Log In / Join Now

Wine Spectator School

Class 3: Thinking and Talking Wine


Evaluation Parameters
Aroma, flavor, taste and mouthfeel
Ability to mature

Aroma, Flavor, Taste and Mouthfeel
Harmonious and pleasant

Structural components-sugars, alcohol, acidity and tannins-are harmonious and integrated
Different wines have different balance points

Many aromas and flavors; layered and nuanced
Wine evolves in the glass
Only top grape varieties such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon can make most complex wines

Length of time flavors and tastes linger after swallowing
Great wines have long, lingering finishes
Flavors may evolve or fade slowly
Nature of finish also important
Acidity = clean, crisp, refreshing finish
Phenolics = "smooth and silky" or "rough and coarse"

Ability to Mature
Only greatest wines can improve for decades
Most best consumed as soon as reach store shelves
Requires sufficient extract and balance

Wine should be typical of its grape variety,...

Ready to enroll?

First, you must register for a membership to WineSpectator.com. Your membership benefits include:
  • FREE enrollment in any course at Wine Spectator School
  • Over 230,000 searchable ratings and tasting notes
  • FREE mobile access so you can research wines wherever you are
  • E-newsletters with advance ratings
  • Editors’ blogs
  • Food and wine matching tool
  • And much more
Log In If You're Already a WineSpectator.com Member

If you have questions about Wine Spectator School, please contact us.

Job Opportunities

Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator's New York office is looking for an assistant tasting coordinator.

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 300,000+ ratings.