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HOW TO RATE A WINE

Color and Clarity
To evaluate the appearance of a wine, you must hold a glass with wine up to a third against a white background (like a tablecloth) and observe the color and clarity of the wine. The clarity should be bright (not blurred) and the color should be appropriate to the type of wine as well as its age.

Young white wines vary in hue from a pale straw-yellow to rich amber. The color depends on the grape variety, the ripeness of the grapes at the time of harvest, how the wine was fermented and aged (white wines fermented and / or aged in barrel will have a darker golden than a wine that has fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel tanks), and also the amount of oxygen that the wine was exposed during the winemaking and bottling. As they get older, white wines darken, assuming a deeper and golden color. A brownish hue can suggest an extremely old white wine or, when found in a young white, a wine that was prematurely oxidized and probably should not be consumed.

Red wines, on the other hand, gain a paler shade as they age. Young wines vary from a translucent cherry color (for lighter wines) to a deep ruby, sometimes with purple shades. An older red wine can display a hue similar to brick around the edges. This should not be present in young red wine.

Aroma (or bouquet)
The aroma is the most important and revealing of character and quality of a wine. Indeed, what is most noticeable when tasting a wine is its aroma. Think like the taste of food changes when you have a cold and cannot smell.

When we stir the wine in a glass and smell the wine, volatile essences are transported to thousands of nerve endings in the nasal cavity to the olfactory bulb in your brain. The same thing happens through the retronasal passage at the back of your mouth when giving a sip and swallow the wine. In fact, the flavors are odors in your mouth. Stirring volatilizes the aromas in the wine and smelling attracts them to the olfactory bulb, which interprets them - ie, compares them with other familiar smells.

It is a complex process, since a wine consists of over 300 different chemical compounds, many of which are identical or similar to those found in fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and other substances. That's why wine aficionados describe aromas of wine in terms of various fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices (eg: apple, melon, citrus, cherry, berry, honey, peach, mint, pepper, grass, green olive, clove, licorice, cedar, etc. ). It is not about being capricious. There are, in fact, underlying chemical correlations to those comparisons which explain the rich metaphorical language that is used to describe the sensory characteristics of the wine.
The primary aroma of a wine comes from the grape variety (varieties which compose it), while secondary aromas, caused by factors such as fermentation and its aging in barrels and in bottles, will mingle with the fruity to form the bouquet of the wine.

To fully appreciate the aroma of a wine, stir it gently in your glass. The aroma should be clean and fresh , with the aromas associated to its wine varieties (eg: peach and lemon with Alvarinho, green apple and lemon with Arinto, blackberries and currants with Aragonez, violet and plum with Touriga Nacional, etc.) maybe enhanced by toast, vanilla or spicy aromas as a result of aging in casks. If the wine is older, you may have a less fresh and fruity aroma, but you will have greater complexity.

Palate
Despite the taste, as described above, is essentially a function of smell, tasting reveals personality aspects of a wine that the aroma can't.

For humans, there are only four noticeable combinations of flavors: sweet, sour, bitter and salty. These taste sensations are located in different parts of the tongue: sweet / sour at the tip, acidity and bitterness on the the sides and at the back.

You may notice the acidity of a young dry white wine, for example, or the astringency of a young full-bodied red. Some varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Albariño and Fernao Pires, are especially fruity, while a young robust Cabernet Sauvignon may taste too dry or even bitter.

The body of a wine - a feeling of heaviness in your palate - is a function mainly of its alcohol content (the higher the alcohol, the more full-bodied the wine is). A wine with very high alcohol content may have a rough or hot flavor, while a wine with low alcohol may seem thin or watery. In red wines, the acid tannins from the grape skins, which are absorbed through the fermentation of the wine (white wines don't ferment in their skins, and thus have little tannins) may cause a feeling of dryness, particularly in the gums, while a wine with low acidity may cause an excessively soft impression.

Whatever flavors are transmitted by the wine, the key to quality is balance and harmony between all its elements: fruit, alcohol, acidity, wood (if any). When tasting a wine - especially if you gargle before swallowing - you may quickly gain the impression of its most striking elements (is it fruity, sour, smooth, bitter?) and to what extent these elements are in harmony.
The taste, combined with the evaluation of its appearance and its aroma will complete its assessment of the quality of the wine and, most importantly , if you think it is pleasant or not.

Aftertaste
The aftertaste is characterized by the persistence of the flavor in the mouth, that is, after swallowing, the longer the flavor of the wine lasts, the greater the aftertaste.

Price - Quality
Price – Quality ratio of the wine. Is the price appropriate, based on the sensations that the wine gave you and the harmony of its various elements?

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