Wine Tasting Scorecard

Karen Frazier
Wine tasting

Using a wine tasting scorecard can help you create notes about the wines that you drink. Whether you use it for a formal wine tasting or as a method of tracking the bottles of wine you consume in your home, a scorecard helps to preserve the experience, reminding you of those really special bottles of wine that you particularly enjoyed.

Wine Tasting Basics

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to wine tasting. Rather, the process is highly subjective. While wine experts often arrive at similar conclusions about the wines they sample, the differences in ratings and tasting notes between top experts such as Robert Parker or reviewers for Wine Spectator illustrate just how much of wine evaluation is determined by personal preferences and differences in palate.

The wine tasting process is relatively simple. Pour a small amount of wine in a glass and do the following:

  1. Observe the color of the wine and note whether it clings to the side of the glass or not (known as the wine's legs.)
  2. Take a sniff of the wine and note any scents you smell, such as floral notes, cherries, or herbs.
  3. Swirl the wine vigorously around the bowl of the glass to incorporate air into it. Now give it another sniff and notice any new scents.
  4. Take a sip of the wine. As you allow it to coat your tongue and move around your mouth. Breathe in a little air between your teeth to further aerate the wine and allow its flavors to open up. Note any flavors you find in the wine, such as berries, smoke, or mushrooms.
  5. Swallow the wine, or use a spittoon. Pay attention to how the wine changes, and notice flavors that may linger on your palate after you swallow it.
  6. Cleanse your palate with water before moving on to the next wine.

Wine Tasting Scorecard

You don't need to be an expert to use a wine tasting scorecard as you sample and evaluate wines. Since you will be using the information for your own purposes and enjoyment, there is no need to be intimidated by the process. Instead, use the scorecard to spell out your own personal impressions of the wine. Whatever flavors and scents you note won't be wrong. You will typically find the following categories on a scorecard.

Basic Information

This includes winemaker, vintage, varietal or type of wine, where and when you purchased the wine, and its price.

Appearance

Note the wine's color and viscosity. Is it deeply colored or light? How clear is the wine?

Aroma

What do you smell when you sniff the wine? Is it appealing? Can you smell distinct scents in the wine? What are they? How does the wine change after you aerate it?

Taste

How sweet or dry is the wine? What flavors do you notice on your palate? How much acid is in the wine? Is it extremely tannic, or have the tannins softened? How does the wine coat your tongue? Does it seem heavy and full-bodied or light? Does the flavor linger on your palate after you swallow or spit the wine? How long does it linger? Does the wine balance characteristics like acidity, sweetness, and tannins?

Overall Assessment

What is your overall assessment of the wine? Did it seem to be of high quality? Were there off flavors?

Keeping a Record

You don't need a formal scorecard to assess wine. You can create your own notes in a wine tasting journal, or you can print a pre-made assessment tool and keep it in a notebook. If you wish, you can even calculate a score for the wine.

Regardless of how you choose to evaluate the wines, maintaining a record of the wines you drink and your impressions of them can both improve your enjoyment of wine and provide a method to guide your future wine purchases. If you particularly enjoyed wine by one winemaker, then perhaps you will like other vintages or varietals from that winery, as well.

The bottom line is this: the best way to enjoy wine is to find wines you enjoy. Using a scorecard for wine tasting provides a tool to do just that, whether you use it at home or at a winery or wine shop tasting.

Wine Tasting Scorecard