Educate your Sense of Taste.

The third part of wine tasting takes place in the palate and it evaluates the wine’s structure and flavor. While we swirl the wine in our mouth, we should put our nasopharynges to work. This can be done by aspiring some air inside the mouth before swallowing the wine. New flavors and smells appear, specially if the wine is complex and of good quality. Aromas that come from the wood used in barrel aging and also in the fermentation process appear now in a more structured way. The basic wine characteristics: tannins, acid, sweetness, body should also be assesses in this last stage of the wine tasting process. Wines are said to be in balance if none of these characteristics dominate one another, specifically acid vs tannin.

There are five flavors that we can detect in our mouth: sweet, acid, tart, salty, umami. Sweetness is tasted at the tip of the tongue, salty and acid on the sides, umami in the middle and tart in the back of the tongue. So tannins are felt in the back of the tongue and they feel like dryness. Acids are felt on the side and would feel the same as when drinking orange juice. Light body is like tasting skim milk and strong body is like tasting honey. How to put this information to work? it helps us in the blind tasting process because a wine from a colder region would be more acidic and have less body whereas a wine from a hotter region would have more body and be less acid because the grape matures faster in the vines. A wine that is very tannic would come from a grape that has thick skin. Usually grapes with thick skins are grown in hot weather because they can mature better and grapes with thin skins are grown in colder regions because maturity is hard to reach.

So finally, with the information we’ve gathered from our sight, nose and palate, we can reach a conclusion about the wine we are tasting. We should be able to tell if it is from New or Old World, from which climate, grape variety, possible country and age range. This whole process is called deductive tasting.

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