In order to appreciate a glass of wine, it is necessary to know the basic characteristics that make up your tasting. Although learning is not immediate, it is advisable to identify the descriptors and try to define each wine you try. It’s a good plan, right? Let’s discover the five main characteristics that define a wine.
When we try a wine maybe this is one of the first characteristics we detect. Sometimes we say that a wine is dry, very dry or sweet. The sweetness of a wine is derived from the residual sugar left over from the fermentation process, in which the sugar from the must is transformed into alcohol.
How to detect the sweetness in wine? The perception of the sweet is produced at the tip of the tongue, in addition, you can perceive a slight fatty sensation in the middle of the tongue.
Acidity is essential to define the quality of a wine. In many occasions, when tasting a wine we confuse the acidity with the alcoholic degree. The acidity comes from the tartaric and malic acid of the grapes with which the wines are made. On the pH scale, it would be in a range between 2.5 and 4.5, taking into account that 7 is neutral. It is common that wines whose grapes have been harvested in cold climates are more acidic than those that are made with grapes harvested in warmer conditions.
How to detect the acidity in a wine? The sensation of acidity is detected on the sides of the tongue. A trick is to rub the tongue against the palate. If you feel it rough, the wine has a high level of acidity.
These are the polyphenols found in the skin, rasp, and seeds of the grape, as well as in the wood of the barrels. Tannins provide astringency and herbaceous flavors to wines. In addition, they are considered compounds that provide structure and complexity.
How to detect a high level of tannins in the wine? The tannins cause a dry sensation in the tongue, but it should not be confused with the term “dry”, since tannins are always accompanied by a strong astringency.
The alcohol present in wines comes in most cases from the process whereby the sugar coming from the grape must turn into ethanol. In some circumstances, it is added to wine, in a process called fortification. The average alcohol content of wines is between 11% and 13%.
How can we feel the alcohol in wine? The detection of alcohol passes through the back of the mouth, feeling a sensation of heat in the throat.
The body of a wine is the result of the four factors previously described, in addition to the variety itself, the harvest, or the origin. It is the impression you have of the texture in your passage through the mouth.
How to detect the body of a wine? Normally, the level of tannins, as well as alcohol, are indicators of a full-bodied wine. Wines with less body tend to be less tannic, with higher acidity and lower concentration of alcohol.