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THE POCKET SOMMELIER

WINE TASTING GUIDE & JOURNAL


The Pocket Sommelier – Wine Tasting Guide
& Journal was written and compiled by
Christopher Warren.

Please enjoy your preview of this glossy-


covered, easy to read paperback guide to
wine tasting. This 8.5 x 5.5 inch booklet
contains 36 pages of wine appreciation
instruction and reference. A tasting journal
completes the guide, with enough tasting
note sheets to evaluate over 30 wines.

Visit us on the web at


pocketsommelier.blogspot.com for
retailer availability.

For information on ordering, contact Chris


at: pocketsommelier@yahoo.ca.

The Pocket Sommelier makes a great gift!


THE POCKET SOMMELIER
WINE TASTING GUIDE & JOURNAL
THE POCKET SOMMELIER
WINE TASTING GUIDE & JOURNAL

The Pocket Sommelier, 2008

No part of this book may be transmitted in any form by any


means without permission in writing from the publisher.

ISBN 978-0-9811374-0-7

Published by The Pocket Sommelier


Ottawa ON
pocketsommelier.blogspot.com
CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION……………………………………… 1

1- APPEARANCE…………………………………... 3

2- AROMA..…………………………………………. 5

3- MOUTH FEEL…………………………………… 12

4- BODY………………………………………...…... 16

5- BALANCE………………………………………... 17

6- FINISH……………………………………………. 18

7- SCORING………………………………………… 19

8- CHARACTERISTICS OF SOME OF THE MOST


COMMONLY KNOWN GRAPE VARIETIES….. 20
Visit us on the web at
pocketsommelier.blogspot.com for
retailer availability.

For information on ordering, contact Chris


at: pocketsommelier@yahoo.ca.

The Pocket Sommelier makes a great gift!


THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

INTRODUCTION

The experience of tasting wine can be divided into multiple stages


of analysis. This publication will guide you through each stage and
help you to develop your wine tasting skills until they become
second nature.

The first stage of wine tasting begins with describing the


appearance, or “eye” of the wine, and is followed by an analysis of
the aromas, or “nose”. The aromas noted by the nose are confirmed
by a sensory evaluation in the mouth. Once in the mouth, the taster
can evaluate the flavours, mouth feel (texture), as well as the body
(weight), balance and ultimately the finish.

When tasting, a tulip-shaped glass is preferable. The shape is


important, as the glass begins to narrow towards the rim, the aromas
become concentrated.

Notes regarding your tasting experience should be taken in the wine


journal, which follows the guide portion of this book. The journal is
comprised of blank tasting sheets that guide the taster through each
stage of the tasting process.

Anyone can taste and evaluate wine – all it takes is a little practice.
In the end, it is your opinion that counts. Do not be swayed by
what others say. Only you know what you like and what you do
not.

For starters, break out a bottle of wine, pour a couple of ounces in a


glass and follow along the next few pages!

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Visit us on the web at


pocketsommelier.blogspot.com for retailer
availability.

For information on ordering, contact Chris at:


pocketsommelier@yahoo.ca.

The Pocket Sommelier makes a great gift!

-2-
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

1 - APPEARANCE

The first step is to assess the wine’s colour and clarity.

With 1 to 2 ounces of wine in the glass, place the glass on a sheet of


plain white paper. From above, look down the glass while noting
the wine’s clarity. Next tilt the glass on an angle and note the
colour shade of the wine, while paying attention to the rim of the
wine.

A list of common terms and descriptors for wine clarity and colour
follow.

WHITE WINES
Clarity

Clear, Bright, Translucent - indication of a well-made wine


Mistiness, Cloudy - may indicate a fault in the wine
The rim - should also be bright and clear

Colour Spectrum
Lightest - Watery, almost colourless
Yellow, with green reflections
Straw
Gold
Darkest - Amber

Lighter coloured white wines tend to be younger and


fermented in stainless steel tanks.
White wines will darken as they age. As well, white wines
fermented in barrels will exhibit deeper colours.

