Taking wine notes may help you discuss wine with others, but also taking notes about wines you’ve tried can be especially helpful for you to select new wines as well as pair them with food or prioritize your current collection. Whether you’ve been drinking wine extensively or plan to branch out from just a few selected favorites, many people don’t quite know where to begin when formulating an opinion on wine.
When you need to decide between a Gamaret or Kerner, or if you’re determining the differences between Swiss wine and wines from other regions, taking notes can show you a pattern for your tastes and offer clues as to what to explore next. Taking notes is less like a high school history class and more like journaling your journey, and this post shows you how to begin, how simple note-taking can be, and how to use your notes to select the best Merlot wine or sumptuous Gamaret for your next autumn gathering.
Making Memorable Notes About Wine
Wine notes need to satisfy you. They’re a way to help you remember wines that you loved and why you loved them. They can also help you stay away from types you didn’t enjoy. Nevertheless, writing notes about wine has nothing to do with preparing for an exam, even if your best friend seems to have a PhD in Swiss wine.
Taking notes about wine should not be an intimidating process because you’re writing about your personal experience, not what someone else has to say. What you include in your notes falls into two categories. You should first record some basic information about the wine, which is readily available, and then your notes should explore your personal sensory experience with it.
When you first begin taking notes on wine, consider including these aspects:
- Production details: First and foremost, you don’t want to forget the name of the wine. Simply jot down the full name, the producer, and the grape variety or varieties. This step may sound intimidating, but all this information can be found on the wine label. Advanced note-takers may want to include the alcohol content, which is also found on the label.
- Aroma: Not only describe that wine smelled fruity or herbal, be specific—include the type of berry or herb you detect.
- Tannins and acidity: If you are new to writing about wine, these two words may scare you off, but even if it’s the first time you’re tasting wine, think of tannins as the level of dryness and acidity in terms of refreshment. You can make this entry as simple or as detailed as you like by considering them by levels assigned with numbers or plus or minus signs or detail it by describing your experience with each aspect.
- Appearance: Advanced note-takers may write details about appearance when appearance is unexpected or unusual. If this is your first time writing notes about wine, you can skip writing about its appearance aside from noting if it’s red or white.
When taking notes, especially as a beginner, keep these tips in mind:
- Start simple. Wines may be complex, but your notes don’t have to be. If you are new to taking notes on wine, start with the basics and don’t get tripped up trying to sound like a pro. You don’t have to use formal wine vocabulary—write down what you experience and what that experience means to you.
- Write in a way that makes sense to you. The wine world uses a lot of vocabulary that may be unfamiliar, and if you’re scribbling notes furiously like you’re trying to keep up in calculus, you’re likely writing someone else’s version of the wine. Internalize what you’re sensing and then write notes in a way that helps you to recall the sensory moments. Just like a certain sound or smell takes you back to a specific moment in time, taking wine notes should replicate that. They should give you enough information to recall exactly why that Gamaret was so enjoyable.
- Go digital. Nothing is handier when you’re shopping for wine than a picture of the label and digital notes about the wine you had at an event the evening before. Not only do you not have to worry about lugging around a notebook and pen everywhere you go, but you can easily add to your notes and recall them in an instant when you keep them digitally on your phone.
Why Write Notes About Wine Tasting
Note-taking for wine can be as simple or as intricate as you like, but if you want to be sure you remember a particular wine as well as remember why you enjoyed it so much, taking notes is an essential practice. You may only taste a few different wines weeks apart or several together at a tasting. Either way, taking notes helps you connect with the ones you enjoyed and remember the details of why you enjoyed them in the first place.
Wine tasting involves more than just the basic details, such as it was red or white, a Kerner or merlot, or a Swiss wine or wine from another region. Instead, wine tasting relies heavily on the senses. From aromas and flavors to colors and tannins, palates can often tire, which means your brain is suffering from sensory overload. Your senses work in harmony. If you lose—even slightly—your sense of smell, it affects how things taste. So when you’ve tried a wine and find that you can’t make out any differences, having notes helps you focus on details you want to discover about each wine.
The best wines you’ve ever tasted as well as the worst stand out in your memory. You will likely always remember the reason why you liked or didn’t like those wines. However, most other wine falls between those two spectrums, which makes recalling their details less distinctive. Wine is a comparative study. If you’re comparing certain aspects of the best wine you’ve tasted, slight details that make a difference are important to document since so many wines share so many similarities.
When you have notes on a wine you can branch out from favorites by finding wines with similar aspects you enjoy. Whether you want to explore the best merlot wine or Kerner or you simply want to try a variety of stimulating Swiss wines, Domaine Dardagny offers a curated selection of premium Swiss wine from a centuries-old family-owned vineyard in Switzerland.