For me, « finding the balance » in wine is the first step to understanding it and starting to be a « wine connoisseur”.
Because to be a « wine connoisseur » you need to first act as a good wine taster or « dégustateur » in order to identify the good wines versus the bad ones.
When a wine is well-balanced, it is more pleasurable! Is this not the purpose of wine?? To give you pleasure? Of course, the quality of flavours, body and alcohol in your wine are also important but let’s just start with the sensations for now, ok?
When you have too much acidity, too much bitterness, too much sweetness in your wine, it’s not good – right? It is not really pleasurable, don’t you agree with me?
So, starting today, please, when drinking wine, search for the « balance »! Make it your new habit :-).
In my previous article, I was explaining to you that on your palate you feel only « sensations ». The flavours come from the nose, right?
In wine you have usually 3 sensations out of the 5 that were identified by the technicians:
The 2 others ones you find more in food, are salt and « umami ». (review my last post for more information).
So, when sipping your wine, connecting to it, pay attention to your palate. Not the flavours; only your palate. Start by asking yourself these questions:
Does this wine have acidity? (usually a wine always has some). Where is it located in your palate? How this acidity express itself in the wine? Is it strong acidity, fresh acidity, lime acidity? What is its degree/level?
Acidity is usually located on the sides of the tongue, where it causes a sharp, tingling sensation and makes your mouth water. The more your mouth waters, the higher the level of acidity in a wine.
Does this wine have bitterness? (not every wine does). You will find it mostly in red wines with tannins but some white wines also have bitterness.
You sense it on the back of your tongue and palate. Bitterness can come from grapes’ skins, stems, seeds and oak. In contrast to acidity, bitterness will dry your palate. So the drier your palate is, the more bitter the wine.
Is this wine sweet? (not every wine is sweet) Where is the sweetness in the wine? Is it strong? or very light? Sweetness is the degree of sugar in your wine. It is located usually at the front of your tongue. You’ve got different levels: dry, off-dry, medium dry, medium sweet, luscious (the sweetest wines such as Sauternes).
Important to know: sweetness and acidity can mask each other, but look for the mouthwatering effects of a very sweet wine as evidence for its high acidity.
When you have too much of one sensation, it means that the wine is not very well-made. For example, if you are partial to sweetness, you might like a sweet wine, but after drinking many glasses of this wine you may find it cloying due to this unbalance…
You can apply this process to food and others drinks as well in order to educate your palate faster! You eat 3 times per day usually so go with this and start putting in practice all of this straight away ;)!
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