French Wine Adventures In collaboration with Chateau Feely

Sensory Wine Tasting

Who knows how to taste never drinks wine again but tastes secrets.’ Salvador Dalí

Whether you are interested in taking your wine knowledge a step further or having a bit of fun with your friends doing Caro_Feely_Chateau_Feely_Organic_Vineyardwine tasting or both this short summary will introduce you to the idea of sensory wine tasting. This is the start of a series of online wine education that will be available through French Wine Adventures.

Wine tasting is about using your senses. Taking time to appreciate a wine – to fully engage and understand a wine, to sniff, swirl and taste – is a form of respect: respect for the work that went into it; for the nature and sunlight that created it; and for yourself. You could call it ‘mindful’ wine drinking. It’s also a way to learn more about wine and what you like so you can get more enjoyment from it, a way to record your reflections on a wine at a given moment in time. It’s always best to taste with two or more comparative wines but if you only have one that’s OK. 

In wine tasting we talk about look, smell and taste but in fact you use your touch and hearing too.

What is important with sensory wine tasting is to take a moment to concentrate your senses, let go of your other thoughts and be totally focused on the wines. Its almost like getting into meditation. We could call it mindful wine tasting.

Read on for the summary of the mindful sensory wine tasting mini course pdf now available for purchase below or buy a taster case to test your skills (if you are in the EU) and we’ll send you our the sensory wine tasting mini course 10 page pdf and a set of professional tasting notes as a gift.

Purchase it as a standalone online for 4 euro using the button below.

Buy the Sensory wine tasting 10 page pdf for 4 euro (paypal button above this text). We will email you the pdf within 48 hours. 

The Look

Hold your glass sideways over a white background and look at the centre versus the rim of the wine.

What happens when you leave a cut apple out on the counter? It goes brown. Oxidation. All wine tends to brown with age so red goes from purple to ruby to garnet to brick red, change is most noticeable on the rim. A colour change can also be induced in a younger wine by bad storage conditions or a problem in the winemaking.

Compare the colours of the wines. Do this quickly as we don’t want to get into analysis paralysis. It is about using your senses.

The Smell

Now take your wine and sniff. Note what aromas you pick up. Are they fruity, floral, herbal, earthy (like a biodynamic calender) or other. Swirl and sniff again and do the same thing. Note what you pick up.

Our senses are personal so you and people tasting with you if you are a group won’t necessarily pick up the same things – your aroma bank is about your memories and experiences which are unique to you.

Train yourself to smell and discover joys beyond wine

Our brain wants to see what we are smelling so it sees wine and says wine. Try closing your eyes and taking a sniff when you are in the kitchen opening a banana, cutting an apple, using the cinnamon, ginger, honey, butter, walking past a rose, picking up a leather bag, sharpening a pencil or a cold fire grate with soot in it. Train your brain to associate aromas without seeing them. Then take an aromatic wine and see what you find. You may find you even appreciate your food more – a student at our wine school leaned in to sniff something then looked up surprised and said : ‘Caro, you have turned me into a dog!’

The Taste

Then taste the wine by swirling it around your mouth sucking a little air through it and then spitting it out (wine spitting is a good idea if you want to learn about wine).

Think about the attack, mid palate and finish, the texture and the components: acidity, alcohol, tannin, flavours and sweetness (red wines are likely to be ‘dry’ meaning not sweet so no residual sugar).

Note all your impressions. Consider your overall assessment of the wine. You will have an instant I like or I don’t like reaction (if you are tasting Feely wines I hope it will be like!). The key is working out what it is that you like so you can explore more wines in that category (and sometimes outside to widen your horizons). Think about what makes the wine stand out.

For more on how to taste buy the pdf that explains sensory wine tasting in detail.

Pour your samples into good glasses, ideally on a white background. Go through the tasting steps look, smell, taste and write down your notes with wine 1. Now do the same with wine 2 and so on. Consider the differences between the wines. If you are tasting in a group chat about what you found and what you think it means.

When you buy a taster box of chateau feely wines you will receive our 10 page guide and a set of professional tasting notes for the 6 wines as a gift. Buy a taster case to test your skills (if you are in the EU). Or you can purchase the guide online for 4 euro using the button below – we will email you the pdf within 48 hours.

Buy the Sensory wine tasting 10 page pdf for 4 euro (paypal button above this text). We will email you the pdf within 48 hours. 

Let us know what you would like to learn about wine. This is the start of a series of online wine education. To receive information about the next available online wine courses select the French Wine Adventures mailing list in the options of the mailing list signup at the bottom right of this page.

Come and learn more about organic farming with a visit to Chateau Feely in South West France ; stay or do a multi day course or multi day tour. You can read about the story of this organic farm – the series includes three books Grape ExpectationsSaving our Skins and Glass Half Full by Caro Feely. Or even better order a case of no sulfite added organic wine including shipping in the EU. Join the Chateau Feely mailing list to receive a seasonal newsletter, events, wine pairing, recipes and more info on this topic at the bottom right of this page.

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