Savor:  How long does the taste and feel of a wine stick around in your mouth

  • Length – take a sip, swish it around, hold it for a few seconds, then swallow.  How long the flavors, feel and impact of the wine linger can be the cliff notes to the wine’s flavor and aroma story.  Light, low alcohol wines may disappear quickly, but paired with high acidity, may trigger a mouthwatering experience which keeps you smiling even longer.  Higher alcohol content can bring warm sensations that last for minutes and bring color to your cheeks.
  • Complexity – sip once, sip twice, sip three times.  Complex wines will open-up and expose primary, secondary and tertiary flavors with each sip like peeling back the layers of an onion.  Simple wines will maintain consistency sip after sip.  Add food to the mix and a whole new chapter may appear! 

Congratulations!  You now have all the information you need to taste wine and have the knowledge you need to read between the lines of the story it is trying to tell you.  DOMSOM’s goal is not to give you magical powers to identify exactly the varietal, or blend, the vineyard, the vintage or the vintner, but to provide you the ability to use the 6 Ss to understand what you are tasting and why you are experiencing certain elements in the wine.  The 6 Ss will tell a story, and we highly encourage you to to read (or sip!) it over and over again!

Principles of Wine Tasting:  Red Wine

Sight: Describing the Appearance of a Wine
ClarityClear Hazy Cloudy
IntensityPale Medium Deep
ColorPurple Ruby Garnet Rust
Swirl: Describing the Impact of Wine on the Glass
Aroma OpeningLittle Moderate Significant
TearingLight Medium Heavy
StainingNone Light Medium Heavy
Smell: Describing the Smell of a Wine
IntensityLight Medium Intense
Aroma CharacteristicPrimary Secondary Tertiary
Sip: Describing the Flavor of a Wine
FloralRose Blossom
Red FruitCherry Raspberry Red Currant Strawberry Red Plum
Blue FruitBlueberry
Black FruitBlack Cherry Blackberry Black Currant Black Plum
Fruit CharacterJust Ripe Ripe Overripe Baked Stewed
OtherHerbs Eucalyptus Bell Pepper (pyrazine)
Swish: Describing the Mouthfeel of a Wine
AcidityLow Medium High
AlcoholLow Medium High
BodyLight Medium Full
TanninLight Medium Full
Savor: Describing the Finish of a Wine
LengthShort Medium Long
ComplexitySimple Medium Complex
Secondary (Smell / Sip)
YeastMushrooms Meat Pepper
Malolactic FermentationNuts Chocolate
OakVanilla Cloves Coconut Tobacco Smoke Meat Earth Mushroom
Tertiary (Smell / Sip)
Bottle AgeDried Fruits Earth / Mushroom Baking Spices Compost
Oak AgeVanilla Cloves Coconut Tobacco Smoke Chocolate Earth