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

RED WINES
Clarity

Light, Clear, Dark, Deep, Intense


Opaque, Cloudy - may indicate a fault in the wine or a wine
of distinction that has not been heavily fined or filtered
The rim - a watery rim may indicate a well-aged wine or a
younger wine that has prematurely oxidized

Colour Spectrum
Lightest - Cherry
Ruby
Violet, Brick
Garnet
Darkest - Brown

Younger red wines exhibit shades of blue. Yellow and


orange tints develop with age, until they become brickish.
Red wines will become paler with age. Very old wines, or
wines that are poorly stored, will eventually turn brown.

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

2 - AROMA

Assessing a wine’s aroma is the most important stage in wine


tasting.

When conducting a tasting, a wine should be at a temperature range


between 59 to 68 degrees F (15 to 20 degrees C).

Place your nose near the rim and inhale. Note the aromas. Now
agitate the wine by swirling the glass. The action of agitation
aerates the wine. Aeration brings out the aromas. Inhale again and
analyze the bouquet of aromas. Jot down a few descriptors that
describe what you smell.

Wine aromas are generally categorized as either:


Primary – aromas from the grape itself, such as fresh fruit, floral,
herbaceous and mineral;
Secondary – aromas from fermentation, such as yeast and cream;
and,
Tertiary – aromas from aging, such as dried fruit, dried flowers,
nuts, spice and earth.

You will also want to make some conclusions as to the wine’s


bouquet, such as on its intensity (concentration) of aromas. As well
you may want to note its complexity (layers of various aromas).
Both are indicators of quality. If you notice that a wine does not
exhibit much in the way of aromas, you may want to note it as
being “closed”.

An in exhaustive list of common wine aroma descriptors follow,


including indicators of wine faults, categorized for convenience.
Feel free to add your own to this guide.

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

WHITE WINES
Fruit

Citrus Fruits
Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Orange

White Fruits
Green Apple, Red Apple, Pear

Stone Fruits
Peach, Apricot, Nectarine

Tropical Fruit
Pineapple, Banana, Coconut, Passion Fruit, Kiwi

Exotic Fruits
Melon, Mango, Gooseberry, Lychee, Pomegranate

Dried Fruits
Fig, Dried Apricots

Floral

White Flowers
Honeysuckle, Elderflower, Clover

Citrus Flowers
Orange Blossom, Citronella

Meadow Flowers
Daisies, Crocus

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Floral (…continued)

Perfume
Roses, Violets, Jasmine, Iris

Garden
Lilies

Herbal
Lavender

Dried Flowers
Potpourri, Tea

Nutty

Hazelnut, Almond

Vegetable / Herbaceous

Vegetable
Asparagus, Green Bean, Pea Pod, Celery

Herbal
Dill, Anise, Fennel

Herbaceous
Cut Grass, Tomato Bush, Blackcurrant Bud, Tobacco Leaf,
Lemongrass, Hay

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Mineral

Petrol, Plastic, Rubber, Flint, Slate


Beeswax, Paraffin

Spice

Cinnamon, Nutmeg
Orange Peel, Grapefruit Rind, Lemon Zest

Oak

Vanilla, Butterscotch, Caramel


Toast, Smoke

Cream

Buttery

Yeast

Biscuit, Bread Dough

Sweetness

Honey

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

RED WINES
Fruit

Tree Fruit
Cherry, Plum

Red Berries
Raspberry, Strawberry

Dark Berries
Blackberry, Black Currant, Black Cherry, Blueberries

Dried Fruit
Strawberry Jam, Raisin, Fig, Prune, Stewed Fruit, Fruit Cake

Spice

Sweet
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Ginger

Savory
White Pepper, Black Pepper, Clove, Anise, Licorice

Earthy

Mushroom, Gamy, Forest Floor, Pine


Bacon

Floral

Violet, Rose, Iris, Peonies

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Herbaceous

Mint, Menthol
Bell Pepper
Tea, Sage

Oak

Vanilla, Butterscotch
Chocolate, Cocoa, Cola
Coffee, Mocha
Pencil Shavings, Cedar, Tobacco, Cigar Box
Leather, Tar

Lees Contact

Yeasty, Bread

Nutty

Cashew, Walnut, Almond

Candy

Bubblegum, Candy Floss

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

WINE FAULTS
Oxidized

Burnt Caramel, Sherry, Stale

Hydrogen Sulfide

Rotten Eggs, Struck Match

Cork Taint

Moldy, Musty, Dank, Wet Basement, Wet Newspapers

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

3 - MOUTH FEEL

Now it’s time to taste the wine and describe its physical and
textural impression on the palate. A mouth feel descriptor reveals
much about the wine’s structure.

