Wine 101 Tasting #1 - Smooth & Bold red wines
Grape Varietals in Wine Tasting #1
Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, Malbec
Wine Words in Wine Tasting #1
Body, Dry, Tannin,
To prepare for the tasting take a quick look at how to organize a wine tasting. If you are ready to buy wine, the suggested wines for this tasting can be found by searching our wine reviews section for Smooth wines and Bold wines.
Tasting the Smooth Wine
When everything is set, start with the Smooth wine. Take a look at the wine. Can you see through it? Smooth wines are dark, sometimes even inky.
Take a good sniff of the Smooth wine. The fruit aromas you might detect include blackberry, black cherry, blueberry, or plum. Other aromas include pepper, cigar box, and vanilla. Pay particular attention to the intensity of the aroma. You will want to compare this to the intensity of the Bold wine’s aroma.
See if you can feel the alcohol evaporating from the wine. If the % alcohol is around 14% or more, you might feel the evaporating alcohol vapors tickle the inside of your nose (similar to the sensation from smelling a glass of whiskey).
Now taste the Smooth wine. What tastes do you notice? Typical Smooth wine flavors include: blackberry, cherry, plum, vanilla, and spice.
Does the wine make you pucker? This sensation is caused by tannin. A good way to asses the tannin in a wine is by swishing the wine around in your mouth, over your tongue. If you do this you will notice a texture develop in your mouth — a sensation created by the tannin. Some people incorrectly use the word “dry” to describe this feeling. Technically, dry refers to a wine without detectable residual sugar. (Almost all red wine is dry.)
What is the body of the Smooth wine? How heavy is it in the mouth? If you are not clear about the term, try again after tasting the Bold wine. The difference in body between the two wines might help illustrate the meaning of the term.
Tasting the Bold Wine
When you are ready, try the Bold wine. Look at the color. Bold wines are typically darker than Smooth wines, tending towards opaque.
When you smell in the Bold wine? Vanilla, cassis, black cherry, chocolate, tar, and coffee are all common aromas. How do the aromas of the two wines compare? Can you detect alcohol in the Bold wine?
When you taste the wine, what flavors are there? Black cherry, blackberry, plums, and stewed fruit are common descriptors. Does the Bold wine feel bigger or heavier in your mouth compared to the Smooth wine? The overall feel of a wine in your mouth is referred to as the body of a wine. Bold wines are very full bodied, whereas many Smooth wines are medium to medium-full bodied.
Check the tannin level for the Bold wine. Typically Bold wines have more tannins than Smooth wines. Compare the feel of the tannins between the two wines.
What to Do Next…
Now that you have tasted these two wine styles side by side, which do you like better? Search our wine reviews section for either Smooth wines or Bold wines. Also, you can continue on and do the other wine tastings.