What do they tell you ?
What to do : Look down through the wine to see how deep the colour is. Tip the glass at 45° to see the colour at the very edge of the wine.
Purple is the colour of youth
Red = "rubis" – the wine has not started ageing
Slightly orange/brown at the rim = "garnet" the wine has started the process of aging
The colour is important particularly for red wines to gage the concentration of a wine and to ascertain its age
A quick sniff to see if the wine smells clean. A second longer sniff with swirling of the glass identifies how complex (how many different famillies of aromas you can smell eg flowers, fruits, wood, spices…) and how intense the nose is. "Bouquet" refers to a wine that has aged.
We each have a very complex, very individual "smelling" (olfactory) system which can smell 1000s of different aromas.
Take a small mouthful of wine and make sure that your tongue is covered with it
In the mouth first of all we have "attack" (2-3 seconds), the evolution of the wine is the "middle" of the palate (3 –5 seconds) and the "finish" (5-10 seconds….). The length of the "finish" defines the quality of the wine.
There are only four flavours we taste with the taste buds on our tongues ; salt, sugar, acid and bitterness. In red wines it comes down to the balance between three factors acidity, sugar and tannins (bitterness).
This balance defines the « body » of a wine – if it has a weak or strong structure.
Another sense is important in the mouth (the palate) and that is the sense of touch ; how the wine feels in the mouth, the texture, silky, creamy or rounded…
As the wine warms up in the mouth, it releases more powerful aromas (of fruits, flowers, spices as before) which pass up the back of the throat to the smelling (olfactory) centre at the top of the nose. This is called "retro-olfaction" and is an important part of the "tasting" of a wine ! And explains why we cannot fully taste when we have a cold.
We have given you a few words to help you explain what it is you like. Use your own and enjoy !