Fortified Wine Tasting Basics

For you to appreciate wine, it requires experience. Therefore, you have to taste and analyse many wines in detail so that you can differentiate wine which is poor, good and great. Thus, learning to taste wine as a beginner will help you get all the details, appreciate more and differentiate one type of wine from another.

Fortified wine is different from other wines because a neutral grape spirit is added into it during fermentation. Thus, it is ‘fortified’ by the addition of the alcohol which finally increases its alcohol content. Its fermentation process also stops after the addition of alcohol. Examples of such wine include Port wine which is generally red wine. Madeira and Sherry are the other types. The following are the basics of getting to know the specific components of wine:

Wine appearance and colour

After opening the wine bottle and pouring the wine into a transparent glass; it should be a quarter glass, Your next step is to observe the wine. You should note the general colour of the wine, its depth, its clarity and viscosity. The colour of the wine tells a lot about itself even before smelling it. Therefore, for best results make an effort of tilting the wine glass sideways to ensure clarity of the flattened-out wine so that you can fully determine its depth and colour. The depth of wine is a determination of its darkness. Wine can, therefore, be penetrable and impenetrable and can be described as pale, medium, opaque or watery. For the wine’s hue, it can be described as its actual colour. Viscosity is also another component whereby the wine can be described regarding having legs. The rolling down the sides of a glass after swilling wine is its viscosity. Legs are more pronounced when the wine is more viscous. That means the concentration of sugar and alcohol in that wine is high. Thus, wines such as Port and Madeira have more legs.

Wine Aroma

Swilling your wine in a glass will help you smell it better. You can start this by naming any aroma you feel that includes smells of fruits, smoke, earth among many others. Does the aroma entice you? Is the aroma complex? Does the aroma turn you off? Wine aroma can be so enticing and passionate, and this will make you appreciate fine wine. You should take your time to scrutinise and enjoy the aroma of the wine. In this way, you can determine the intensity of the wine which generally is how powerful its aroma is. It can be weak, moderate or powerful. As compared to old wines, young wines have fresher aromas.

Wine flavour

Finally you can take a sip of the wine after going through all the above processes. This is the stage that you will determine whether the wine is sweet or dry, whether it is flat or lively, whether it is tart or bitter among many other options. Concentrate on the finish of the wine after you swallow it. Does the flavour go away quickly or does it stay attractively on your palate? Does it make you want more or make you do away with it? You should also determine the body of the wine which is generally its weight in your mouth. Determine whether it is weightless or has weight. You should then determine the general impression which is either positive or negative.

Exceptional wines have a flavoured and lingering finish that encourages you to take more sips. The wine should also have all its components harmonised into a cohesive unit. That is what we call as perfect balance. Port wine from Portugal is sweet, and Madeira which is from an Atlantic island varies from dry to sweet. Other fortified wines include Marsala from Italy and Maury from France. Fortification produces the stable wine that can age up to hundred years.