Introductory Wine Course, Part 4


Welcome back to our Introductory Wine Course series!

Before we start this next lesson, have a quick read of the how to look and smell winehow to taste wine and how to analyse wine and common tasting descriptors.
This week we'll continue to look at how to analyse wines.

The basics of wine judging
Wine is a sensory experience. This creates problems in setting criteria or its judgement as everyone’s sensory perception is unique, and varies according to many factors - including time of day, health, emotional state etc. Wine judging is an attempt to objectively asses wines according to scale that is absolute. It is based on the premise that wine has measurable attributes.

The criteria for analysis in wine shows is based on measuring quality attributes of given wines against those of similar specifications (ie same variety, region, vintage, price point).

The Australian show judging system works on a twenty point scale with maximum points detailed

  • 3 points for appearance
  • 7 points for aroma
  • 10 points for palate

Main wine faults 
Sulphur Compounds
During fermentation a range of Sulphur compounds can be produced. This can begin as unpleasant characters such as hydrogen sulphide (rotton egg gas) to more pungent compounds such as garlic or burnt rubber (mercaptans). Hydrogen sulphite can be removed from wine and should not be present in bottled wine.

Volatile Acidity (VA)
Volatile acidity is caused by acetobactor reacting with alcohol in wine (Acetobactor is one of only two bacteria that an survive in wine). It is detectible by its lifted vinegary aroma.

Ethyl Acetate & Acetic Acid
Ethyl acetate is the ester of acetic acid and results in a lifted smell of nail varnish or aeroplane glue. In low concentrations the volatile acidity can add complexity to wine which is a point of contention with some winemakers and consumers

Cork Taint
Also known as ‘corked’ or corkiness. Off aromas and flavours in the wine are derived from contact with cork impregnated with mould 2, 4, 6, trichloroanisole (TCA). This is not a winemaking fault, but occurs in 2 - 8% of all corks.

Cork Taint is most common reason for spoilt wine and is easily recognisable by a musty, wet hessian, mouldy or mushroom overtones.

Caused by over exposure of wine oxygen. This results in the loss of fruit flavour, premature colour change and build up in levels of acetaldehyde (sherry like smells)



Come back next week to learn about white and red varieites and styles.


Introductory Wine Course, Part 1 >> Read More
Introductory Wine Course, Part 2 >> Read More 
Introductory Wine Course, Part 3 >> Read More
Introductory Wine Course, Part 5 >> Read More