Now note your impressions. Is the wine well balanced? Does the flavour linger in your mouth? A long-lasting flavour generally means a better wine.
As well as making notes about the wines they taste, many people like to give each wine a score. A simple numerical score can’t really convey the pleasure a wine gives, but it can be a good discipline for forcing yourself to come to an overall assessment.
If you’re going to score, you should mark the appearance, the bouquet and the taste. I suggest you allocate 10 per cent of the marks to appearance (this is the least important and – to be honest -if you wanted to allocate this ten per cent to bouquet, I wouldn’t object). Set aside 30 per cent for bouquet. Much of the beauty and fascination of old wines in particular is conveyed in the bouquet. And finally, give 60 per cent to taste. This is what it’s all about: the total sensation when you taste and, indeed, drink the wine. And this should be awarded the greatest percentage of the marks.
Add all these up and see if the marks tally with the overall impression of quality, and pleasure, that the wine gave you.