How to read wine tasting notes
Do you ever find it difficult to read wine tasting notes?
Wine tasting will always have a subjective, personal quality, because taste and smell are so inextricably bound to an individual’s own reference points. Language, too, is both collective and individual, and you may identify more with one wine critic over another.
But, there are some common wine descriptive words that it is useful to know. Below is what our experts put together.
You find more advice on this subject from Andrew Jefford, who has produced a six-point guide on how to write wine tasting notes, and also in our extract from a recently published book by Berry Bros & Rudd, on how to understand wine.
Reading wine tasting notes:
Dry white wines
Tasting Note: Clean, limpid medium yellow with a hint of green, quite rich, a really lovely colour. Touch of new wood on the nose, ripe melony fruit, slightly exotic, stylish and very expressive. Fine, floral, honeysuckle fruit on the palate, with hazelnut overtones, rich and quite buttery, yet good lemony acidity, very elegant but still young. Very good balance, oak and fruit well blended in, an excellent example of grape variety dominated by terroir, great persistence, very good future.
- limpid – literally transparent, like clear water, while retaining its colour
- rich – showing ripeness and viscosity, usually from the legs or ‘tears’ that form on the sides of the glass than from depth of colour
- new wood – the vanilla-vanillin aroma of new oak, whether French or American
- melony -signifies ripe, slightly exotic fruit, usually referring to Chardonnay. More exotic fruits could be pineapple, guava
- expressive – expressive of either its grape variety, terroir or both. Stylish + expressive would be a finely turned out wine with character