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The language of wine

Most people say I can only speak two languages, English and Bad. However that’s not totally true, I can also speak wine. It’s a complete language on its own and can often be way too pretentious with some people waffling on a load of nonsense which can give wine tastings and wine education a bad reputation. ‘I can smell wheelbarrows of lilies and a hint of the back seat of a 1967 Morris Minor.’ That is nonsense, because it’s very personal; not many people know what the back seat of a Morris Minor smells like.

Nevertheless there is a universally agreed language that can be used for describing certain types of wine, and if you try hard enough, you will find these tastes and flavours in your wine. You just have to keep practising.

For example the WSET have created The Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine, designed to build individuals’ skills progressively through the different qualification levels.

Appearance, Nose, Palate and Conclusion are further broken down into more detail depending on the level of exam you are studying. I’ve always found this approach very useful. It tends to keep you focused on the wine and helps you identify the different flavour profiles in the wine.

The Davis Wine University California Aroma Wheel is very user friendly, divided into several sections to help you visualise the different flavours, scents and aromatic qualities found in most red and white wines, regardless of the grape variety. The same aromatic complexities and sensations pictured on the wine aroma wheel are found in red and white wines all over the world, from Bordeaux, to California and Australia, as well as every other viticultural area. Most people can identify a wine as being fruity, but this guide takes it to the next value: is it tropical fruits? If so, is it Banana, Melon or Pineapple? Floral aromas can be detected in a wine; with clear focus you can pinpoint Rose, Violet or white flowers. Check it out at:  www.winearomawheel.com


Get more from your wine and think while you drink.

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