Guide to Wine Tasting Notes

7/4/2018 2:32 PM

The Wine Folly released a guide on how to write the perfect wine tasting note and we couldn’t agree more with it.


  • PRIMARY AROMAS: Aromas from the type of grape and the terroir. Primary aromas are usually focused around fruit, herbal, and floral aromas.
  • SECONDARY AROMAS: These are from the winemaking process. Secondary aromas include (but are not limited to) notes such as fresh baked bread and lager (from yeast) as well as sour cream and yogurt (from malolactic fermentation).
  • TERTIARY AROMAS: These are aromas from aging in oak or in the bottle. Tertiary aromas include clove, vanilla, baking spices, roasted nuts, dill, coconut, and smoke, as well as a general shift in the fruit character from fresh to dried. Learn about oak aging.

Tannin, Acidity and body

  • BODY: When you focus on the taste, you’ll be thinking about how the wine feels your mouth. The body is perhaps the most obvious note and it’s very important to mention because it helps build the profile in your mind of the wine you’re tasting. Skim? 2%? or whole milk? Body in wine will roughly correspond with those textures. What’s the overall texture? Write it down.
  • TANNIN: Tannin can seem tricky, but it’s easier if you focus on texture. Does the tannin have a lot of grip to it? (does it make your lips stick to your teeth?). Does the tannin fill your mouth with delicate tiny prickles? You can find some examples of wine descriptions used for tannin on our Wine Descriptions Infographic. Tannin will always have intensity, but they can also manifest as bruising and course, or fine and velvety.
  • ACIDITY: Acidity is how tart or puckering a wine is. For instance, a wine with high acidity (low on the pH scale) will have acidity similar to a lemon or lime, whereas lower acidity wines are closer to the light acidity of a watermelon.


  • The Soft Finish – This is the classic ‘ahhh’ moment for most wine drinkers. While the wine may be completely dry, the finish has a note of softness and elegance to it; on reds, the tannins are gentle rather than forceful, but still present. On a white wine, it’ll often be about a broad, creamy texture.
  • Tart and Tingly Finish – This wine will taste more tart or bitter on the finish. It may have some green notes to it, but on a good quality wine the acidity will tingle and persist; giving the wine a delicate, mouthwatering long finish. The refreshing nature of the tartness or bitterness drives you to another sip. This style is not as popular with about 50% of drinkers, but it has a small-but-serious following of supporters who love tart and savory flavors.
  • ‘Juicy’ and ‘Fresh’ Finish – The wine words ‘juicy’ and ‘fresh’ often indicate a wine that has a lot just-ripe fruit flavors on the finish, and this is most commonly found on young wines from moderate climates. These juicy notes are commonly associated with ‘freshly’ made wine, which might be how the term came about.

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