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Wine Spectator School

Class 3: International Varieties

sip: taste, body, flavor

  • Taste is comprised of sweet, sour and bitter (and their related mouthfeels) – we generally perceive them in this same order when we taste wine.

  • Since both of these wines are "dry" -- that is, fermented until all sugar has been converted to alcohol -- you will be tasting them for acidity and tannin.

  • Pinot Noir's acidity can range from medium to high; its tannins are usually light, and sometimes "silky."

  • Merlot's acidity ranges from low to medium, and its tannins are smooth, sometimes "velvety."



Pinot Noir

  1. Sip, swish and spit the Pinot Noir.
  2. Check your mouth for the sensations of acidity. Do you detect any:
    • Mouthwatering or clean, refreshing sensations (medium acidity)?
    • Puckering or sharp sensations (high...

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