Wine Clue of the Week: What is a Tasting Note?

Because there is so much delicious variety in wines, even among wines of the same varietal, and it is very difficult to keep each one straight without a little help, wine drinkers often keep a notebook (either traditional or digital) of their observations about wines as they taste them.

 

These observations made about each wine are called tasting notes.

Keeping tasting notes not only helps you to remember a wine you might want to revisit, but it also may help you to observe and appreciate new characteristics of a wine which you might have otherwise overlooked.

In recording tasting notes, here are some things you might want to record:

  • the color of the wine (not just white, rose or red, but also whether it was pale, straw-like, golden, inky, deep red, etc.)
  • the wine’s aroma (remember our wine aroma prompts?)
  • was it dry or sweet?
  • how was the wine’s acidity?
  • was it tannic?
  • did it have a full or light body?
  • what flavors did you taste in the wine?
  • when did you drink the wine and who was with you?
  • did you drink it with food and was it a good match?

There are plenty of wine journals you can buy to record your tasting notes, or you can record them digitally. I often use Evernote to snap a picture of a bottle using my phone and then record my observations. (All entries in Evernote are searchable, even the words in photos. So it’s easy to go back and re-explore all of one particular type of wine, or any of my notes at any time.)

DeLong Wines has created a fantastic wine journal you can buy, or you can download their tasting forms directly and slip then into your own notebook to keep track. Aside from just their tasting journals, that site is an excellent resource for learning more about wine and all of its varietals.

If you are looking to learn what types of wines or what characteristics in wine you really like so that you can order or buy with more confidence, using tasting notes can be a huge help. Eventually you will see patterns in what you enjoy and what you observe. That won’t easily happen without keeping track.

Have you used tasting notes in the past? What method do you use to organize and track your notes?

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