Take in a healthy amount of wine and move it around your mouth.


Note the wine’s acidity, sweetness, viscosity and tannin levels.

A list of common terms and descriptors for mouth feel follow.

WHITE WINES

Acidity – acidity is the main component of mouth feel in


white wines, but is also important in reds.

An attractive acid level may be described as:


- lively, crisp, fresh, zingy, watering
- you may sense a spritz or prickle sensation
Too high an acid level may be described as:
- green, racy, hard, tart, stiff, biting
Too low an acid level may be described as:
- flat, flabby, bland, thin
Low acid with oak barrel fermentation and aging influence
may be described as:
- creamy, luscious

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Sweetness – the level of sweetness is defined in terms of


residual sugar

Dry – a wine with no perceptible residual sugar


Off Dry – a wine with some perceptible residual sugar
Semi Sweet – a wine verging on dessert
Sweet – typical of dessert wines

Sweet wines can be further analyzed:


- a balanced sweet wine may be described as:
- luscious, rich
- too much sweetness may be described as:
- syrupy, cloying

Alcohol Content

High alcohol wines may exhibit a mouth feel described as:


- oily, slippery

Mineral

Wines with a large amount of mineral characteristics may be


described as:
- metallic

Viscosity

A full body, viscous wine may be described as:


- fat, big, dense
Opposite of the above may be described as:
- thin, weak, watery

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

RED WINES

Tannin – tannin is the main component of mouth feel in red


wines.

A wine with ripe, well integrated tannin may be described as:


- satin, suede, velvety
A wine with more perceptible tannins may be described as:
- dusty, chalky, grainy, chewy, grippy, furry
A wine with green, unripe wood tannins may be described
as:
- harsh, abrasive, aggressive
Medium acid level with low tannin and high alcohol with
lots of fruit may be described as:
- fleshy, juicy, jammy, rich

Acid – always lower in red wines

An attractive acid level may be described as:


- fresh, smooth, supple
Too high an acid level may be described as:
- tart, stiff, biting
Too low an acid level may be described as:
- flat, flabby, thin, dull

Alcohol Content

A wine with excessive alcohol may be described as:


- hot

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

A few words on acid:

All wine contains acid. A wine with either too low or too high of
an acid level can never be considered balanced. A good level of
acid (low pH) enhances the freshness and fruitiness of a wine and
protects the wine against bacteria.

The three types of acid are tartaric (an acid unique to grapes),
malic, (a harsher acid, common to apples), and to a much lesser
extent, citric. A fourth type of acid, lactic, is created from a
process known as malolactic fermentation. This process converts
the harsh malic acid into lactic acid, rendering a “creamy” texture
to the wine.

In general, acid produces the “prickling” and “watery” sensations


felt on the tongue and mouth.

A few words on tannin:

Tannin is responsible for the sensation of astringency in wines


(mainly red wines). Tannin is not a flavour, but rather a tactile
sensation consisting of chemical compounds derived from the skins
of grapes and to a lesser extent from oak barrels.

The presence of tannin in a wine is evident from the “pulling” and


“drying” sensations in the mouth.

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

4 - BODY

After swallowing or spitting the wine, you can now complete your
evaluation.

The next stage is to note the body or weight of the wine. The body
is determined by its alcoholic strength and to a much lesser extent,
the amount of residual sugar and extract (dissolved solids).

A general guideline of descriptors regarding body and alcohol


levels follows.

Light - below 10%

Medium - 10% to 12%

Full - 13% and up

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

5 - BALANCE

Balance is another analysis of a wine’s structure and indicator of


quality. Quality wines are always well balanced.

In your analysis, note how well the alcohol, acidity, residual sugar,
tannin and fruit levels complement each other on the palate.

A guideline regarding balance follows.

WHITE WINES

Balance in white wines is analyzed in terms of acid and fruit levels,


and to a lesser extent sweetness and alcohol.

ACID
ALCOHOL + SWEETNESS
FRUIT

RED WINES

Balance in red wines is analyzed in terms of tannin and fruit levels,


and to a lesser extent acid and alcohol.

