Psst! Want to learn a wine-tasting secret from the pros? This advice
is simple and easy to follow, and you don’t need to dial an 800 number
or pay a cent to hear it: Simply get into the habit of jotting down a
quick summary of your observations whenever you enjoy a glass of wine.
Don’t get nervous … I’m not talking about anything really
complicated. There’s no need to worry about neat handwriting or even
careful spelling or grammar. There’s no required format, and you don’t
even have to show your notes to anyone (although I’ll say more about
that in just a moment).
All you have to do is get your hands on a legal tablet or steno pad
- or, if it pleases you, a fancy journal or one of those trendy
Moleskine notebooks with the leather-look cover – and when you taste
wine, record your reactions. I suggest starting with the front and back
label: Write down the name of the wine, where it’s from, the vintage,
and other information such as the grapes it’s made from (if disclosed),
the alcohol content and anything else that seems important. I like to
add the price I paid and the shop I bought it from. On the other hand,
lyrical back-label language from the winery’s PR office can usually
safely be ignored.
Then jot down your comments on the wine, step-by-step as you go
through the tasting process: Observations about the color, hue, glints
of light; is it cloudy or hazy, clear or transparent? Then the aromas,
using whatever descriptions pop into your head. Your first impression
is usually the best impression, even if it seems silly. (My wife is a
master at discovering notes of "shampoo" or "modeling clay" or "silage
in my father’s dairy barn.") And she’s usually right.
The 30 second Wine Advisor
Related link: "How to Make a Killer Wine Journal"
Photo by Pinot Blogger