Taste profile detail

The taste profiles assess wines in two broad categories. The first category relates to the flavour and tastes in the wine; what they are and their degree of intensity? Is a wine intense in fruit flavours and if so which ones, or is it more of a floral wine, or a leathery or earthy one?

The second category relates to the structure of the wine rather than its specific flavours. The factors assessed here are tannins, acidity, sweetness and body. What this seeks to explain is how the wine feels in the mouth. Is it sweet or dry? Full bodied, rich and alcoholic or lighter, delicate and more fruit driven? Acidic, lean and sharp or fat, rounded and full?

Our wine masters describe the wines using these profiles so that there is a visual key for each wine. The idea is that if you like one wine with a particular taste profile, then it is quite likely that you will also enjoy a wine with a similar profile that you have never tasted before.

The flavours and structural categories are described in more detail below. 

Flavours and Tastes (on a scale from 0 = not present to 5 = really intense)

Red Fruits (reds, rose) = Strawberries, Raspberry, Red Plums, Red Cherries, Red Currants, Cranberries etc.

Black Fruits (reds) = Black Currants, Blueberry, Blackberry, Elderberry, Black Plums, Black Cherries etc.

Citrus (whites, rose) = Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Mandarins, Tangerines, Grapefruits, Marmalade etc.

Tree & Tropical Fruits (whites, rose)= Apple, Peach, Pear, Nectarine, Apricot, Quince, Melon, Gooseberry, Mango, Guava, Passion Fruit, Pineapple, Lychee etc.

Floral = Honeysuckle, Orange blossom, Rose, Violet, Jasmine, Lavender, Lilac, Hibiscus etc.

Herbaceous = Thyme, Mint, Grassy, Black Tea, Green Tea, Eucalyptus, Rosemary etc.

Spicy = Black Pepper, White Pepper, Anise, Cinnamon, Fennel, Nutmeg, Ginger, Vanilla etc.

Leathery = Leather, Tobacco, Wood Smoke, Cigars

Earthy (reds wines only) = Oak, Cedar, Truffle, Mushroom, Loamy, Farm yards!

Mineral (whites & roses only) = Slate, Clay, Chalk, Tar, Petrol, Graphite etc.

 

Structure and Characteristics (on a scale from 1 = low to 5 = high)

Sweet = How sweet it a wine tastes. Sweetness is primarily down to the residual sugars in the grape juice that have not been fermented into alcohol and remain in the wine. The opposite of sweet is dry where there is little to no residual sugar. Wines can also be medium or off dry with a hint of sweetness but not enough to move the needle.

Acidity (for white and rose wines) = More of characteristic of white and rose wines, although reds of course also contain acid. With white wines acidity is what gives the wine its backbone, which is why they are often described as crisp or tart. Too much acidity, unbalanced by some sweetness, can make a white wine mouth-puckeringly dry, whilst not enough acidity can make a wine taste flabby or flat.

Tannins (for red wines) = Whilst acidity provides the backbone for white wines, with reds it is the tannins. White wines have some tannins but not enough to make them the star of the show. The taste of tannin is often described as bitter, and gives a wine astringency – that dry, puckering feeling in the mouth. There are lots of tannins in the skins of red grapes and in general the more tannins there are the darker the wine and the firmer or bolder the taste. High tannin wines are astringent, maybe even bitter and inky. Lower tannin wines are smooth and soft, and depending on your tastes, more drinkable.

Body = A description of the perceived weight or body of the wine in the mouth. This comes from a combination of things including alcohol, glycerol, acid and the extent of extraction from the grapes in the wine making process. Full bodied wines (both red and white) generally have a rich, complex, viscous and well rounded flavour that lingers in the mouth, whilst lighter bodied wines are more delicate, defined more by their fruit flavours and acidity rather than the weight of alcohol.