Before actually tasting the wine, it is useful to think about the ways in which we perceive tastes.
The tongue distinguishes just four so-called primary tastes: sweet, sour (acid), bitter and salty.
In addition to the four primary tastes, there is an infinite variety of subtle flavours in wine. Generally, the greater variety there is the better.
White Wines tend towards the citrus and other tree-fruit flavours:
lemon, orange, grapefruit; peach, pear, apricot, apple; also melon, gooseberry, lychee.
Red Wines tend to be more reminiscent of red soft fruits: black and red cherry, plum, damson; blackcurrant, redcurrant, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry
Red And White
Red And White can both have all sorts of mineral, spice, herb and other common flavours such as bread, yeast, honey, caramel, various nuts.
Other sensations perceived on the palate (winespeak for "in the mouth") are tactile: body, astringency, temperature and carbon-dioxide bubbles.
Body describes the feel of a wine in the mouth, due principally to alcoholic weight, but also to depth of flavour and the consistency of the liquid. Low alcohol and limited flavour make for watery wines.
Astringency is the dry, gripping sensation on the gums, tongue and palate, due to the effect of tannin.
The right temperature can enhance a wine's performance, whereas being much too cold or too warm can easily mar its bouquet and flavour. It is important to be aware of the general guidelines for different types of wine.
Carbon-dioxide Spritz is an important consideration in the texture of sparkling wines, but is sometimes perceptible as a prickle on the tip of the tongue in still wines.
The general tactile impression of a wine is a significant quality factor. Useful comparisons. are often made with the feel of fabrics or other grainy materials: silky, satiny, velvety, for example.