TANNIN
ACID + ALCOHOL
FRUIT

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

6 - FINISH

The sensation of length, or persistence, of a wine’s flavour on the


taster’s palate is the most important indicator of quality. Quality
wines always exhibit a medium to very long finish.

A guideline regarding finish follows.

Short - 2 seconds or less (ordinary wines)

Medium - 3 to 7 seconds (well made young wines)

Long - 7 to 10 seconds and longer (fine, mature wines)

Very Long - greater than 10 seconds (exceptional wines of


distinction)

When analyzing the finish, ignore the effects of acid and tannin
while concentrating on the flavours identified in the aroma analysis
(e.g. fruit, spice, etc.). Lingering acid and tannin are not indicators
of quality.

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

7 - SCORING

Professional wine writers, judges, etc. use a myriad of different


wine scoring systems. Wine may be evaluated on a score of 10,
number of stars out of 5 or simply recommended / not
recommended.

Below you will find a sample scoring system based on a possible


total score of 100. The scoring is broken down by each stage of the
wine tasting process examined in this booklet.

Please note that the form of your scoring system does not matter.
What does matter is that your impressions of the wine’s complexity
and intensity of aroma, balance and finish should dominate the
scoring.

SCORING SYSTEM

Appearance / 10
Aroma / 20
Mouth feel / 10
Body / 10
Balance / 20
Finish / 20
Overall / 10

Total / 100

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

8 - CHARACTERISTICS OF SOME OF THE MOST


COMMONLY KNOWN GRAPE VARIETIES

The world’s most famous wine grape varieties are of the genus Vitis
Vinifera originating from the region around the Black Sea. All
European wine grapes belong to this family.

A few of the most commonly known grape varieties include:

WHITE WINES RED WINES

Chardonnay Cabernet Sauvignon


Gewurztraminer Gamay Noir
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris Merlot
Riesling Pinot Noir
Sauvignon Blanc Sangiovese
Shiraz
Zinfandel

In the following pages, we will explore each wine’s benchmark


area(s), typical tasting profile, and suggested food pairings.

As a general rule, white wines should be served between 10°C and


14°C (50°F to 57°F) and red wines between 16°C and 20°C (61°F
to 68°F).

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

WHITE WINES

Chardonnay

On its own, the Chardonnay grape produces a neutral wine. Many


of the flavours commonly associated with Chardonnay are derived
from the environment in which the grape was grown and the
influence of various winemaking techniques (eg. oak contact,
fermentation methods).

Unoaked to Lightly Oaked Style

Benchmark Area(s)

Burgundy region of France, where the style ranges from light, crisp
and flinty Chablis, to rich and buttery Meursaults

Champagne region of France, where it is an important component


in many of the region’s famous sparkling wines

Typical tasting profile

Colour light yellow


Aromas/Flavours green apple, pear, lemon, grapefruit,
melon, pear
Mouth Feel high acidity - crisp, fresh, flinty
Body light
Sweetness dry

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Food Pairings

The various styles of Chardonnay allow it to be paired with a


diverse assortment of food.

Starch Pasta (with white sauce)


Seafood shrimp, trout, pan-fried salmon, light
sauce
Shellfish oysters, boiled lobster
Poultry roast chicken, turkey
Meat veal
Ethnic Thai
Cheeses semi-hard (mild Cheddar, Provolone),
hard (Gruyère, Parmesan)

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Heavily Oaked Style

Benchmark Area(s)

California and Australia, where the style is usually heavily oaked,


resulting in intense tropical fruit flavours

Typical tasting profile

Colour deep straw


Aromas/Flavours pineapple, mango, banana, coconut,
honey, butterscotch, caramel, vanilla,
hazelnut
Mouth Feel medium acidity - creamy, luscious
Body full
Sweetness dry, but may be perceived as sweeter
than the unoaked style due to its lower
acid level and intenser fruit

Food Pairings

Heavily oaked Chardonnay does not pair well with delicate fish and
seafood dishes – better to pair with heavier and stronger flavours,
such smoked fish, heavy cream sauces and spicy Asian cuisine.

