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How to write wine tasting notes

See Andrew Jefford's six point guide on how to write wine tasting notes with enough description to make them interesting, but without baffling those you are writing for.

Writing wine tasting notes that carry practical relevance and literary value is a tricky business, as explained in the column Jefford on Monday: Tasting notes – the shame of the wine world?

Yet, both of these things are arguably necessary facets of a good tasting note. Here are my six tips on how to write wine tasting notes that have some balance between the two.

1: No fruit salad
Analogical descriptors are useful – if used in moderation.  Limit yourself to half a dozen at most, ideally those with some sensual kinship with one another.

2: Remember the structure
A wine’s structure, shape and texture are just as interesting as its aroma and flavour; don’t forget to analyse and describe these.

3: Balance is all
Balance and harmony are highly valued by drinkers, and a hallmark of all great wines.  If a wine has these qualities, how?  If not, how not?  What’s wrong?

Wine aroma wheel by Dr Anne Noble

The wine aroma wheel developed by Dr Ann Noble

4: Be partisan
If you like it, make sure we know that, and why.  If you don’t, make sure we know that, and why.

5: Be comprehensive
If you have time, give the wine a little context.  Tell us its past and future.  Mention other wines from somewhere else it might be useful to compare it with.

6: What else?
Go on, surprise us. That’s what poetry does.

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