Sparkling Wine

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Champagne, Cava, Spumante and sparkling wine from Limoux

What can you learn from this wine lesson?

Champagne and some sparkling wines from different countries are tested. The origin, grape varieties and production methods of Champagne, Cava, Spumante and wine from Limoux are described. Information on the different methods to produce sparkling wine such as the Champagne method, Charmat method and Gas injection method is given in detail. Designations for sweetness or dryness of the wine are also explained. Further a list of the most common words used in this context is included.

Wine suggestions

Many of the suggested wines on this web site may be bought in your country. Refer to Wine Searcher to find retailers. The number below links to Systembolaget´s information in Swedish.

🔺Champagne: Henriot Brut Souverain, nr 81466. Producer: Henriot.

🔺Cava: Anna de Codorníu, nr 7369. Producer: Codorníu

🔺Spumante: Rotari Brut Riserva, nr 7567. Producer: Mezzacorona.

🔺Limoux/Sweden: Åkesson Kronovalls Vinslott Tirage, nr 7753. Producer: Åkesson Vin AB.

Wine for celebrations

Sparkling wine and above all Champagne, is the most festive drink of the world.  Champagne is the finest wine among the sparkling wines. Sparkling wine from other locations than Champagne in northeastern France can not be called Champagne.


Flavour of freshly baked bread

A good Champagne should be fresh, often with hints of yeast, and flavour of freshly baked bread with fresh, citrusy acidity. Over time the flavour becomes milder and softer and gets a wonderful, nutty complexity. Champagne is the model for sparkling wines made elsewhere.

Limestone and cold climate

Champagne, located in the northeastern France, has a cool climate and is actually one of the coolest wine-producing areas in the world. Virtually all of the vineyards in Champagne have a subsoil of limestone. The actual soil layer is very thin, you only have to dig a little to come down to the underlying chalk.

Vintage Champagne from good years

Most Champagnes do not specify the vintage on the label. However, one vintage often dominates the wine and this is then mixed with reserved stock from previous years.This is done to even out the differences between years. The endeavour is that a certain Champagne should taste the same every year. Vintage Champagne is only produced from the best years. Each Champagne house will assess if it is going to be a Vintage Champagne or not. A Vintage Champagne has more character and is also more expensive but often better value for money.

High acidity makes aging possible

Because of the cold climate Champagne has high acidity and this is the reason why Champagne is so well suited for aging and also one of the features that distinguishes Champagne from other sparkling wines.  Champagne can benefit from bottle storage even after the purchase. Put the Champagne in a cupboard for six - eighteen months and it will get extra roundness. Vintage Champagne is at its best a decade or more after harvest.

Three grape varieties allowed

Champagne may only be made of three different grape varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The most common grape is Chardonnay and then Pinot Noir and the least used is Pinot Meunier, which like Pinot Noir is a blue grape. Usually the different grapes are mixed.

If only the green grape Chardonnay is used the Champagne is called Blanc de blancs. If the blue grapes Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are used the Champagne is called Blanc de noirs.

Suggested Champagne

Many of the suggested wines on this web site may be bought in your country. Refer to Wine Searcher to find retailers. The number below links to Systembolaget´s information in Swedish.

Henriot Brut Souverain, Champagne, France, nr 81466. Producer: Henriot. Price about 40 euros.

This is a full-bodied, elegant Champagne with high perceived acidity. Flavour: very fresh and elegant with notes of red berries and citrus. Aroma: fresh, complex with notes of toasted almonds, citrus and elderflower.

Brut Souverain is composed of 20% reserve wines. The percentage of reserve wines may vary from one year to another.

Alcohol content: 12.0%. Dosage: Less than 9 g/litre. Grape varieties: A balanced proportion of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir plus a little Pinot Meunier to give it a delicate, fruity note.


Cava is the Spanish word for a sparkling wine made in the same way as Champagne.

Flavour similar to Champagne

Cava is produced according to the Champagne method (traditional method) but it can not be compared with real Champagne. Cava has less character and may be slightly earthy but often quite acceptable and may, with an ambitious producer, be almost like Champagne. If you are lucky, you can find a vintage Cava at a fraction of the price of a vintage Champagne.

Cava comes mainly from Penedès

Catalonia, west of Barcelona, is the center of the sparkling wine production in Spain. Ninety-five percent of all cava is produced in Penedès in Catalonia. Penedès is situated on the coast just south of Barcelona. It can be described as one long west-east slope sheltered by mountains on both sides. It consists of three zones (districts).