Seafood cod, haddock, tuna, cream sauce


Shellfish Dungeness crab, lobster, cream sauce
Poultry roast chicken
Pork grilled
Ethnic mild curries
Cheeses soft (Bucheron), hard (Gruyère,
Parmesan), goat

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Gewurztraminer

Gewurztraminer is an aromatic wine best produced in cooler


climates. The term “Gewurz” is German for “spicy”. As such, this
wine is usually off-dry and distinguished by an intense bouquet of
lychees.

Benchmark Area(s)

Alsace region of France

Typical tasting profile

Colour deep yellow, pinkish tinge, copper tone


Aromas/Flavours very aromatic - spice, perfume, floral, lychee,
pineapple, grapefruit, citrus rind, mangoes,
petrol
Mouth Feel high acidity, oily, dry to semi-sweet
Body full, high in alcohol
Sweetness dry, but may be perceived as sweet due to its
intense fruit

Food Pairings

Gewürztraminer’s intense aromatics lends it well to Asian cuisine.


Traditionally, it is often paired with high fat meats.

Vegetables fresh fruit


Seafood smoked salmon
Poultry chicken, wild game
Pork roasted, ham
Ethnic Chinese, hot curries
Cheeses soft (Munster), medium (Swiss), smoked
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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris

Pinot Grigio, as it is known in Italy, and Pinot Gris, as it is known


in France, are becoming increasingly popular wines whose styles
can vary greatly depending on their origin. Pinot Grigio tends to be
lighter and crisper when compared to Pinto Gris, which tends to be
fuller bodied, richer and floral.

Benchmark Area(s)

Veneto and Fruili regions of Northern Italy


Alsace region of France

Typical tasting profile

Colour deep yellow, pinkish tinge


Aromas/Flavours peach, apricot, floral, spice, smoke, biscuit,
butter
Mouth Feel medium acidity - rich, oily
Body full
Sweetness dry

Food Pairings

Vegetables vegetable dishes


Starch risotto
Seafood fish, scallops, shrimp
Shellfish crab
Poultry chicken
Beef veal
Cheeses soft (fresh Mozzarella), mild (Jarlsberg)

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Riesling

Riesling is a crisp, fruity and aromatic wine that is often consumed


when young. It is used to make dry, off-dry, semi-sweet, sweet and
sparkling wines. Riesling wines are rarely blended and are seldom
oaked.

Rieslings suitable for extended aging are high quality dry or off-dry
Rieslings with naturally high acidity, and sweet Rieslings with high
sugar content.

Benchmark Area(s)

Rhine region of Germany, where it is generally made in an off-dry


style, with lower alcohol levels
Alsace region of France, where it is generally made in a dry style,
with higher alcohol levels

Typical tasting profile

Colour pale yellow, green tinge


Aromas/Flavours green apple, apricot, pineapple, peach,
lime, floral, honey, petrol, mineral
(slate)
Mouth Feel high acidity – crisp, zingy, oily
Body medium
Sweetness dry, off-dry, sweet

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Food Pairings
When in doubt, think of Riesling. It’s a versatile wine for pairing
with food due to its balance of sugar and acidity. Commonly paired
with white fish or pork, it can also be paired with the strong
flavours and spices of Thai and Chinese cuisine.
When pairing with spicy dishes, always choose off-dry/semi-sweet
versions of Riesling.

You should pair sweeter Rieslings (auslese, beerenauslese, ice wine


styles) with desserts.

Vegetables vegetables, salads


Starch pasta (in white sauce)
Seafood scallops, shrimp, trout, white sauce
Shellfish oysters, crab, lobster
Meat cold cuts, veal, sausages
Poultry goose, duck, skinless poached chicken
breast
Pork roasted
Ethnic Thai, Chinese, mild curries
Cheeses mild (Jarlsberg), semi-hard (Monterey
Jack, Gouda)
Dessert fruit-based

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc produces a crisp, dry, and refreshing wine.


Grapes grown in cooler climates will result in wines with grassy,
herbaceous notes, whereas warmer climate versions will exhibit
tropical, melon flavours.

