Chapter 3 - Tasting and Describing Wine

This unit aims to teach the basic wine tasting process to your customers and how to describe wines in a way that is appropriate to the situation, whether this is to communicate your passion and feelings about the wine or to give a more objective description. These words can then be put into writing a back label, wine fact sheet or a shelf talker.

The ability to describe a wine in a way that everyone understands is one of the main aims of this book. We draw on the Wine and Spirit Education Trust’s (WSET) ’Systematic Approach to Wine Tasting’ as well as the ’Wine Aroma Wheel’ from Dr Ann Noble and the “Mouthfeel Wheel’ from Dr Richard Gawel to provide a basis to a standard vocabulary for describing wine.

It is understood that not all wine professionals and wine lovers use this clearly defined vocabulary, so commonly used phrases that act as alternatives are also included.

Emphasis will be, not only on describing the aromas and flavours of a wine, but also on describing the different wine styles and on linking the decisions made during the grapegrowing and winemaking with the results in the glass. This section will combine the elements from the first two chapters together into this one. We will focus on the terms for white and red wines mainly. We will cover the specific tasting terms for the other wine types such as sparkling and fortified wines in the second section of this book.