Tasting versus Drinking Wine



On a regular basis, we enjoy and drink wine. However, to evaluate your wine beyond the dinner table, it is important to taste in the right conditions and follow a systematic tasting format. The opportunity to taste wine in Beijing, Shanghai or in any of the major cities in Asia is increasing. These organised tastings offer big opportunities to compare wines and ultimately to enhance our appreciation and pleasure of wine. Perfect tasting conditions are rare at your average dinner party, therefore wine classes or tastings organised by importers or wine groups offer good opportunities to experience wine tasting under more ideal conditions.


Tasting also differs from drinking as spittoons are used to spit out the wines rather than drinking the whole glass. For professionals, wine judging may require tasting more than 200 wines in one day. For beginners, six to twelve wines may be tasted. To get an accurate evaluation of the wine, spitting is essential.


Advantages of tasting

There are numerous advantages to wine tasting: First, a large number of wines from the same region, producer, grape variety or vintage can be compared. Second, the process helps us to build a memory bank of flavours and associations, which ultimately helps us to remember the wines we most enjoy. Third, tasting a wide range of wines is educational and helps us to more accurately assess quality in wine.


Why taste blind?

When wines are tasted blind, each step offers clues as to the wine’s style, origin, grape variety, winemaking and age. For blind tasting as well as for open label tasting, it is beneficial to write down tasting notes while going through the steps described below in order. For professionals, rating the wines can be useful for quickly reviewing their own tasting notes in the future; for keen amateurs, wine notes can help to forge a conclusion and final assessment of the wine. The most commonly used ratings are stars and numerical points.