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Wine Spectator School

Class 1: Before You Taste -- and See and Sniff

Sensory Evaluation Class 1 Summary


What Experts Do
Observe = perceive, identify and measure stimuli
Describe = use vocabulary and knowledge
Compare = recall similar wine types
Evaluate = synthesize observations and judge wine

Expert Know-How

Perceptual Expertise
Experts do not have superior senses, but have turned up the volume on existing taste buds and scent receptors so can hear messages more clearly. They know

  • How their senses work on biological level
  • Which wine components trigger which senses
  • How their senses respond to each component
  • How to interpret those sensory responses
Cognitive Expertise
  • Consistent tasting methodology
  • Vocabulary
  • Framework that helps wine experts identify and remember wines


Wine Features

Grouped by sense used to perceive feature

Sense Feature Sample Descriptors
Vision Color Straw yellow, garnet
Smell Aromas and...

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