Bajo Penedès (Baix Penedès) - furthest out on the coast, is the lowest and hottest of the three areas (warm mediterranean climate), and here full-bodied red wines are produced to a large extent.

Medio Penedès - is the central and largest wine growing area (60% of the district´s grapes are grown here). Most produced is sparkling (Cava) wines but increasingly also great red wines of modern type. The most cultivated grapes are the white Xarel-lo, Macabéo, Parellada and Chardonnay and the red Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Monastrell.

Penedès Superior (Alt Penedès) - furthest away from the coast, is the steepest and highest situated area (above 500 m altitude). The climate is so cool that Cabernet Sauvignon no longer thrives and therefore almost all wines produced are white, the best are fresh with good acidity.

Cava can be produced anywhere in Spain and is not associated with any geographical area (designated origin), although the vast majority (about 95%) of the Cavas are produced in the Penedès area. It was also here that the word Cava (Catalan for cellar) was used for sparkling wine made according to the Champagne method, for the first time, around 1970. The wine has however existed since 1872 when it was invented by José Raventós at Codorníu, after a visit to France.

Codorníu and Freixenet are the major producers

The largest producers of Cava are Codorníu and Freixenet and they produce wines with the classic Champagne method. Prices of Cava are relatively low. This can be attributed to the modernized, automated production and economy of scale.

Cava is produced according to the Champagne method

Cava wines are despite the fact that they are made with the traditional method (Champagne method) unique, since they are mainly made of native Spanish grapes. Cava is also the world´s second largest appellation for sparkling wine (after Champagne in France). This is due to EU regulations. In 1986 the "denomination" was created and to get around the EU rules that each "denomination" should have a specific geographical limitation, Spain listed as much as 159 villages (list approved 1992) across Spain as geographical limitation. The villages were those where sparkling wine made with the Champagne method were made traditionally. Most of these villages are located in Catalonia while the rest are scattered in the (autonomous) regions of Basque Country, La Rioja, Navarra, Aragon and Valencia. Before 1986 the classification was simply vin de pays (VdIT).

Unique grape varieties

Cava may be made of the grapes Parellada, Macabéo, Xarel-lo, Chardonnay, Monastrell and Pinot Noir.

Suggested Cava

Many of the suggested wines on this web site may be bought in your country. Refer to Wine Searcher to find retailers. The number below links to Systembolaget´s information in Swedish.

Anna de Codorníu Brut, Spain, Cava, nr 7369. Producer: Codorníu. Price about 10 euros.

This is a medium-bodied cava. Flavour: round, dry and fresh with notes of citrus. Aroma: notes of tropical fruits such as pineapple but also of citrus, grapefruit and lime.

Alcohol content: 11.5%. Sugar content: 7 gr/litre. Grape varieties: 70% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada, 15% Macabéo/Xarel-lo.

Have been stored 9 months on the lees in bottle.


Spumante is the Italian word for a sparkling wine.

Spumante has Champagne as the model

Italian sparkling wines produced from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have Champagne as a model but like Cava it can not compete with the real thing.

Good sparkling wine from Northern Italy Alps

The wine included in the tasting is Rotari Brut Riserva and this wine is produced by Mezzacorona, a cooperative in northern Italy, located in Trentino-Alto Adige. Here the finest sparkling wines in Italy are produced.

Trentino-Alto Adige is an alpine area, 99% of the region is characterized by mountain landscape. To the north and west the Alps dominate and in the east the Dolomites. to the south the mountains shift into hills and flat country. Alto-Adige is also called South Tyrol.

Cold climate with large temperature differences

In general the climate in this part of northern Italy is a temperate continental climate with large differences between summer and winter but also between day and night. Grape maturity is delayed which in turn contributes to a better flavour development and retained acidity. The climate is in fact too cold for viticulture but along the valleys that follow the rivers Adige and Isarco there are macro-climates that allow wine-growing of quality wines. Although there are areas that are snow-covered the year round, there are actually also areas which have some of the hottest summer days in Italy. There are vineyards on the lowest flat land, on the slopes and mountains up to 1000 meters above sea level.

