Are you a wine lover, do you like to pair your dishes with wine or do you simply enjoy a glass of this precious nectar from time to time?
Today we invite you to go beyond the simple and comfortable “I like/dislike” with an unpretentious introduction to the complex art of wine tasting.
Wine tasting, when taken seriously, is a real ancestral ritual. It is necessary to follow three main essential steps involving three senses and which will gradually reveal to you the character and aromas of the wine.
Before anything, in order not to confuse the sensory messages during the tasting, a few recommendations are in order.
Firstly, it is advisable not to eat strong-tasting foods before tasting wine, as it risks parasitizing sensory perceptions and only being able to do a partial analysis. Likewise, choosing a neutral and calm environment (odors and colors) for tasting is recommended.
Secondly, the temperature of the wine plays a major role in tasting. Each type of wine has its ideal tasting temperature so that they reveal their aromas and bouquet to you optimally. This ideal serving temperature is therefore anticipated when opening the bottles, which must also not be taken out too early. Even if you are exclusively tasting full-bodied reds, they are not supposed to be served above 18°C. Dry white wines reveal all their aromatic potential between 10° and 12°C.
Furthermore, aerating both young and aged wines by decanting will awaken the aromas of the wine and harmonize all the flavors. The wine in fact needs to re-oxygenate after the time spent ageing in the bottle... For aged wines, decanting also enables to separate any possible deposits which generally form over time. Only wines at optimal maturity can dispense with this step. Letting it sit for about an hour will be enough for most wines. During the aeration time, it goes without saying that the wine must be stored in a place at the appropriate temperature.
You will need a suitable glass for tasting: choose a stemmed glass. It must be colorless, transparent, odorless and without residue. Beyond an obvious aesthetic, the stemmed glass above all prevents the wine from heating up too quickly since it allows manual grip by the stem. The palm of the hand thus transfers body heat to the base of the glass and not to the wine. It will also be appropriate to choose several glasses with appropriate shapes depending on the number and type of wines tasted. It is customary to pay attention to the ratio between the diameter of the glass and the diameter of the opening. A wine will blossom differently depending on the glass.
Finally, the tasting of several wines must be carried out gradually. Generally speaking, the wines are tasted in a specific order and are served in a crescendo way: white or rosé wines are offered before red wines, light wines before those which release more full-bodied aromas, and dry wines before wines. soft and fluffy.
Have you followed all these recommendations? So let's move on to the tasting…
Once served in the glass, the analysis can already begin... With the eyes initially because the eye is the first sense awakened during a tasting. Thus, a wine is first tasted with the eye.
First observation, that of the color: pale, medium, deep, dark, deep, intense. What does it reveal to us? The color nuances of the wine already give valuable information about its age, the state of its maturation and its ageing potential. Indeed, red wines that are still young generally have purplish reflections. Very young white wines (one to two years old) have green reflections (compared to orange for old wines).
Of course, the youth of a wine is ultimately relative since a great wine for ageing will still be considered young 5 years after its bottling.
The color of a wine is never stable, it evolves with its ageing. The intensity of the color is also explained by the type of grape varieties used in the blend.
To assess the limpidity of the wine, do not hesitate to tilt your glass slightly above a white support then swirl the wine in the glass. This examination gives information about the health of the wine. If it is clear, shiny and transparent, the wine is in its best form.
Last clue in the visual analysis of the wine: how fat is the wine, that is to say the ability of the wine to adhere to the glass when it is tilted and then straightened. It is a good indication of the smoothness of the wine, of its ethanol or glycerol content. We also talk about the tears, the legs or the thigh of the wine. These are the small drops that form on the inside of the glass when the wine moves. By observing these tears, it is possible to determine whether the wine is light or high in alcohol. A light wine has almost no drops. On the contrary, the thicker the tears, the higher the alcohol and glycerol (fat) content.
Now comes the olfactory analysis of the wine, a difficult exercise to understand. The human nose being sensitive to several thousand different odors (10,000 according to a 1927 study), it naturally comes into play in wine tasting during two key stages. It is about putting words to the olfactory perception of aromas by calling on our olfactory memory.