Benchmark Area(s)

Marlborough region of New Zealand


Loire Valley of France
Graves appellation in the Bordeaux region of France, where it is
blended with the Semillon grape

Typical tasting profile

Colour watery to light yellow, greenish tinge


Aromas/Flavours citrus, grassy, asparagus, green bean, canned
green peas, green melon, mineral
Mouth Feel high acidity – crisp, fresh, zingy
Body medium
Sweetness very dry

Food Pairings

Vegetables asparagus
Seafood shrimp, salmon (in light sauce)
Shellfish oysters, mussels, lobster
Poultry chicken thigh, roast duck
Ethnic sushi, Mexican
Cheeses semi-hard (sharp cheddar), hard
(Gruyère), fondue, goat

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

RED WINES

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is grown in almost every major wine


producing region of the world. Typical Cabernet Sauvignons will
exhibit aromas of black currants. However, styles can vary greatly
depending on the ripeness of the grapes at harvest. Lesser ripe
versions will exhibit green bell peppers and vegetal flavours. Too
ripe and the wines can taste jammy with aromas of stewed black
currants. In its youth, Cabernet Sauvignon will exhibit black cherry
and plum aromas, giving way to cedar and cigar box aromas as it
ages.

Benchmark Area(s)

The famous “claret” wines of Bordeaux (more specifically the


Médoc region) of France, commonly blended with Merlot and
Cabernet Franc
Napa Valley of California
Coonawarra region of Australia

Typical tasting profile

Colour dark ruby red


Aromas/Flavours black currant, blackberry, plum, green
pepper, mint, clove, cedar, tobacco,
vanilla, chocolate, violets
Mouth Feel high tannin, silky, chewy, dry
Body full
Sweetness very dry

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Food Pairings

Best to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon with fatty red meats. The
protein and fat in such dishes will negate some of the high tannin
levels associated with this wine.

Starch pasta (in red sauce)


Meat dark veal, lamb, spare ribs, grilled steak
Cheeses soft (Brie, Camembert), semi-soft
(Havarti), semi-hard (sharp Cheddar),
hard (strong Cheddar)
Dessert dark chocolate

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Gamay Noir

Gamay Noir makes a light, fruity wine that is pleasant to drink. It


is commonly known as a great “picnic” wine.

Benchmark Area(s)

Beaujolais region of France

Typical tasting profile

Colour pale, blue red


Aromas/Flavours cherry, strawberry, raspberry
Mouth Feel high acidity, low tannin - fresh
Body medium, low alcohol, simple, easy drinking
Sweetness dry

Food Pairings

Gamay pairs well with a variety of food.

Seafood sardines, mackarel, tuna


Meat roasts, stews
Ethnic Japanese
Cheeses soft (Feta, fresh Mozzarella, Muenster),
mild (Jarlsberg)

Can be served a little cooler than most reds, at around 12°C (56°F).

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Merlot

Merlot wines usually have a medium body with hints of berry,


plum, and currant. Merlot’s softness is highly valued when blended
with more tannic grapes.

Benchmark Area(s)

Second most important variety in the Bordeaux region of France


after Cabernet Sauvignon, its typical blending partner
“Cult” wines of California

Typical tasting profile

Colour ruby
Aromas/Flavours lots of fruit, raspberry, blackberry, plum,
earthy, spice
Mouth Feel low acid, low tannin results in a soft wine,
supple
Body full, high alcohol, dry
Sweetness dry

Food Pairings

Vegetables roasted
Other pizza, pasta with meat sauce
Seafood grilled tuna, grilled salmon
Meat lamb
Poultry grilled chicken
Pork roasted
Beef stewed, steak
Cheeses soft (Brie), hard

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir grapes are grown mostly in cooler wine regions. It is


widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world,
but is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine.
Pinot Noir tends to be light in colour, with a light to medium body,
complete with aromas of cherry, raspberry and earth.

Benchmark Area(s)

Burgundy region of France


Willamette Valley, Oregon
Russian River Valley, California

Typical tasting profile

Colour cherry, mid-ruby


Aromas/Flavours cherry, strawberry, raspberry, plum, green
mint, herbal tea, cola, licorice, mushroom,
leather, earth, soya, cinnamon, smoky, coffee,
rose petals
Mouth Feel medium to high acidity, low to medium tannin
- fresh, fleshy, silky, soft, supple, velvety
Body light to medium bodied
Sweetness dry

- 33 -
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Food Pairings

Vegetables mushrooms
Starch pasta (in red sauce)
Seafood grilled salmon, grilled tuna
Meat cold cuts, lamb
Poultry duck, roasted chicken with mushroom
sauce
Pork ham
Beef stew
Cheeses soft, hard (Edam)

- 34 -
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Sangiovese

Sangiovese has fresh fruity aromas and some spiciness, but


develops oaky/tarry when aged in barrels.

