Essentials of wine tasting

Wine Parade
March 23, 2017

Wine Tasting Basics

Those people who are fond of quality wine are usually fond of talking about it as well. Below you can see 5 notions that are good to know before participating in a wine tasting. In this occasion, we will not go through the rudiments of wine tasting as that would be a gigantic topic, on which there are various courses available in Hungary for the curious. We would like to help you to be able to confidentally contribute to discussions in this area.

Blind wind tasting

borkóstolás élménye

Forrás: Depositphoto

Blind tasting is a popular method to develop your wine tasting skills. During the tasting the bottles are covered and the wine is poured into opaque glasses instead of the usual transparent ones. This way, we are left with our smelling and tasting abilities! There are important preparations to be made before this activity. The cork should be hidden and the wine should be served at the adequate temperature, after having been decanted.

Wine legs

Wine legs are the arch left behind on the wall of the glass after the wine is poured and swirled around. The higher the arch, the higher the alcohol content of the wine. In Mediterranean countries it is often affectionately referred to as the ’tears of the wine’, while in Hungary it is called ’church window’. The phenomenon is caused by glycerol, and it can show how good is the body of the wine. Minuscule differences of 1-2% in alcohol content can hardly be determined by this test, however, the sugar content can likely be deducted.

Vertical tasting

Tasting the same type of wine across the vintages, starting oldest to newest. Going back to the past, a vertical tasting gives an opportunity to discover splendid vintages. It is highly recommended for the uninitiated!

Parker point

Famous American wine critic introduced his 50-100 scale wine rating system in the 1980s’- The success of Bordeaux vintages are usually decided by his tests. There is not another industry in the world where a single individual’s taste can have such a huge influence. The Parker test results can be deciphered as follows:

96-100: special wine, full, representing correctly every characteristic of the type.

90-95: great wine, complex, has an extraordinary character, in summary: a terrific wine!

80-89: slightly above average, from quite good to very good.

70-79: average wine, not extraordinary, but well-made, basically a simple, decent wine.

60-69: below average, contains wine flaws like too high acidic or tannin content, does not have a unique taste.

50-59: wine of unacceptable quality

vörösbor kóstoló tannin

Forrás: Depositphoto


The tannic acid produced by plants is what helps to differentiate red wine from white wine. Tannin can be found in the skins of grape and gets into the wine during the fermentation process. This is the ingredient that gives the wine its bitter, dry taste. Besides the grape, tannin is absorbed from the barrel as well, especially during oak barrel aging.


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