For people who want to become a wine connoisseur, what makes a wine “quality”? When you taste a wine and assess it, your personal taste is just as important as the wine you are drinking. A high quality wine does not necessarily mean you will enjoy it as your own personal taste may lean toward something different. Wine producers boast of high ratings from wine critics as it converts into sales, but this is just a single opinion and does not necessarily reflect quality. Quality is not definitive and it depends on the judgement of experts in the field. A well-qualified panel of expert palates who all agree on a particular wine is as near to a definition of high quality as it gets.

To understand how to assess the quality of wine, you need to know how wine experts make their judgements. Six different factors are taken into account when assessing wine:

Balance: The balance of a wine is the relationship between the component parts of acidity, tannin, alcohol, and sweetness. Balance in a wine is when you get a harmonious blend of flavours and nothing obviously stands out like too much sweetness or too much acidity.

Length: This term is to describe where the taste hits you in your mouth. A long wine will be tasted across the whole length of the tongue. Length is a sign of high quality. A short wine will be tasted on the front of the tongue with instant impact but does not have “length” Usually wine is short due to excess alcohol or tannin.

Depth: This attribute is somewhat subjective. It cannot be measured; it is a feeling in the mouth and a taste that is lively and not flat. “Flat” wine can never be high quality.

Complexity: There are simple drinkable wines and very enjoyable they are too. A complex wine is one that continues to peel away layers of flavours constantly surprising the palate and showing different aspects of its character. It refers to aromas and flavours but some experts define this as the overall impression of the wine.

Finish: This is what you are left with in the back of your mouth and throat after you have swallowed the wine, also known as aftertaste. In a high quality wine, you can still discern the flavours such as fruit or spice. No aftertaste or bitterness indicates a low quality wine.

Type: High quality wines must be true to type so you need to know what the tasting notes are for a given wine to identify its quality. This is where some study and tasting sessions help to become experienced in what to look for. Getting to know the grape varieties and soils they are grown in lend to the flavour will help you become a better judge. For example, the well-known Cabernet Sauvignon grape, which is used as a single varietal or in a blended wine, will always have an aroma and taste reminiscent of blackcurrants.

A high quality wine will leave no nasty surprises on your palate it will taste smooth, have wonderful aromas, be without bitterness, sharpness or too much sweetness and will leave a pleasant residual taste and sensation in the mouth and back of the throat.

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Category: Food and Drinks
Keywords: wine tasting

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