Wine Tasting/Pairing Score Sheet for Novices

kissthecookApril 28, 2007

Hubby and I are planning a wine tasting/pairing party next month, and I would love to come up with a very simple (even silly) scorecard. Most people attending don't have much experience with wine, so I would like to keep this a very casual and informal...nothing too serious. Any suggestions?

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A spreadsheet. I'm assuming you do it blind but you dont' have to. One column for the number or letter if you have bagged the bottles (e.g. Wine A, B, ...). Next column left blank for you to fill in the name when you uncover them.

Then you can have one large space for notes, or divide that into separate parts too -

Visual - you can note clear or cloudy, for reds whether more towards garnet / brown or on the purple side (i.e. possibly younger), lighter seeming (you can see thru) or heavier seeming (you can't), and whatever else you pick up.

Aroma - you can record your impressions - does it smell like matchsticks (that's possibly the sulfur added to preserve), or does it smell like vanilla or berries or pineapple or apples or cherries or tobacco or tea or chocolate or green pepper or spice? If you pour a cab franc for example, or sometimes a merlot or cab sauvignon, you get some of those vegetal, green notes on the nose, unless it from a really warm and ripe vintage like Napa California in 2001. Some spice comes from the oak barrels, some toast notes as well. In whites, you get some grassiness, typical in a sauvignon blanc, and in some of them you get a distinct note of cat pee, which you will understand immediately.

The visual and aromatic info can give you SOME info about a wine's age, grapes, and origin. But they can also be misleading.

Then the larger column for taste - how it is when it hits your mouth, when you taste it, and after you swallow, called the "finish". This is where people get creative, but it is also where you figure out what kind of taster you are. If you take an old red wine, say 25 years or older, you might have a lighter-colored, garnet/brown liquid that you can see through. It will smell like leather and mushrooms and earth and will taste perhaps like dry strawberries, tea, tart raspberry fruit, leather, tobacco, and it will hopefully have a nice long finish that lingers.

If you take a much younger one, you might get a dark purple wine that smells and tastes of black cherries, cloves and spice and vanilla and that has a very dry tannic finish that puckers your mouth. Tannin is the slight bitterness that feels chalky. Acid is the tartness that also puckers your mouth, but differently. You want them to be balanced out by the fruit. Younger wines are more fruity in general and these flavors recede in time.

And then the last column for your rank or score. You can add one or two more - one for the group's rank or score and then for your rankings, if you didn't rank to start. The easiest is just rank from your fave to your least favorite. Say 1 - 10. That way you know what to buy next time.

But this is only useful if you have similar wines. If you taste chardonnay and merlot and some nebbiolo, say, comparing them is kind of useless. In that case, just record your impressions and remember the ones you liked.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 1:28PM
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