Un-study Techniques: Conquer the Glass


This is the seventh post in our series about “un-study techniques” for use in wine and spirits studies.  Un-study techniques are all about what to do when you need to study…but you just can’t stand the thought of studying. Click here to view our other posts on un-study techniques.

For this un-study technique, we get to gaze deep into a glass of wine or a splash of spirits. However, we are not just going to sip and savor, this is more akin to thinking while drinking.

When dining (whether out-on-the-town or at home) as a serious student of wine, you choose your beverage wisely.  Of course, the delight of your guests and dining companions is the most important thing to remember, but when the occasion will allow, you can use each bottle (or glass) as a learning opportunity.

Use these ideas to develop your tasting skills with each new bottle or glass:

  • Consider the quality of the wine; is this typical of the grape variety, the region, the appellation, and/or the producer?
  • What is the fruit condition; are the grapes under-ripe, perfectly ripe, over-ripe or perhaps affected via botrytis, passerillage, appassimento or other factors? Does this make sense concerning what I know about the wine and/or the region?
  • What are the dominant aromas of the wine? Would you classify these aromas as primary, secondary, or tertiary? Based on what you know about the wine, does this make sense—or was it a surprise?
  • How would you describe the taste components of the wine—sugar acidity, bitterness, umami? Does this make sense, considering what you know about the wine?
  • How would you describe the body of the wine? What components comprise the structure of the wine—alcohol, tannin, sugar, acid? Does this make sense to you?
  • What do you think would be a good food pairing for this wine? Why do you think this pairing would work? If you are having food, how does the wine evolve in relation to the food? Why does this occur?


Use these ideas to explore theory surrounding the wine:

  • What wine have you had recently that reminds you of this wine? In what ways are the wines similar?
  • What wine have you had recently had that is the opposite of this wine? In what ways are the wines dissimilar?
  • What wine would be considered the Old World/New World equivalent to this wine?
  • Why is this wine the way it is? Why is it so acidic/sweet/tannic or smooth?
  • If you were visiting this winery, where would you stop next? What other wine regions (or associated points of interest) are located nearby?

Click here to view our other posts on how to study wine and spirits.

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

About bubblyprof
Wine Writer and Educator...a 20-year journey from Bristol Hotels to Le Cordon Bleu Schools and the Society of Wine Educators

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