The wine is made according to the Champagne method

The sparkling wines from this region are made according to the traditional method (Champagne method). They are bottle-fermented and stored on the lees for at least 18 months. Storage for 28 months is necessary for vintage wines (millesimato) and at least 38 months for riserva.

Grape varieties

There are no regulations specifying which grapes a Spumante may contain. In this area there are two types, white (bianco) and rosé (rosato). The grapes used are Chardonnay with/or Pinot Bianco, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Suggested Spumante

Many of the suggested wines on this web site may be bought in your country. Refer to Wine Searcher to find retailers. The number below links to Systembolaget´s information in Swedish.

Rotari Brut Riserva, Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Trentino, nr 7567. Producer Mezzacorona. Price about 11 euros.

This is a medium-bodied Spumante. Flavour: dry, fruity with notes of apples, honey, white bread and grapefruit. Aroma: fruity with notes of green apples, white bread and grapefruit.

Alcohol content: 12.5%. Sugar content: 6 gr/litre. Grape varieties: 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir.

The grapes are harvested manually from vineyards in Alto Adige. The first fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The second fermentation is done in bottle (Metodo Classico). After the fermentation the wine is aged 36 months on the lees before the wine is disgorged (the lees is pushed out and the cork is inserted).

French-Swedish sparkling wine

The Champagne of the Riviera

Åkesson Kronovalls Vinslott Tirage originates from Limoux in southern France. Limoux is known to produce excellent sparkling wine. Sparkling wine from Limoux is known as the Champagne of the Riviera.

The world´s first sparkling wine

According to historians, the world´s first sparkling wine came just from Limoux. The monks at the Benedictine monastery near Limoux produced white wine in a different way. Instead of fermenting the wine in barrels, they fermented it in glass bottles, which gave the wine natural bubbles. The monk Dom Pérignon came on his journey from northern Spain past the monastery. He stole the technology and brought it to his monastery in Hautvillers Reims (Champagne), where he proudly said to be the inventor of the technology, today known as Méthode-traditional or Champagne method.

Climate and soil in Limoux

The surrounding hills of the region protect the grapes from the most extreme climate factors from the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Limoux has a micro climate particularly suited for producing white wines of high quality. The soil is shallow and consists of lime and stone.

Same grapes as in Champagne

Åkesson Kronovalls Vinslott Tirage is made of the grapes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. After production in Limoux the wine has been stored on its yeast in the old ice-cellar at Kronovall´s Vinslott for several years. The Ice-cellar keeps a steady and cool temperature, which allows the wine to ferment slowly and millions of small, lively bubbles are formed. The wine is made with the traditional method.

Suggested wine

Many of the suggested wines on this web site may be bought in your country. Refer to Wine Searcher to find retailers. The number below links to Systembolaget´s information in Swedish.

Kronovalls Vinslott Tirage, Limoux, France and Sweden, nr 7753. Producer: Åkesson Vin AB. Price about 16 euros.

This is a medium-bodied, sparkling, white wine. Flavour: dry very fresh with hints of pears, yellow apples, biscuits, nougat and citrus. Aroma: fruity with hints of pears, yellow apples, biscuits, nougat and citrus.

Alcohol content: 12.5%. Sugar content: 12 gr/litre. Grape varieties: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Sparkling wine production

There are three main methods to produce sparkling wine, the traditional method or as it also is called the Champagne method, the Charmat process and the gas injection method.


The traditional method or Champagne method


The grapes are picked by hand and brought quickly to the press house where they are pressed gently to release the juice. This process is particularly critical when handling blue grapes since it is important that no red colour gets in to the juice.The first pressing, called "cuvée", gives must of the finest quality. The second pressing releases the so called "taille". These two sets of must are fermented separately and not until later the winemaker decides what to mix with what.

First fermentation

The must is allowed to settle for a few hours and after that the fermentation of the clear juice takes place in exactly the same way as any other white wine. This fermentation mainly takes place in stainless steel tanks. When the white wine has been fermented, it is moved to storage drums. This is the base wine to Champagne and it is very acid. The winemaker will then savour the various drums of base wine and decide on a suitable blend. After selecting a number of drums from the current year, wines from previous years are added. The winemaker blends wines from different districts and grape varieties and from both the "cuvée" and "taille" pressings.

Vintage Champagne

In very good years, a certain number of drums of wine may stand out as especially fine. They are set aside and are mixed but no wines from the store are added. This mixture becomes Vintage Champagne. Most Champagne companies also produce what is known as Prestige Cuvée Champagne of a certain vintage. This is a very rigorous selection of wines from a particular year.

