Our approach to rating a wine forced us to create an entirely new vocabulary so that we could talk about wines. You can and should find your own approach. But this is how we learned to rate a wine:

Color – First, we judge the color. How light or dark is the wine? Is there any golden hue to it to indicate age.

Aroma – Then we judge the aroma. We try to find the right words to describe what we smell. We bought an aroma kit to help us with our words.

Start – When we bring the wine into our mouth we try to describe the initial impact that it has on the tongue.

Middle – As we swallow the wine we try to express the middle and usually fullest portion of the taste.

Finish – Finally we pay attention to the wine after it is out of the mouth (we swallow – we aren’t professional tasters). We try to notice how long the flavor lingers and the kinds of changes it goes through. Often the changes take a long time to develop.

We assign a grade to each of these characteristics (like school – A+ to F). We require that the wine have some type of negative character to get a D or lower grade. A so-so wine just gets a C. Then we give the wine an overall grade.

That’s what you’ll see on the site except for a couple of situations. First, we’re in a wine club and when we do a tasting, we rate wines from most liked to least liked by the group as a whole. That’s what we’ll display here. Second, when we go to some type of mass tasting, we just try to find the best of show. So we’ll have lots of short notes about a lot of wines but we’ll each try to pick our favorites.

We started this process just to learn about wine. But it is so much fun, we thought we’d share and encourage others to find their own way to learn about wines.