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Wine tasting in southern Italy
Disposal of an organoleptic sample

A tasting , a degustation ( French: dégustation ) or a tasting (from English taste , try, taste, taste) is a round of experts, connoisseurs or laypeople to assess taste or to compare luxury foods . In addition to France, the French expression is still mainly used in Switzerland. Mainly liquids are tasted, including tea , coffee , edible oils , alcoholic beverages such as beer , wine , spirits , liqueurs , etc., but also fruit juices and cocktails . Tastings, where the testers are not known products being compared or they get neutral samples are blind tasting (Engl. Blind tasting ) called.


In particular, “degustation” is often used for wine tastings . However, there are also beer samples and taste tests for other products such as coffee brews . The term refers to both professional tastings, which serve to assess products, as well as sales tastings for lay people. Tastings of (pure) spirits and cocktails are often referred to as "tasting" in German, for example whiskey tasting.

Professional tasting process

Professional tastings usually take place in laboratories under controlled conditions. The process of tasting liquids in the mouth is also known as rolling . The liquid is picked up with a spoon, rinsed (rolled) around in the mouth and oxygenated, often by moving the cheek, to make it easier to taste. During the professional tasting, the liquids are not swallowed, but rather poured into a waste can.

Some products require an intermediate rinse with mineral water to neutralize the taste buds . Experienced tasters can assess the change in the perception of individual taste components and provide consistent assessments at the beginning and at the end of the tasting. Inexperienced tasters often come across different results for the same product at the beginning and end of a sample.

Several tasters are often called in. Only after the assessment are the products viewed with clear names and the reports compared. Professional tasters should generally be non-smokers because of the fact that tobacco consumption significantly affects the olfactory organs.

Tastings for non-experts and for sales purposes

Tasting for sales or entertainment purposes is different from professional tasting. Here it is important that the potential customer likes the product, which is described and shown in detail, or that he can make a personal selection from a range of products. The combination of products of different types is common. For example, cheese and wine can be combined well, but whiskey and chocolate or whiskey and cigar also go well together.

Blind tastings

Tastings can take place blind (so-called blind tasting or blind tasting ), i. H. the tasting party is offered all products in the same neutral packaging or in glasses of the same type and does not see the sales packaging or it is covered. Blind tastings offer the opportunity to compare different products of one genre as objectively as possible and to gain an unadulterated taste impression without being influenced in advance by knowledge of the products and brands , their image or the sales price.

The background to this is that products are regularly assessed differently in blind tastings than when they are known to the testers in advance. An example of this is the fact that Pepsi- branded cola was often rated better than Coca-Cola in blind tastings, while the reverse was true in non-blind tastings. The phenomenon has been widely researched in science and is known as the Pepsi Paradox .

Occasionally, so-called “submarines” are mixed with the products of a blind tasting. These are products that the participants do not actually expect among the samples at the tasting and that often do not even belong to the type of beverage to be tasted. A “submarine” can, for example, be a wine of a different grape variety, even a red wine in a range of white wines (when using colored glasses or with blindfolded eyes), a sparkling wine with a champagne tasting, spirits of a different but related genus ( blended Whiskey instead of single-malt whiskey , cachaça instead of rhum agricole , juniper instead of gin ) or a discounter product among high-priced branded products. Among other things, submarines are used to verify and question the taste impressions.

Tasting process

When tasting several wines, a written record of the sensory impressions is made. The common tasting forms are only of limited use for this, as the optical wine test is usually put first and, moreover, usually provides a non-comprehensible point system for the wine assessment for the layperson. Nowadays, wine is not rated according to its individual characteristics, but only as a unit.

The scent is usually recorded first. This informative part already reveals a lot about a wine. Mistakes made in the vineyard, in the cellar or during storage can be seen, for example, in the form of burnt-smelling substances, a vinegar sting or a mercaptan stench . Furthermore, the nose gives an indication of whether the wine was grown oxidatively or reductively , whether it was stored in wooden barrels or stainless steel tanks, whether an aroma is limited to the grape variety or whether the vine's location and soil conditions.

After judging the scent, take the first sip and taste the aromas. The taste of a wine is revealed in different ways; you can taste it on the tongue, but you can still perceive the aromas in the smoking room. The taste buds of the tongue can only differentiate between basic tastes . In addition to sweet, bitter, sour and salty, umami , a hearty taste tone that corresponds to protein-containing products such as fish or cheese, was also proven. The taste zones cannot be separated uniformly and are also influenced by the smell and passed on to the smoking room. Sipping and smacking does not mean bad behavior during wine tasting, but rather serves to transport the aroma molecules dissolved from the liquid, which were absorbed together with the inhaled air, to the rich center, which consequently contributes to the taste impression.

The next step is to check the color of the wine. Taking into account the grape variety, the intensity and tint of the color can be used to determine the quality of the vintage and the age of the wine.

It can only be a good wine if the individual elements of fragrance, taste and color go together.

Tasting glasses

Depending on the drink, all product samples are offered in glasses of the same type that match the product. Tasting glasses are usually a bit smaller than usual glasses for the drink. For wine there are standardized wine tasting glasses that resemble a small white wine goblet, and for the tasting of spirits there are tulip-shaped nosing glasses . If only smell and taste are to be assessed, regardless of optical sensory impressions, black-colored glasses are used instead of clear glasses, especially for tasting purposes.


Web links

Wiktionary: Tasting  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Explanation and spelling of tasting in the German Duden ; accessed on June 23, 2015.
  2. Tea tastings in Hamburg's Speicherstadt , accessed on 23. June 2015.
  3. Benny Briesemeister: The Pepsi Paradox from a Neuromarketing Perspective. In: discover-neuro.de. May 10, 2015, accessed July 25, 2019 .
  4. ^ André Dominé: Wine . Ed .: hfullmann. ISBN 978-3-8331-4611-4 , pp. 35 f .