Second fermentation

The second fermentation is intended to make the wine effervescent. In order to do this the base wine is mixed with liqueur de tirage, consisting of wine, sugar and yeast. The wine is then put into thick walled bottles and these are placed lying in the cellar. A slow second fermentation takes place, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. Due to the low temperature in the cellar the second fermentation will take several weeks. Since the bottle is sealed the carbon dioxide cannot escape and thereby producing the sparkle of Champagne. The pressure in the bottle rises to six atmospheres, hence the need for thick glass bottles. The wine will not leave the bottle until the cork is pulled up. At this stage the bottles are sealed with bottle caps, similar to those on beer bottles.

Aging on dead yeast

As the fermentation proceeds and all the sugar is consumed, the yeast cells die and after several months the fermentation is complete. The yeast cells fall to the side of the bottle and form a sticky precipitate. The Champagne continues to age in the cool cellar for several more years resulting in a toasty, yeasty characteristic. This aging gives the Champagne its yeasty flavour. The better Champagne, the longer it has been in contact with the dead yeast.

The Appellation rules stipulate that all Champagne should age at least 15 months and all Vintage Champagne should age at least three years. Most of the Champagnes without vintage are however, allowed to age for three years and Vintage Champagnes for five years or longer.

Remuage or Riddling

After the aging process is complete, the dead yeast must be removed from the bottle. This process is called Remuage (Riddling). The first step will be to move down the precipitate to the bottle neck. This is accomplished by placing the bottles upside down in a holder at a 75 degrees angle. In the cellars of the Champagne houses thousands of bottles are stored on angled racks. Each day the riddler comes through the cellar and turns the bottles 1/8 th of a turn while keeping them upside down. This so called remuage will go on for up to three months. Some Champagne houses use computer controlled "gyropalettes" which turn the bottles several times a day.


During Disgorging the Champagne bottle is kept upside down while the neck is frozen in an ice-salt bath. Ice-salt water remains liquid well below 0 degrees and in this way the wine in the bottle neck, containing the the dead yeast cells, gets frozen. The bottle is turned upright and the cap is removed. The pressure of the carbon dioxide gas in the bottle forces the plug of frozen wine out, leaving behind clear Champagne.

Sugar and wine are added

The bottle is now open and a small amount of the wine has been lost. The bottle is then filled up with a mixture, called "liqueur d´expedition". It consists of wine from the stores in which sugar has been dissolved, one more example of how it is possible, in Champagne, to bend the rules. Normally sugar is not allowed to make a wine sweeter by adding sugar. The more sugar the sweeter the final Champagne will be. The majority of Champagnes will only get a minor sugar supplement and will be sold as brut (dry).

The bottle is then corked and the cork wired down to secure the high internal pressure of the carbon dioxide.

Tank Method or Charmat Method

Tank Method is also known as "Cuve Close" or Charmat Method. Unlike the Champagne Method whereby the second fermentation happens in bottle, in Tank Method it takes place in a large closed pressure tank. In this process the wines also go through two fermentations. After the first fermentation (usually in tank), the base wines are placed in another sealed pressure tank and a mixture of yeast and sugar is added to induce the second fermentation. The carbon dioxide produced during the second fermentation cannot escape as the tank is sealed.  The contact with the lees is much less than in the Champagne method, although in some cases there are paddles/ agitators placed inside the tank to ensure better contact with the lees.

When the second fermentation is complete the wine is filtered to remove the yeast and any other sediments. After this step the dosage (mix of sugar and wine) is added to the tank to adjust the sweetness and the wine is bottled under pressure to preserve the bubbles in the bottle.

Differences in quality of wines produced according to the Tank Method depend among other things how long the wine has been fermented. The lower the temperature and slower the fermentation, the finer and more durable bubbles. The wine also preserves aromas better at a lower fermentation temperature.

The Tank Method is a much less expensive and less time-consuming method of sparkling wine production. Often it is used in the production of higher volumes of sparkling wines but that does not necessarily mean that the wines become inferior or of lower quality. Most sparkling wines which can be purchased at Systembolaget in Sweden are made according to the Traditional Method. With the Tank Method wines such as Prosecco are produced.

