Wine tasting, the three steps to a successful tasting

La dégustation de vin se fait en trois étapes, une étape visuelle, une étape olfactive & une étape gustative. Dans cet article, on vous explique le déroulement de chacune de ces étapes. Vous n'avez plus qu'à vous initier !


Wine tasting, how to do it right?

Wine tasting is done in three stages, a visual stage, an olfactory stage & a gustatory stage! Each of these stages will give you information about the wine to be tasted:

  • Le visuel vous donne l’âge du vin ainsi que sa richesse en alcool
  • Le nez vous donne le défaut éventuel et son évolution possible
  • La bouche vous fournit sa qualité et son équilibre

Wine tasting, start with a visual analysis

The colour

colour wine tasting

The shade of colour will give you an indication of the age of the wine. For red wine, it goes from purple (young wine) to tile (old wine). For white wine, it goes from yellow-green (young wine) to orange (old).

The orange colour of white wine can characterise it as a sweet wine, as the sweetness affects the colour.

If you are faced with the presence of deposits in a red wine, it is because the wine is not filtered. These deposits are commonly found at the bottom of the bottle or glass. Filtration is a step before bottling, the wine needs to be filtered. This gives it clarity as it may be cloudy before filtration.

In the case of white wine, this is due to the wine being stored in a place that is too cool, and the white crystals are tartar crystals, which are not to be worried about as they are a natural element.


During its evolution, the wine loses its acidity and therefore its brilliance. This is measured by the reflection of light on the surface of the wine. If the wine's colour is dull, it is in decline. Next time, open the bottle first!

The intensity

The wine is pale when it can be seen through on a white background, otherwise it can be deep or even darker. These characteristics are due to the grape variety and the age of the wine.

Wine tasting, it also involves olfactory analysis

At first, the wine is smelled without turning the glass, which allows the first aromas to be defined. 

In a second step, we will smell the wine by aerating it, so we will swirl the wine in the glass.

The intensity

The strength of the aromas is defined by family, the main ones being: Fruity, Vegetal, Woody, Spicy, Empyreumatic, Animal, Balsamic & Mineral.

Aromas are formed during the alcoholic fermentation process. They are linked to the maturity of the grapes, the age of the wine, the vinification, the grape variety, in short, many factors.

The aromas evolve during the ageing of the wine: In its youth, the wine presents aromas of fresh fruit and flowers. As it evolves, it will retain aromas of candied fruit and mushrooms.

Wine tasting, a three-step taste analysis

While in practice the tasting exercise takes place in a single stage, the analysis proceeds in three successive phases.

The attack

This is the very first impression that the wine makes on the tongue when the taster takes a sip of wine. At the outset, the taster perceives the temperature and the possible presence of fizz, but also forms an idea of the wine's gustatory personality. 

The "middle of the mouth

This stage, also known as "grumbling", corresponds to the development of the wine in the mouth. To do this, the taster swirls a sip of wine in the mouth for a few seconds, giving the impression of chewing, and then inhales a trickle of air through the mouth in order to accelerate the delivery of the aromatic molecules to the olfactory bulb via the retro-nasal route. 

At this stage, the wine's inherent flavours and odours, texture and structure are all being sensed. These olfactory, tactile and thermal sensations, which add up and combine with each other, give an overall impression. The task of the taster is to try to differentiate between them in order to analyse them and judge the balance of the wine.

The final

This last stage corresponds to the aromatic persistence, or length in the mouth, of the wine once it has been swallowed (or spat out). It gives an idea of the wine's greatness. The longer a wine is, the greater its quality. This persistence is measured in seconds or caudalies (from the Latin cauda, tail"), in the language of the taster. It can also be described as long, full-bodied and, in the best of cases, we speak of a peacock's tail. On the other hand, it is said to be non-existent, fleeting, brief or short. 

The difficulty is not to confuse aromatic persistence with the sensations generated by acidity, alcohol or tannins - a burning sensation, heat or astringency, which often tend to mask it. The easiest way to do this is to concentrate on the dominant aroma and, once the wine has been swallowed (or spat out), to follow it until it disappears. The key to this taste analysis is to characterise the dominant balance of the wine.

Finally, there can be no tasting without a conclusion! A quick summary is necessary, not only of the quality of the wine at this moment in the tasting, but also of its possible future. And then, of course, this is the moment for the taster to express his or her own taste.

L.O Wine vous accompagne pour un cours de dégustation

Pour les amateurs, L.O Wine vous propose de vivre une expérience inoubliable au Château Vieux-Mougnac dans le grand Saint-Emilionnais !

Visitez un vignoble bio, apprenez à déguster, participez à un cours d’assemblage et repartez avec une bouteille de vin personnalisée. Pour plus d’information rendez-vous sur le site :

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