Benchmark Area(s)

Tuscany region of Italy where it is the main grape in the wines of


Chianti

Typical tasting profile

Colour orange tint


Aromas/Flavours cherry, prune, dried fruit, herbs, earthy
Mouth Feel high acidity, tannic, dry
Body medium
Sweetness dry

Food Pairings

Other baked meat pasta dishes


Meat veal, stews, venison
Poultry grilled or roasted chicken
Pork bbq
Beef steak
Cheeses soft (Mozzarella), semi-hard (Provolone)
hard (Pecorino)

- 35 -
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Shiraz

Australian Shiraz typically expresses aromas of blackberry,


chocolate, espresso and black pepper. Known as Syrah in the
Rhône Valley of France, it is more commonly blended with other
varieties. The European version is drier, more tannic, and lower in
alcohol.

Benchmark Area(s)

Barossa Valley of Australia

Typical tasting profile

Colour dark purple, inky


Aromas/Flavours raspberry, black currant, plum, ripe dark fruit,
black pepper, licorice, smokey, chocolate
Mouth Feel jammy, chocolately
Body full
Sweetness dry, but can be perceived as slightly sweet due
to the high alcohol content

Food Pairings

Meat sausages
Poultry turkey, roasted or grilled chicken, goose
Beef steak with peppercorn sauce
Cheeses hard (Emmentaler), smoked, goat
Dessert dark chocolate

- 36 -
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING GUIDE

Zinfandel

California Zinfandel is made into two dominate styles – fine, full


bodied red “fruit bomb” wines, as well as in easy drinking,
inexpensive, sweet blush plonk.
Known as “Primitivo” in the Puglia region of Italy.

Benchmark Area(s)

Napa and Sonoma Valleys, California

Typical tasting profile – full bodied style

Colour dark purple, inky


Aromas/Flavours fruit-forward: strawberry, raspberry, dark
brambly berries, blackberry, blueberries,
stewed fruit, briary, jammy, anise, spice
Mouth Feel medium acidity, rarely tannic, jammy, dry but
with perceived sweetness
Body full yet easy drinking
Sweetness dry, but can be perceived as slightly sweet due
to the high alcohol content

Food Pairings

Vegetables tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, olives


Meat fruit-stuffed, lamb, venison, sausage,
stews, roasts
Poultry turkey
Pork chops, spicy bbq ribs
Beef steak
Cheeses soft (Muenster), aged (Parmesan), dry
(Monterey Jack), hard
- 37 -
Visit us on the web at
pocketsommelier.blogspot.com for retailer
availability.

For information on ordering, contact Chris at:


pocketsommelier@yahoo.ca.

The Pocket Sommelier makes a great gift!


WINE TASTING JOURNAL
Visit us on the web at
pocketsommelier.blogspot.com for retailer
availability.

For information on ordering, contact Chris at:


pocketsommelier@yahoo.ca.

The Pocket Sommelier makes a great gift!


THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

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Aromas
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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

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/20
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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

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Aromas
/20
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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

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/20
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Score: Taster’s Initials:

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Aromas
/20
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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

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Aromas
/20
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Balance /20
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Score: Taster’s Initials:

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Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
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Body /10
Balance /20
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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

Date: Place:
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Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
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Body /10
Balance /20
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Score: Taster’s Initials:

Date: Place:
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Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
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Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
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THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

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Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:

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Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:

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Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:
THE POCKET SOMMELIER – WINE TASTING JOURNAL

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:

Date: Place:
Producer/Varietals/Region/Vintage/Alcohol Content/Price

Appearance /10
Aromas
/20
Mouth Feel /10
Body /10
Balance /20
Finish /20
Overall /10
Score: Taster’s Initials:
This booklet was written and compiled by
Christopher Warren.

Visit us on the web at


pocketsommelier.blogspot.com for retailer
availability.

For information on ordering, contact Chris at:


pocketsommelier@yahoo.ca.
The Pocket Sommelier
Wine Tasting Guide & Journal

The Pocket Sommelier – 2008


Ottawa ON
pocketsommelier.blogspot.com

ISBN 978-0-9811374-0-7