Monday, September 2, 2013

Eric's Wine Ratings and Reviews Methodology - Plus or Minus?

Image courtesy of njaj/
According to Wine Enthusiast Magazine, there are specific ways to taste wine. They involve complex concepts and terminology which may be unfamiliar and confusing to the ears and pallets of the wine novice.  So you can read their long article with a mouse Click Here. Or, you can keep reading below and see Eric's Wine Ratings and Reviews Methodology and understand what you are tasting for in a few easy steps.

Before my wife and I became self-proclaimed wine snobs, we spent many nights at wine tastings, bought several bottles, and read about wine a lot.  During that time, we simply enjoyed wines mostly. We either liked it, or we did not.  There was no rhyme or reason, just taste.

Although our wine tasting style was reckless in some eyes, we did slowly begin to understand that we preferred red wines over whites most of the times.  We even began to understand what varietals (grape types) we liked more.  Soon, we started to notice we liked red wines from certain growing areas.  For example, we know we now prefer Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State.  We also love Carmenere Wines of Chile.  How did we figure this out?  Keep reading.

Often times, after a wine tasting, or a week after drinking what we bought at the tasting, we would forget if we liked a wine or not.  We simply did not keep track of what wines we liked.  We also did not take the time to really think about what exactly we liked about a wine or not.

Soon, we started to realize we needed a method.  Some way to track the wines we liked.  Something simple and effective, since, after a few wines and loud conversations with new friends, we want to remember what we liked and what we did not.

So here it is, Eric's Wine Ratings and Reviews Methodology.  I use a simple + and - system.  For each of the following categories, I place a + or - next to the wine we are tasting.  Sometimes I have a little too much wine and start to use symbols like :) or ~, but you get the idea.  It is the easy to remember 5 "S"s of sippin'.  Each S gets a score of + or -.

    - The first S is a two-part See and Swirl.  Take a look at the color of the wine and thickness/ richness of the wine.  Does it look like something you want to drink?  Now swirl it around a little in the glass to get some air into the wine to "open it up".  Or, do not swirl it and just go to the next step.  Give it a + or - for looks.

    - The second S is Smell.  Take a whiff.  This is the "bouquet" of the wine.  The smell.  Does it smell pleasant?  Remind you of anything?  Can you smell something familiar?  These are the "notes".  A note of honey?  Flowers?  Do you like the smell?  Does the smell make you want to drink it? + or -

    - Sip is the third S.  Take a little sip and see what your tongue says.  Do your lips and tongue like it?  There are actually two different tastes you are looking for here.  One, on the sip side.  The second is on the swallow or "finish" side. Also, what you are eating with the wine can change the taste.  Take a bite of a cracker or pop in a grape and you can sometimes notice a change in your taste buds.  It is a great experience!  Give it a + or -

    - The fourth S is Swallow.  You may like the first sip, but the finish isn't quite right.  Or maybe you like the finish, but not how you first tasted it.  Although this is formally known as the finish, I like to think of it as the after-taste. + or -

    - The fifth and final S is Sale.  This is also the price comparison factor.  How does this wine you are currently tasting compare to similar wines you have sipped?  Is the price right for your budget?  Would you drink it again and again?  Maybe the price is a bit high, but it would make your day to have it with your favorite meal?  Well drop a big ol' + on there!

Now total it up.  I give extra weight to the third and forth S since those are the two I enjoy the most and the reason I drink wine.  Take the sum of your +'s and -'s and there you are!  A good wine for me would be at least -+++- or --++-.  Now get out there and taste some wine!

Now that you know how to taste, do you know what wines you like?  Click Here! to learn how to pick wines you like!

Have a more effective wine tasting method?  Think it is better than Eric's Wine Ratings and Reviews Methodology?  Comment below and let us know!

Will you be joining us at our Wine and Beer Tasting Bar in Sierra Vista, Arizona?  Will you use Eric's Wine Ratings and Reviews Methodology?  -Hoppin' Grapes!

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