Food & Drink

What is a wine flavor wheel

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wine tasting wheel
A great way to learn about wines is to choose from a wine tasting wheel
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Wines are very complex. A wine flavor wheel can help you determine what is what

A wine tasting wheel or a wine tasting flavor wheel is a tool that inexperienced or new wine drinkers can use to guide them when it comes to identifying flavors and aromas of various wines.

Initially, it may be hard to decipher the various aspects of wine, which can be very complex. How does the wine smell? How does it taste? The wine tasting wheel breaks the wines into categories, based on flavors and aromas and examples of wines that possess certain flavors and aromas in that particular category. 

For example, there may be a section for smoky tasting wines and another one for spicy wines. Some wine on the wheel will be sweet wines, others will be rich and flavorsome wines. Within each section on the wine tasting wheel are, for example, varieties of spicy wines but which have varying flavors and aromas. The wine tasting wheel provides you with the total range of different types of wines.

As you taste the wines in the wheel, the novice wine drinker begins to get the hang of identifying certain tastes, and whether or not he likes that taste or the smell or likes the taste but not the aroma.

When tasting the wine you should feel free to express your impression and opinion and whether or not you like a specific wine and why or why not. In time, you will find that you are drawn to a certain kind of wine and back away from others.

Gradually, you will learn to recognize certain details, which are the “character” of the wine. Wines can taste fruity, of course, but they can also taste like chocolate, the earth, or even like mushrooms.

When wine is exposed to the air, whether it's in a glass, or in a decanter, its flavor and aroma become apparent. There is a wine aroma wheel that you can experience that helps wine drinkers learn about the different “smells” of wine.

The type of grape that is used in making the wine determines the aroma and taste. The age of the wine, where the grapes were grown and the effects of the vintage year also have a strong bearing on the outcome.

There are those that take their wine very seriously. When selecting a wine these connoisseurs look for a wine that has finesse (or breed), balance, deepness, convolution and a long finish, which doesn’t mean anything to someone who doesn’t know anything about wines but wants to learn. 

The finish means that there is a lingering finish or tastes that are balanced and full of flavor and makes you want to drink more. If the finish is an unpleasant aftertaste, you are not going to want more. If there is no finish that is something else to consider.

Elegant is often used to describe a wine, which means the texture or the feel of the wine in the mouth is a physical impression. An experienced wine drinker will say that a wonderfully elegant wine is velvety, or silky, which equals a seamless or flawless mouthfeel. When the word mouthfeel is used this means how the wine feels in the mouth. If the wine is harsh, this is not good. The wine should feel silky. 

When a wine is described as having finesse, it doesn’t possess hard edges and nothing about the contents of the wine is considered out of place. 

The “attack” is the very first impression you get when you sip wine. Balance means that the wine’s various parts are harmonious, and nothing jumps out at you. The flavors and tannins – which are naturally-occurring chemicals found in the red grape skins – body and acid of the wine should fit together creating a perfect balance. 

If you really want to become knowledgeable about wines, using a wine tasting wheel to get your feet wet is a good way to start. 

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