How to Write Outstanding Wine Tasting Notes

How to Write Outstanding Wine Tasting Notes

Tom Lloyd

Wine sampling notes can be the most helpful tips to look for when purchasing a bottle of wine. Over the last decade, wine sampling notes have moved more toward audience reviews, which are less skewed. There is, however, no standard for writing wine tasting notes. This guide will assist you in writing more useful and precise wine tasting notes.

First and foremost, in order to compose excellent notes, you must ensure that your taste buds are picking up on all of the nuances of a wine. Check out Geek Technique on How to Taste Red Wine for any pointers. You may also be interested in The Basic Wine Guide.


How to Identify Wine Flavors and List Them

Wine aromas are classified into three types:

PRIMARY AROMAS: Aromas derived from the grape variety and the terroir.
Fruit, herbal, and flower aromas are the primary aromas.

SECONDARY AROMAS: These are the aromas produced during the wine-making process. Notes such as newly baked bread and lager (from yeast), as well as sour cream and yogurt, are examples of secondary aromas (from climactic fermentation).

TERTIARY AROMAS: These are aromas that have developed as a result of ageing in oak or in a bottle. Clove, cocoa, baking cinnamon, roasted almonds, dill, coconut, and smoke are among the tertiary aromas, as is a general change in the fruit character from fresh to dry.
More about the aging process of oak.


Knowing where various wine aromas or bouquets come from will help you improve your wine note writing skills.

TIP: When writing down tastes, aim to prioritize them by listing the most noticeable ones first. This would help you build a hierarchy of priority.

Also, try to include an adjective with your notes. Is it fresh pepper or dried pepper? Is it raspberry jam or tart, under-ripe raspberry? This specificity will help you to hone-in on details about a wine.

Also, don’t be scared of writing something that might sound a little silly. These notes are just for you, after all!


How do you define tannin, acidity, and body?

BODY: As you concentrate on the flavor, you can consider how the wine tastes in your mouth.
The body is maybe the most apparent note, and it's important to remember because it lets you create a mental profile of the Wine you're tasting.
Do you like to skim? 2% on what? or how about whole milk? The body of the wine will approximately conform to certain textures. What is the overall texture like? Make a note of it.

TANNINIUM: Tannin can be difficult to work with, but focusing on texture makes it smoother. Is there a lot of grip to the tannin? (Does it cause your lips to adhere to your teeth?). Can the tannin leave delicate tiny prickles in your mouth? Our Wine Descriptions Info-graphic contains several illustrations of wine descriptions for tannin.Tannin is often intense, but it can also be bruising of course, or fine and velvety.

ACIDITY: The acidity of a wine determines how sour or puckering it is.
A wine with moderate acidity (low on the pH scale), for example, would have acidity close to that of a lemon or lime. Higher acidity wines, on the other hand, are more akin to the light acidity of a watermelon. 


It all comes down to the finish.

Have you ever found that you can't tell whether you want a wine right away when you first drink it? It takes a second to get a complete impression of the wine; you're waiting for the end — the moment where the taste fades. The finish is often the defining moment of a wine; it may be the distinction between ordinary and extraordinary. Here's a quick rundown of the various varieties of wine finishes. Keep these in mind as general profiles for the next time you go wine tasting. They will help you figure out what you want in a wine.

The Soft Finish – For most wine drinkers, this is the classic ‘ahhh' moment.
Although the wine can be entirely dry, the finish has a softness and beauty to it; tannin's in reds are gentle rather than forceful, but also present.
It's also about a broad, creamy texture in a white wine.

Tart and Tingly Finish – The finish of this wine may be tart or bitter.
It may have some green notes, but on a high-quality wine, the acidity can tingle and linger, offering the wine a delicate, mouthwatering long finish.
The tartness or bitterness of the drink entices you to take another sip.

Finish ‘Juicy' and ‘Fresh' – The wine terms ‘juicy' and ‘fresh' often suggest a wine with a lot of just-ripe fruit flavors on the finish, which is often seen on young wines from mild climates. These fruity notes are generally synonymous with 'freshly' made wine, which may be how the word originated.