Why does my wine taste different?

During the course of an evening enjoying a bottle of wine with friends you may notice that the aromas and flavours of the wine may change. This is more readily evident in red wines than white wines. If you leave the wine longer, e.g. taste it the day after or two days after, the wine will continue to change.

Case in point; a bottle of Therapy Vineyards Shiraz 2007 that I opened two days ago. At that time I noted it had aromas of plum, vanilla, and a hint of fried bacon. On the palate, there was ripe black fruits, soft tannins and vanilla. After about an hour the fried bacon aroma disappeared, and the fruitness and vanilla flavour became more pronounced. I put the cork back in the bottle without removing any air. Skip forward 2 days. In my tasting notes I remarked aromas of tea leaves, plum, and some smokiness. On the palate I tasted coffee, nutmeg and ripe black fruit. Sounds like two different wines, doesn’t it?

But we know it’s not. It is interesting to try a wine a few days after you originally tasted it. If the wine is red, see if the exposure to the air softened the tannins. Make notes.

I also have another reason for telling you about this experience. In my last blog article (Do You Trust Wine Reviews?), I was asking you to think about how a wine is rated, and gave a few suggestions on following wine critics. I did not mention in that blog about, WHEN the wine was tasted.

  • Did the wine critic taste the wine as soon as it was poured from the bottle?
  • Was the wine chilled?
  • Did they taste it as soon as it was poured, then after one or two hours after exposure to air?
  • Did they decant the wine before tasting?

These questions I think are interesting because the tasting review from a wine critic does influence many people’s decision when they purchase a bottle of wine. Maybe it would be good to know how the critic did their tasting? Maybe there should be two tastings of the same wine with a few hours of separation between tastings, and have BOTH tasting notes provided for the same bottle of wine? That could be so very interesting and informative to the wine public.

Tell me what you think.  Take out a bottle of red wine today.  Try it now and take notes.  Then tomorrow at the same time, pour yourself another glass of the same wine and make your tasting notes.  Please post your notes to this article because I think it would be of interest to many other people.  Thanks and cheers!

What does that wine taste like???

I’m sure we all have tasted a wine and tried to place a flavour in the wine. Does it taste earthy, flinty, plummy, like cut grass, or licorice? Over time, when you taste lots of wines, and take lots of notes when you are tasting, you start to gain a library of aromas and flavours in your brain. But when you are starting tasting wine, the range of aromas and flavours can be daunting.

One useful thing that you may want to have with you when you taste a wine, is a wine flavour wheel. You can buy plasticized ones from wine stores. There are also flavour wheels that you can find online and print. I’ve found one at this web page: Wine Flavour Wheel

If you check the wheel from the above link, you will find that there are 64 flavours for you to start with. If you don’t find a flavour that matches to what you are tasting, try categorizing the flavour. Is it citrusy, floral, sweet, for example? That may be all you can do to describe it. If you can go a bit deeper, and you recognize that it is citrusy, does it taste like a single fruit like a lemon, or a lime, or maybe it is a combination? There is nothing wrong to say that you taste both lemon and lime.

You will also find that certain flavours are commonly found with particular grapes, such as citrusy or herbal for Sauvignon Blanc, and strawberries, raspberries or violets for Pinot Noir.

Have fun with wine tasting. You will see with practice that you will be able to identify many more flavours than you were able to do when you started. Enjoy!