The first nose allows you to smell the wine without it having undergone aeration. It helps the taster and in particular the sommelier to know if the wine needs to be decanted. This first step consists of smelling the wine in the glass held by the stem to avoid possible parasitic odors such as perfume. The wine is then still and not aerated.
The second nose comes after: it reveals the aromas of the wine once it has been aerated. It is therefore obtained by stirring the glass, consequently exhaling hidden secondary aromas. These aromas are linked to the sugar content of the grapes.
Three large families of aromas can then be discerned: the primary aromas intrinsically linked to the grape varieties and the terroir, the secondary aromas resulting from the winemaking process and finally the tertiary aromas resulting from the maturation of the wine.
This final stage of the tasting will reveal the harmony of a wine and its quality. To do this, you will need to evaluate the balance of its flavors and aromas. Certain flavors, which are too pronounced, neutralize others. Harmony essentially lies in the balance between sweet, sour and bitter tastes. There are three phases in this last stage: the attack, the development in the mouth and the finish. Go ahead, take a small sip of wine in your mouth, it will reveal its last secrets to you!
The attack is the first impression the wine gives. Once you have a small sip of wine in your mouth, two main techniques compete: chugging or chewing the wine. To crush the wine, you hold the wine in your mouth, purse your lips into a rounded shape and suck in a little air using your tongue. This allows the aromas of the wine to be perceived through the nose by retro-olfaction.
Pour mâcher le vin, il vous suffira de maintenir le vin dans votre bouche et de le brasser légèrement comme si vous faisiez un bain de bouche.
L’attaque du vin peut être souple, franche ou vive. Vous ressentirez rapidement les saveurs sucrées, acides, salées et amères du vin.
Laissez-vous guider par vos premières sensations !
Le milieu de bouche est la phase qui s’intéresse à l’équilibre du vin. Il s’apprécie en fonction de l’harmonie qui se crée entre les composants principaux du vin, à savoir le sucre, l’acidité, l’alcool et les tanins (pour les vins rouges).
La finale correspond à l’ensemble des sensations détectées en bouche qui restent une fois le vin avalé…ou recraché ! Parmi elles, les saveurs et leur intensité, mais aussi les tanins qui font le corps d’un vin, la douceur et l’alcool, qui auront tendance à alourdir un vin, et l’acidité qui aura, elle, au contraire, tendance à l’alléger.
On évoque dans la finale la longueur en bouche. Plus les arômes persistent, plus le vin est de qualité. Une fois le vin avalé, on compte la durée de persistance des arômes en caudalie (1 caudalie = 1 seconde). Elle peut être courte, moyenne ou longue.
La finale n’est toutefois pas le seul indicateur permettant de déterminer la qualité d’un vin. En effet, l’intensité et la complexité aromatique sont également à prendre en compte. L’équilibre entre le fruité et le sucre d’un côté et de l’acidité et des tanins de l’autre entre également en jeu dans l’évaluation de la qualité d’un vin.
Les analyses olfactive et gustative permettent de déceler des similitudes avec d’autres substances naturelles telles que les fruits ou les épices. En effet, lors de ces deux étapes de la dégustation, les arômes primaires qui proviennent du fruit, les arômes secondaires qui résultent du processus de fermentation et les arômes tertiaires issus de l’élevage, de la maturation en fût et du vieillissement en bouteille se révèlent et sont classés en 12 familles différentes :
Si vous souhaitez organiser une dégustation chez vous, il peut être intéressant pour vos convives de proposer une thématique. Voici quelques suggestions de dégustations que vous pouvez envisager :
A présent, à vous de tenter l’expérience de la dégustation de vins ! Ne vous laissez pas dépasser par la dimension quelque peu technique de la dégustation, il est impératif avant toute chose de laisser parler votre ressenti et vos émotions ! Cet exercice, bien que complexe, peut s’appréhender comme un apprentissage à part entière. Répété, a fortiori avec des vins différents, il vous permettra de progressivement mieux discerner les différents arômes olfactifs et gustatifs. Ne vous découragez surtout pas si vous ne parvenez pas à sentir tous les éléments dès la première dégustation.
Et c’est avant tout un prétexte pour partager un moment convivial et pédagogique.
Bonne dégustation !
To access this site you must have reached the legal age of consumption according to the legislation in force in your country of residence.Enter