Gas injection method

Comparatively inexpensive production of sparkling wine is made by simple injection of carbon dioxide in the same way as soft drinks.

How dry or sweet is the wine?

The sweetness levels of sparkling wine may be a little confusing. They range from very dry (extra brut) to very sweet (doux). Below you find the designations and the sugar content:

Brut Nature/Zero dosage          0-3 gr/litre

Extra Brut = Bone dry               0-6 gr/litre

Brut = Dry                                 0-12 gr/litre

Extra Sec = Medium dry          12-17 gr/litre

Sec = Medium sweet               17-32 gr/litre

Demi-Sec = Sweet                   32-50 gr/litre

Doux = Very sweet                   more than 50 gr/litre

Small Glossary

Blanc de Blancs  Sparkling wine made only on green grapes, usually Chardonnay

Blanc de Noirs  Sparkling wine made only on blue grapes, e g 100% Pinot Noir or 100% Pinot Meunier or a mixture of them  

Brut  Dry

Cava  White sparkling wine from various districts in Spain

Crémant  Sparkling wine from other parts in France than Champagne

Cuvée  Generally refers to a blend of wines

Cuvée Prestige  Usually the best wine the house has to offer

Disgorging  Procedure when the bottle neck is dipped into a cold bath and the precipitate is forming an ice plug which is then pushed out of the bottle

Demi-Sec  Semi-dry or semi-sweet Champagne

Dosage  See Liqueur the dosage

Doux  Sweet

Liqueur de dosage  Mixture of sugar and wine that is added before the final Champagne cork is put on to give the wine sweetness

Liqueur de tirage  Mixture of wine, sugar and yeast that is added at second fermentation to get bubbles in the wine

Prosecco  Sparkling wine from northern Italy made with the Tank Method

Remuage  Turning and tilting of the bottles in an upright rack to collect the sediment at the bottle neck in preparation for the disgorging. Also called Riddling.

Sekt  German term for sparkling wine

Spumante  Italian term for sparkling wine

Taille  Second pressing of the grapes

Tirage  See Liqueur de tirage

Food that goes well with sparkling wine and Champagne

For most people Champagne and sparkling wine have a prominent place among the aperitifs but they can also be excellent to both starter, main course, cheese and dessert.

A simple rule of thumb is that the lighter and younger wine, the lighter snack or food. Light and fresh Blanc de Blancs goes well with oysters or other shellfish, foie gras or a thin slice of salmon. To mature sparkling wine a creamy lobster or mushroom soup goes well. Vegetable dishes, fish and seafood taste better with an elegant Champagne. Aged Champagne may be consumed with acidic desserts for example fresh berries. The freshness of both dessert and wine is an excellent finish of the meal. The classic combination is strawberries and Champagne.

Avoid dishes with much acidity, such as citrus fruits or sauces with vinegar.

Food suggestions

Risotto with asparagus and shrimps

4 persons

2 shallots

8 decilitres water

2 chicken stock cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 decilitres arborio rice

2 decilitres dry white wine

1 decilitre grated Parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic

300 g red pepper

7 pcs spring onions (100 g)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 kg unpeeled shrimps (400 gr peeled)

3 pinches salt

2 pinches of freshly ground black pepper

200 gr fresh, green asparagus for garnish

Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat the water and stock cubes until they are dissolved. Set aside. Heat the oil in a wide saucepan and fry the onion over medium heat for about 1 minute to soften. Add the rice and fry it while stirring, for about 1 minute.

Add stock and wine, a little at a time, and let the rice cook on low heat. Stir frequently and add more stock and wine as the liquid is absorbed by the rice. The risotto is ready in 15-20 minutes, when the rice grains are soft but still have a little firmness in the center. Stir in the Parmesan.

Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut the pepper into small dices and slice the spring onions. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic and peppers for about 2 minutes. Stir in the shrimps (save some for garnish) and spring onions and fry for about 1 minute.

Parboil the fresh asparagus in boiling, salted water (1 teaspoon of salt per liter of water) for 2 minutes. Rinse the asparagus quickly in cold water, then cut into pieces.

Stir in the vegetable and shrimp mixture and season with salt. Garnish with shrimps and asparagus pieces and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Cheese and Champagne

Champagne´s main contribution to the world-famous cuisine can be found among the cheeses. Different cheeses require different wines. If the cheese is strong, it needs a powerful wine, if the cheese has saltiness a wine with sweetness or juiciness will match well, if the cheese has sweetness an oakaged wine will go well. More about cheeses and wine under Cheese Types.

