demonstrated the power of suggestion in perception as well as the strong effects of expectancies. For example, people expect more expensive wine to have more desirable characteristics than less expensive wine. When given wine that they are falsely told is expensive they virtually always report it as tasting better than the very same wine when they are told that it is inexpensive. French researcher Frédéric Brochet “submitted a mid-range Bordeaux in two different bottles, one labeled as a cheap table wine, the other bearing a grand cru etiquette” and obtained predictable results. Tasters described the supposed grand cru as “woody, complex, and round” and the supposed cheap wine as “short, light, and faulty.” Blind tastings have repeatedly demonstrated that price is not highly correlated with the evaluations made by most people who taste wine.

Similarly, people have expectations about wines because of their geographic origin, producer, vintage, color, and many other factors. For example, when Brochet served a white wine he received all the usual descriptions: “fresh, dry, honeyed, lively.” Later he served the same wine dyed red and received the usual red terms: “intense, spicy, supple, deep.”

The world of wine has numerous myths and exaggerations that are only now being disproven scientifically, yet they influence perceptions and expectancies. Not even professional tasters are immune to the strong effects of expectancies. Therefore, the need for blind tasting continues.

Vertical and horizontal tasting

Vertical and horizontal wine tastings are wine tasting events that are arranged to highlight differences between similar wines.

In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery are tasted. This emphasizes differences between various vintages.
In a horizontal tasting, the wines are all from the same vintage but are from different wineries. Keeping wine variety or type and wine region the same helps emphasize differences in winery styles.

Tasting flights

Tasting flight is a term used by wine tasters to describe a selection of wines, usually between three and eight glasses, but sometimes as many as fifty, presented for the purpose of sampling and comparison.

Glasses used in tasting flights are usually smaller than normal wine glasses, and they are often presented on top of a sheet of paper which identifies each wine and gives some information about each grape or vineyard. This format allows tasters to compare and contrast different wines.

An extended tasting will typically consist of several flights, each with a theme. For example, several wines from the same region and vintage would comprise a flight, or several wines from the same variety but different regions. It is typically the responsibility of the tasting organizer to select flights that offer maximum illumination of similarities and differences, while at the same time making sure the progression of flights is appropriate.

Serving temperature

For a tasting, still white wines should be served at between 16 and 20 °C (60 and 68 °F). If white wine is served below this temperature there is a tendency for the bouquet and flavor to be suppressed. For red wines a serving temperature of from 21.1 °C (70 °F) to room temperature is recommended. If wine is properly stored (12.7 °C (55 °F) at 80% humidity) time should be allowed for the wine to reach proper temperature before service. There are many people who like to taste Champagne and other sparklers very well chilled. However, serving wine that is very cold can completely suppress aromas and flavors of the wine. In fact, if one allows a sparkler to completely discharge the carbon dioxide and is tasted as a still wine at 20 °C (68 °F), one is better able to determine if the wine is drinkable. Many a bad sparkler hides beneath a cloud of cold. If one is comparing wines then all the whites and all the reds should be served at their respective optimum temperatures, so they may be judged in a standardized way.


The shape of a wineglass can have a subtle impact on the perception of wine, especially its bouquet.Typically, the ideal shape is considered to be wider toward the bottom, with a narrower aperture at the top (’egg’, or perhaps, ‘beaker’ shaped). ‘Tulip’-shaped glasses, which are widest at the top are considered the least ideal. Many wine tastings use ISO XL5 glasses, which are ‘egg’-shaped. Interestingly, the effect of glass shape does not appear to be related to whether the glass is pleasing to look at.

Order of tasting

Tasting order is very important, as heavy or sweet wines can dominate lighter wines and skew the taster’s assessment of those wines. As such, wines should be tasted in the following order: sparkling wines; light whites, then heavy whites; roses; light reds; heavy reds; sweet wines.

Without having tasted the wines, however, one does not know if, for example, a white is heavy or light. Before tasting, try to determine the order the wines should be assessed in, by appearance and nose alone. Remember that heavy wines will be deeper in color and generally more intense on the nose. Sweeter wines, being denser, will leave thick, viscous streaks (called legs) down the inside of the glass, when swirled.

The wine tasting process

Tasting Wine | Red Wines Judging color is the first step in tasting wineThere are five basic steps in tasting wine: color, swirl, smell, taste, and savour. This is also known as the five Ss: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Savor. During this process, a taster must look for clarity, varietal character, integration, expressiveness, complexity, and connectedness.

A wine’s color is better judged by putting it against a white background. The wine glass is put at an angle in order to see the colors. Colors can give the taster clues to the grape variety, and whether the wine was aged in wood.

