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Sensory Evaluation for wine

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Soay Gala

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Hi! I want to ask you fellows if you could recommend me some effective tool to be used for sensory evaluation...(I did a few research but I still want to gain knowledge from you!:) :) :) ) I also want to ask if there's a recommended time to conduct the sensory evaluation..Is it better to do it in the morning or afternoon? Thank you :)
 

jgmillr1

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There are various wine aroma wheels that help guide the sensory analysis for a wine. This would be a good place to start. There is a sensory protocol where you smell before you swirl to perceive certain fruit aromas and smell afterwards to look for other volatile aromas. Perhaps there is a class offered near you that would help lead you in a more formal method of evaluating wines.

Apparently the morning is the best time to perform the sensory evaluation since that is when your taste buds and nose are the most sensitive. Of course that means I'd skip my morning coffee, but if there is wine involved that may be OK.
 

gregbathurst

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I used "wine tasting" by ronald jackson for my course. It was expensive and probably not worth the high price but if you can get a cheap 2nd hand copy it would be worth it.
 

Gadjobrinus

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Have you looked into kits? When we had our restaurant, our two best customers got really turned on to wine - she more than he. This is 2004-6 so I don't know where it is now, but she actually studied via distance learning through an American organization - don't know if it was/is sommelier track or not. But she seemed to feel it was an excellent means to lock in aroma and so forth. Not exactly training for sensory evaluation, in the sense of teaching how to evaluate a given glass, but, I think, a very powerful tool in that regard.
 

bernardsmith

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Hi Soay Gala - and welcome. By sensory evaluation I wonder what you mean. Do you mean how to recognize "flaws" in wines or do you mean how to recognize aromas and tastes? If the former there are kits (expensive).

If the latter, and here I am just thinking out loud here but what you might do is make your own "kit" by juicing a range of fruits and making tinctures of a range of herbs and spices. Placing each in identical containers but ensuring that you cannot identify any of the contents by color. In my opinion, the best approach is in two parts: first you need to know the contents and you smell and taste each so that you are able to associate the characteristic smells and tastes of each with the content. ("So this is what pineapple really smells like. And this is what banana when juiced tastes like").
Then (and part two really requires a partner) you or your partner label each container using, say, a number code that is randomly assigned to each container and you (or they ) keep a list of codes against content (pineapple is # 3; cocoa is #7; apple is 10 etc etc) - Your partner selects say, 5 containers at random and you have to identify each by taste and aroma. Being able to identify each aroma /taste accurately means that you have educated your palate.
 

Gadjobrinus

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Just a note, but there are kits for both flaws and aromas. "Flaw" kits tend to be less than "aroma" kits just because there are less of the former in any given kit - say, 12 flaws v. 88 aromas. Bernard's right, the kits are expensive. I've seen flaw kits for around $120, and aroma kits for anywhere $400+. Pretty ridiculous, if you ask me. Bernard provides an excellent home-version, in my opinion. The other thing I'd say, is taste a lot of wine. And taste of lot of the descriptors of wine.

Here's the 54 aromas of one "Nez du Vin" kits:

Fruit Aromas
1 – Lemon
2 – Grapefruit
3 – Orange
4 – Pineapple
5 – Banana
6 – Lychee
7 – Melon
8– Muscat
9 – Apple
10 – Pear
11 - Quince
12 - Strawberry
13 - Raspberry
14 - Redcurrant
15 - Blackcurrant
16 - Bilberry
17 - Blackberry
18 - Cherry
19 - Apricot
20 - Peach
21 - Almond (kernel)
22 - Prune
23 - Walnut
Floral Aromas
24 - Hawthorn
25 - Acacia
26 - Linden
27 - Honey
28 - Rose
29 - Violet
Vegetal Aromas
30 - Green pepper
31 - Mushroom
32 - Truffle
33 - Yeast
34 - Cedar
35 - Pine
36 - Licorice
37 - Blackcurrant bud
38 - Cut hay
39 - Thyme
40 - Vanilla
41 - Cinnamon
42 - Clove
43 - Pepper
44 - Saffron
Animal Aromas
45 - Leather
46 - Musk
47 - Butter
Grilled Aromas
48 - Toasted bread
49 - Roasted almonds
50 - Roasted hazelnut
51 - Caramel
52 - Coffee
53 - Dark chocolate
54 - Smoked

-get creative; try these in more than one variation ("bright cherry," sour cherry, dark cherry, baked cherry, etc.). IMO you'll have more fun, and you won't drop but a pittance comparatively speaking. And I believe you'll also get a more authentic experience. All my life as a chef, nothing fancy needed - just taste a lot, slow down and mindfully start to tease things out. It all comes.
 

bernardsmith

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But I think that being able to identify flavors and aromas without visual and other clues ("Taste this orange - what do you think?") is probably one of the most challenging things in the world to master: "Is that nut? or is it caramelized sugar? It's chocolate, isn't it? No wait. It's coffee. It's rye? Really? Damn it!" .
 

Gadjobrinus

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But I think that being able to identify flavors and aromas without visual and other clues ("Taste this orange - what do you think?") is probably one of the most challenging things in the world to master: "Is that nut? or is it caramelized sugar? It's chocolate, isn't it? No wait. It's coffee. It's rye? Really? Damn it!" .
Oh, completely agree, Bernard. When I worked for Goose Island, we had deep blue opaque glasses to drink from, were inside a kind of voting booth, etc. I'm just saying before spending money on a kit, a lot of people aren't even familiar with what a peach blossom actually smells like. Or what notes they can pull from a wine, because they've not a lot of practice slowing down, sinking in, and coming to realize they've got a palate that is alive and kicking, and uniquely theirs.

I think yours is a great idea. Just throwing in a couple of thoughts as well.
 
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