Placing it all Together - Wine Analysis Ovierview - Part Two
Last week, I focused on a review of Articles 36 to 41 showing the key points of each article and the important take away. Today, we will finish with the remaining articles (which I will link to) guiding you on the principles of wine analysis.
Again, let’s focus on the key points as these will give you more insight into tasting a wine to maximize your enjoyment. The format to explain everything will be the following:
- An overview of the article (linked for you to go back and read),
- Explanation of the highlights for you to remember (or to go back and quickly review), and
- The Takeaway, which is the main concept that I want you to remember.
Sweetness is different for everyone. Some people crave sweetness in the form of candy, others in an apple. No matter what sweetness level you crave, this normally is reflected in your wine selection. This is a very important aspect for you to know as it will help you when selecting a wine.
The article shows the best focal point for sweetness is located at the tip of your tongue. It discusses the levels of sugar from dry to luscious. These are listed in grams per liter. However, I explain an easy way to determine what the sugar levels are in wine. I return to reference the Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc wine that I’ve been sampling as a base.
I want you to focus on being able to tell if a wine has residual sugar. If you know this and can compare it with your preferred sweetness level, you can pick out a wine you will love. For example, I know people that prefer drinking a sweet wine over anything else. GREAT!! Seriously!!! I want you to be happy so being able to pick up sweetness and vocalize it to others is amazing. It will help you get what you want.
Acid is tricky to understand because we can confuse sour and acid. However, even though acid represents a very small proportion of a wine, it has a big part in the overall profile. Acid has a number of types from citric to tannins. I focused on the major ones and how you can detect them.
The article provides a great exercise involving a lime wedge to show the effect of acid producing saliva. Doing this shows you how much saliva is produced indicating high acid levels. Going back to the Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc gives us a comparison for reference.
Remember that saliva production can help you measure the acids levels in a wine. If my palate flushes a ton of saliva, then the wine has high levels of acid. For food pairing, we try to match the acid levels. Similar acid levels effectively cancel each other out. This allows other components to move to the forefront.
This is a great article explaining the world of tannins in wine. Tannin is another form of acid but it’s treated separately as it has unique effects on a wine.
Just remember that you have grape tannins which naturally come from the grape skins, seeds, and stems. These can be detected all over the palate (just like chewing on a grape seed). Oak tannins come from exposure to the wine with oak in some fashion. Oak tannins are felt under the tip of the tongue (using the example of testing a 9-volt battery – WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT DO).
Tannins are important as they affect mouthfeel. In addition, oak tannins tend to add aromas and flavors (vanilla, toast, etc.) to the wine. This is very important for us to know as it will affect food pairings.
I want you to recognize types of tannin. If you can do this, you can determine if you like tannins in your wine. I always want you to be able to describe what you like. This is important in being able to pick out a wine you enjoy. For example, if you tell me, you do not like tannin, I’m not going to pick out a Barolo for you to try.
Body is a major component in all beverages, but it’s overlooked. We focus on acids, sweetness levels and aromas but tend to forget about body. Body defined is the weight of the beverage on your palate. Every day, we make selections on what we consume based upon its body/weight. If you look at the above picture, you can imagine the body/weight of the milk in these glasses. Based upon your preference, you may like whole milk. Skim milk drinkers will find whole milk too heavy.
To help you determine body, I gave the example related to milk classifications:
- Light body wines = skim milk’s weight
- Medium body wines = 2% milk’s weight
- Full Body wines = whole milk’s weight
The article finishes with the example related to Oyster Bay’s weight. I discuss pairing with fish and options for an effective pairing.
The goal is to explain the importance of body and its concept. Always attempt to match the weight of both the wine and food. For example, the wine from Oyster Bay has a medium plus body. Knowing this helps with pairing as we attempt to match the weight of the food with the weight of the wine. If we tried to pair a grilled ribeye with the Sauvignon Blanc, it would not work. The dish will be too heavy to match the body of the wine and mask it.
Flavor is talked about all the time when we refer to food and beverages. Yesterday, I purchased the limited BLT flavor potato chips to see what they taste like. When we focus on the flavors in a wine, we need to focus solely on this.
In the article, I use the example of describing the flavor of whipping cream. You can see how confusing this can be, as well as its difficulty. It’s easy to mix flavor and mouthfeel terms. However, I list some points to focus on to help you with flavors:
- Always describe simple flavors in common terms.
- Do not assume that since an aroma was detected that a similar flavor will be in the wine.
- Clear your mind and use memories to help you identify flavors based on your experiences.
Lastly, I finish with the flavors in the Oyster Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc to show you what I found to compare with your notes.
Even though flavors can be difficult to define in a wine, we have been trained (by our environment) to locate flavors. I want you to be able to harness this to figure out a wine’s flavor profile.
This is a great deal of information and I hope that I’m explaining it well for you to understand. Please note that the goal is:
- to look at a wine’s components (which you already do),
- to help determine if you like the wine (your decision),
- To help determine your individual profile (what you like or dislike),
- To be able to discuss and pick out a wine (to make an educated selection), and
- To be able to get some notes for food pairing (to match the food to the wine) to make it more enjoyable.
I want you to be happy. Life is too short to drink and eat items you do not like or do not give you maximum enjoyment. I’m a big believer in this. Everything we eat or drink can affect our health, and our emotional well-being. Let’s enjoy this to the fullest.