PinoVino Wine Ratings Methodology
Observing each attribute will not only let you define the wine visually. Additionally it can provide an indication of a wine having faults.
Important to note is the temperature. Ideally, for properly tasting, the wine should be 59-68F. Also, swirling the wine in your glass in order to expand the wine's surface up on the sides of the glass will allow for more aromas to congregate in your glass. Based on the varietal, I will observe its complexity and note the intensity of the aroma. Further, I note if the aroma originates from the fruit, bottle age or winemaking influence (i.e. common oak aromas). I also look for a fresh and clean smell as opposed to a bad smell which might indicate a wine fault.
When tasting, I am looking for confirmation of the aroma of the varietal and the mouth feel. Mouth feel is one of my favorites. I am fond of wines that have silky, velvety or a fleshy feeling when drinking. Next comes the tactile evaluation. During tasting, you will find you can physically taste or physically feel (tactile) characteristics in your mouth. Swishing the wine thoroughly around in the mouth will ensure that all possible taste receptors come in contact with the wine. A particular note about tannins is they cannot be smelled or tasted. Instead, they cause a tactile sensation. Tannins are therefore measured according to their astringency and/or bitterness by which their presence will produce certain physical sensations in your mouth.
Balance refers to how well a wine's components fit together. It is a relationship between all of the physical characteristics and a result of the winemaker's craftsmanship. Is there harmony amongst the sweetness, acidity, tannins and alcohol? Or is one of them a real stand-out giving a wine an unbalanced feel?
Finish refers to what happens after the nose and palate have said their good-byes. Here, is where a sad parting is desirable unlike seeing a loved one off at the airport, which can be undesirable. If the wine has provided abundant joy to your nose and palate, you are hoping the finish will be persistent and lingering. Hence, the desirable sad parting! You would rather the aromas and flavors hang around as long as they can! When enjoying a good wine you want the length of the finish to be long and generous extending your moment of pleasure. Other happy finishing traits come in the form of a dry, crisp or clean finish. All of course depends on how well the wine was built, its balance, and even if you are pairing it with food either in a complementary or contrasting role. Conversely, if the wine is not to your liking, then a happy parting should occur. Short and clean!.
Finally, the much anticipated impression will round out my final evaluation of a tasted wine. When summing up my overall impression, I tend to evaluate the characteristics shown below. I feel these will define a wine's stunning character or lack thereof. For example, a wine whose body I feel is "full bodied" I ask, does it also have a powerful or weak intensity? Does it have an overwhelming complexity or is it just plain? Those characteristics help me sum up my own subjective thoughts about a wine. Most importantly is, was it good or was it bad?