One of the most rewarding aspect of studying your way through the WSET different levels is learning the Systematic Approach to Tasting: Although the process might seem rigid and robotic at first, once you have made it your own, it becomes natural and you surprise yourself becoming a bit of a Sherlock Holmes of Wine!
Mobilizing your senses of sight, smell and taste, you pay attention to the clues: Appearance: Intensity & color; Nose: Intensity & aroma characteristics and Palate: Sweetness, acidity, tannin, alcohol, body, flavor intensity and characteristic, finish.... for every cue, you ask yourself "why?" and as your whys add up, you form an inductive reasoning that leads up to possible hypothesis of what the wine could be and eventually narrow your choices and conclude with a final theory of what the wine actually is. Of course, the accuracy of your reasoning depends on how well you pay attention to the cues and on your knowledge of viticulture, winemaking and grape varieties from around the world. But as you learn the theory and link it to your tasting experiences, you become increasingly consistent in getting it right, and this is so much fun! Confronting your reasoning with other tasting companions triggers interesting discussions and increases pleasure.
You can download the infographic of the Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine here below:
At first, most of us struggle with recognizing aromas while sniffing wines. This is normal, because our brain is trained to synthetize, simplify, summarize information taken by our sense of smell, and there is no direct link between an aroma perceived by our sense and the speech zone of our brain. Deconstructing and analyzing information and putting a word on it is counter-intuitive and requires a bit of training. There is an amazing tool that will help you accelerate your memorization of scents and we import it directly from Jean Lenoir: This is "Le Nez du Vin", which you can purchase here directly.