[two-columns]Know your basic wine characteristics and you can help develop your palate and discover new varieties to enjoy. By getting to grips with five wine characteristics you can adapt these building blocks to creating and growing your knowledge of wine. Plus you stand a better chance of selecting a bottle you will enjoy. Wine reviews and listening to your pals or worse a wine snob extol the virtues of varieties you have never heard of won’t guarantee a top tipple to your taste buds, like divided opinion on the latest blockbuster movie release, it’s down to personal preference. There are no rights and wrongs, simply what you enjoy most. By better understanding your own taste you need to classify wines by their basic traits and simply select which you like the best. To appreciate wine’s characteristics you can appreciate more what it is you like about a particular wine. Characteristics are: Sweetness - or dryness. To detect this best focus your attention on the taste buds at the tip of your tongue, tingling denotes sweetness. You will notice a minor oily sensation in the middle of your tongue that lingers. A bone-dry wine can sometimes be confused with a wine with high tannin. Acidity - Tasting acidity is sometimes confused with the taste of higher alcohol. Wines grown in cooler vintages often have higher acidity. They feel lighter in weight and if you prefer a wine that is more rich and round you tend to enjoy less acidity. Acidity characteristics include tingling on front and sides of the tongue - think popping candy. If you rub your tongue on the roof of your mouth it feels rough and your mouth will fell wet, similar to the sensation when you bite into an apple.
Tannin - often confused with levels of dryness as tannin dries your mouth. Wine tannins denote the presence of phenolic compounds which add bitterness to a wine. These phenolics are found in the skins and seeds of wine grapes. Tannin is often described as astringent and however unpalatable they sound tannin adds complexity to wine and helps preserve it for longer. It will taste bitter on the front inside of your mouth and along the side of your tongue which it will dry out. After swallowing you will be left with a dry, bitter lingering sensation. Fruit - savouring different flavours. Tasting for fruit flavours helps you define which varieties you prefer. When it comes to tasting for fruitiness in a wine with red wine do you lean to raspberry notes or dark fruits like blueberries and blackberries? When it comes to white wine are you a fan of lemon and lime or peach? Does a wine give you a more powerful presence of other flavours such as black pepper or olive or even grass? Body. So which will it be, light, medium or fullbodied? There are a number of factors when it comes to body, the wine variety, vintage, alcohol level and how it’s made. Body is a glimpse of the overall impression of a wine and you can enhance enjoyment by taking note as to when and where it’s present. The alcohol level ABV (Alcohol by Volume) adds body. A wine high in alcohol tends to taste fuller-bodied than a light-alcohol wine. Detecting body in your glass…taste how does it compare to other’s you have tried, lighter/bigger? How long does the taste linger in your mouth after you have swallowed several seconds to almost a minute? In the region of a quarter of a million different wines are released each year across the globe so it helps to have a heads up when it comes to identifying wine characteristics and where they are from. Bottoms Up![/two-columns]