Brillat-Savarin and Delice de Bourgogne

Both these cheeses are extremely fat (75% fat). Brillat-Savarin is a white mould cheese and Delice de Bourgogne is a fresh cheese (see Cheese types). They are relatively firm in texture and the aroma is intensely mushroom saturated, much more than Brie and Camembert and the pride of Champagne, Chaource. The aging time is only a few weeks. The flavour is intense, nutty and milky with an acid sting. The nuts and the mushrooms, not only mushrooms but also porcini mushrooms and the umami saturated tassel mushrooms, more nuts and not least a little saltiness, elegantly balance the apparent acidity and milk sweetness.

To these cheeses a sparkling wine, gracile and acidic is required. A brutal brut, preferably without the sweet addition, dosage, which normally brut Champagne is given. Very high acidity is required to overcome the creaminess.


is an orange cheese which actually comes from Champagne. Also this cheese is fat (50%) with sticky surface and sunken top. The aroma is intense, barn-like, but not rank. The core is quite solid and the flavour is fresh with mild saltiness. Langre, as well as the closely related Epoisses are smear-ripened cheeses (see Cheese types).

Le petit fiancé

is a pressed, red, smear-ripened cheese made on unpasteurized goat´s milk which may turn to gray with time. You can sense the goat when you know it but it is barely noticeable. It is almost runny inside the featherweight, bitter crust and the inside is aromatic with a distinct nuttiness. The cheese has the same character as the smear-ripened cheeses Munster, Port salut and the white Reblochon.

To these cheeses a Blanc de Blancs with freshness and elegance but also pronounced fruitiness goes well.

Truffle pecorino

may be just right to finish the meal. The black truffle in the aged Tuscan or Sardinian pecorino gives to this medium-salted, rustic sheep cheese its elegant character. It can be even better with an aged, somewhat powerful and delicate Champagne, e g a decent vintage bottle or a mature Champagne without vintage.

How to taste a sparkling wine

The tasting´s five steps

Light wines are tasted before full-bodied. Start by looking at the bubbles and the colour and then in sequence from left to right smell and taste them. End the tasting by summarizing the impressions.


Large bubbles, which disappear quickly, are often a sign of a simpler sparkling wine which may have been carbonated like a soft drink. Small, equal and persistent bubbles and a ring of foam that lingers, indicate a quality wine.


To look at the colour grasp the foot of the wine glass and hold it against a white surface. By tilting the glass and look at it from above you can note the colour and the intensity. Already at this step you can get an indication of the age of the wine, its concentration and sometimes the grape variety. The intensity of the colour may tell you something about the concentration of the wine. If the wine looks thick and opaque you can conclude that it will have a rich and concentrated flavour.


Spin around the wine in the glass, either by holding the glass in the foot and rotate the wrist or by letting the glass remain on the table and rotate it on the surface. It is important that the wine gets a generous contact with the oxygen in the air, since it triggers positive chemical reactions which make the wine to evolve in the glass. Wine also sticks to the sides of the glass and thus you get a larger surface which smells and make it simpler to discern the nuances of the wine.

Try to describe the aroma of the wine. Is the aroma great or little? Can you discern any special fruit aroma? When you are a beginner the most important is to "find hooks" to remember the aromas. Associate as freely as you can. Grandmother´s blueberry pie, newly tarred jetty or adhesive.


Take a big gulp and let it roll around in the mouth for a little while. Start to find out if the wine feels rich or light. Is there any sweetness in it or is it completely dry, i e does it lack sweetness? Is the wine fresh or perceived as insipid? Is the wine stringent or soft? The astringency is felt as an dried-out sensation on your palate. When all these questions have been answered you should start to search in your own taste memory. You may find hints of apples, raspberries, butterscotch,  bread or something entirely different.

Those who taste wine professionally always spit out the wine after tasting it. As an amateur that is of course not necessary. However, it may be good to spit for the reason that the taste buds will be somewhat stunned after a few sips of wine, making it more difficult to discern the various nuances of the wine.


After having gone through all the aspects of the wine in this way, it is time to summarize the impressions. Return to your tasting notes. How did you describe the wine? You can now draw conclusions about the quality, age of the wine and above all if you thought the wine was good.

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