In order for me and my guests to fully understand the wines we shall be tasting, taking a few tasting notes are highly encouraged. To make it super easy (this a party and not a class) I've created a wine club tasting notes worksheet. You can download it, print it out and use it at your own wine club meetings. Or if you are sampling a new wine and want to remember it at a later date, print one out and fill it in. For detailed directions on how to fill it in and vocabulary definitions,

Start by filling in what you can consider to be the wine's identity. First write the complete name of the wine how it appears on the bottle (ex. Amador Foothill Sauvignon Blanc). If you are performing a blind tasting simply label it Wine A or Wine #1. After the blind tasting is over you can fill in the wine's name, vintage, grape variety, and price range. The vintage is the year that grapes used to make the wine were harvested (ex. 2004). The grape variety refers to the type of grapes that were used to make the wine (ex. 75% Sauvignon Blanc & 25% Semillon). The price range is how much the wine costs.

Now move on to the part that involves the tasting, what you can consider to be the wine's description. There are five major ways to characterize a wine and they are in no specific order: the aroma, color (appearance), taste, body, and finish. I like to be my own wine critic and give the wine my personal score. I do this by rating each of the five categories, with 1 point being the lowest/worst score possible and 20 points being the highest/best. When done with the tasting add up the scores to see where your wine rates. This is important if you are blindly sampling several wines of the same varietal to determine in the end which is your favorite. Remember this is all about you, if you like the way it smells give it a high score and if it tastes bad to you give it a low score.

The aroma is the simple, smell of the grape variety. Basically it is the fragrance of the wine that can include fragrant changes due to the fermentation or aging process used to make the wine (ex. intense, lime, grapefruit, spicy). If the aroma is complex, intense, and with many layers it will have a high score. If there is little to no aroma or an off-stinky smell then give it a low score.

The body alludes to the texture or weight of the wine in the mouth (ex. rich, well-rounded). A high scoring body will feel perfectly smooth in the mouth while a low scoring body will feel like it is either too heavy or too light.

The taste is basically the flavors of the wine and how it tastes (ex. citrus, melon, tropical fruit). A higher score generally consists of a balanced, structure, taste with several flavors detected and a lower scored taste lacks balance, structure, and has no distinct flavors.

The finish is the final impression that remains in your mouth after you have swallowed the wine (ex. lingering). A distinct, smooth, rich lingering finish is ideal. A wine with tastes and flavors that end abruptly with no after taste is considered lacking.

If you happen to note a great relationship between what you are eating and what you are sipping, there is a space to write what foods pair well with the wine. At the bottom of the tasting notes chart there is a list of helpful vocabulary that may aide you in filling in the pages.

Once you have figured out your personal score and opinion of the wine, share it with us on TeamSugar in the Wine Cellar group.