Characteristics assessed during tasting

Varietal character describes how much a wine presents its inherent grape aromas. A wine taster also looks for integration, which is a state in which none of the components of the wine (acid, tannin, alcohol, etc) is out of balance with the other components. When a wine is well balanced, the wine is said to have achieved a harmonious fusion.

Another important quality of the wine to look for is its expressiveness. Expressiveness is the quality the “wine possesses when its aromas and flavors are well-defined and clearly projected. The complexity of the wine is affected by many factors, one of which may be the multiplicity of its flavors. The connectedness of the wine, a rather abstract and difficult to ascertain quality, is how connected is the bond between the wine and the land where it comes from.

Connoisseur wine tasting

A wine’s quality can be judged by its bouquet and taste. The bouquet is the total aromatic experience of the wine. Assessing a wine’s bouquet can also reveal faults such as cork taint, oxidation due to heat overexposure, and yeast contamination (e.g., due to Brettanomyces). To some wine aficionados, the presence of some Brettanomyces aromatic characteristics is considered a positive attribute; however to others, even the slightest hint of Brettanomyces character is cause for a wine’s rejection.

The bouquet of wine is best revealed by gently swirling the wine in a wine glass to expose it to more oxygen and release more aromatic etheric, ester, and aldehyde molecules that comprise the essential components of a wine’s bouquet.

Pausing to experience a wine’s bouquet aids the wine taster in anticipating the wine’s flavors and focusing the palate. The “nose” of a wine - its bouquet or aroma - is the major determinate of perceived flavor in the mouth. Once inside the mouth, the aromatics are further liberated by exposure to body heat, and transferred retronasally to the olfactory receptor site. It is here that the complex taste experience characteristic of a wine actually commences.

Thoroughly tasting a wine involves perception of its array of taste and mouthfeel attributes, which involve the combination of textures, flavors, and overall “structure”. Following appreciation of its olfactory characteristics, the wine taster savors a wine by holding it in the mouth for a few seconds to saturate the taste buds. When the wine is allowed pass slowly through the mouth it presents the connoisseur with the fullest gustatory profile available to the human palate.

The acts of pausing and focusing through each step distinguishes wine tasting from simple quaffing. Through this process, the full array of aromatic molecules is captured and interpreted by approximately 15 million olfactory receptors, comprising a few hundred olfactory receptor classes. When tasting several wines in succession, however, key aspects of this fuller experience (length and finish, or aftertaste) must necessarily be sacrificed through expectoration.

Although taste qualities are known to be widely distributed throughout the oral cavity, the concept of an anatomical “tongue map” yet persists in the wine tasting arena, in which different tastes are believed to map to different areas of the tongue. A widely accepted example is the misperception that the tip of the tongue uniquely tells how sweet a wine is and the upper edges tell its acidity.

Scoring wine

As part of the tasting process, and as a way of comparing the merits of the various wines, wines are given scores according to a relatively set system. This may be either explicitly weighting different aspects, or by global judgment (although the same aspects would be considered). These aspects are 1) the appearance of the wine, 2) the nose or smell, 3) the palate or taste, and 4) overall. Different systems weight these differently (e.g., appearance 15%, nose 35%, palate 50%). Typically, no modern wine would score less than half on any scale (which would effectively indicate an obvious fault). It is more common for wines to be scored out of 20 (including half marks) in Europe and parts of Australasia, and out of 100 in the US. However, different critics tend to have their own preferred system, and some gradings are also given out of 5 (again with half marks).


As an alcoholic drink, wine can affect the consumer’s judgment. As such, at formal tastings, where dozens of wines may be assessed, wine tasters generally spit the wine out after they have assessed its quality. However, since wine is absorbed through the skin inside the mouth, tasting from twenty to twenty-five samplings can produce an intoxicating effect, depending on the alcoholic content of the wine.

Visiting wineries

Traveling to wine regions is another way of increasing skill in tasting. Many wine producers in wine regions all over the world offer tastings of their wine. Depending on the country or region, tasting at the winery may incur a small charge to allow the producer to cover costs.

Whenever traveling to an area where you might want to visit a vineyard or winery, call first to see when you might be able to visit. This prevents arriving at a time when you cannot be accommodated.

It is not considered rude to spit out wine at a winery, even in the presence of the wine maker or owner. Generally, a spittoon will be provided. In some regions of the world, tasters simply spit on the floor or onto gravel surrounding barrels. It is polite to inquire about where to spit before beginning tasting.

Attending Wine Schools

A growing number of wine schools can be found, offering wine tasting classes to the public. These programs often help a wine taster hone and develop their abilities in a controlled setting. Some also offer professional training for sommeliers and wine makers in the art of wine tasting.

Source: Wikipedia

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