Have you been confused at what to do during a wine tasting (or simply don’t know)?
Have you ever forgotten to note the aroma or the clarity of the color of your wine?
Are you looking for a process to make ALL your wine tastings consistent?
The Quini App is the solution!!
Quini has created an App that helps you follow a simple process for every tasting, allowing you to make informed decisions and guide you through a consistent scoring system that you can review later and share with friends & family. With this tool, you’ll quickly gain confidence in tasting & rating wines in a consistent manner. Check out their video here:
Quini is available for the iPhone, iPad and the web (laptop/tablet), with the latter two being very detailed by going into tannins, CO2, etc. The iPad version is very interactive, allowing you to slide aromas into your glass and move them around (since I only have an iPhone, it would be cool to hear from you iPad users on how well this version looks).
I will guide you through the simple process of using the Quini app. Once you’re done, you’ll confidently approach each wine (whether tasting at a winery, drinking at a restaurant or imbibing in the comfort of your own home) with a goal to glean the most out of your first few tastes.
Let’s go from being a “wino” to becoming an educated “winer”!
It’s best to grab a glass of wine and learn as you go; so, off you go and get yourself a glass of wine, any wine… I’ll wait…
While I’m waiting… we had guests over for an Indian & Thai dinner, and they brought with them a bottle of Educated Guess – tasting wine with friends and family is the best way to become “educated”.
For this blog, I am tasting Educated Guess, the 2012 Carneros-Pinot Noir from Roots Run Deep Winery.
12 Steps to Tasting Wine With Confidence
1. Open the Quini App
Locate the Quini App on your iPhone (or iPad) and open it – all my images are from the iPhone. (If you are using an iPad or laptop, your images and navigation may vary slightly). If you need to download the app from the App Store, click here:
After you download the application to your iPhone or iPad, if this is the first time using Quini, you will need to create a profile. The data you enter is stored in the cloud so you will need access to Wi-Fi (or your data-plan) whenever you are using this tool.
If you are waiting for the Android version, go to Quini’s website, QuiniWine.com, create your profile and use Quini on the Web. Just follow along when you click TASTE – it’s a fun experience and you can leave a comment below on how easy it was to use!!
2. Tap on the TASTE button
This is the home page for the Quini app. There are several options which I’ll let you explore on your own, but for now, we’re going to tap on the TASTE – A New Wine then tap Search Wines buttons.
3. Type in the Winery or Wine name
You are presented with a search box. Type in the winery name and wait a few seconds. The Quini database will search for a (close) match. Typing in too general terms (like “Pinot Noir”) will return too many results, so try and search with the winery name or the wine name if it is unique like “Apothic Red”, or “Her Way” etc.
4. Select Your Wine – OR – Tap the “Add It!” Button
If multiple wines are listed, scroll up & down to find the specific wine that you are tasting. When you find it, tap to select it. You are presented with the option to change the vintage (see next step).
If you cannot find your wine (or no wines are listed), tap on the Can’t find your wine? Add it! button. You are presented with a screen that prompts you to fill in the required information for the wine you are tasting. Follow the prompts and add the wine (you’ll be the first and others will appreciate you!!!) Adding wines is simple and you’ll become very efficient after adding two or three.
5. Tap Add Vintage? and Enter the Wine’s Harvest Year
If you are new to tasting, the vintage of the wine is very, very important. This is when the grapes were harvested and results from year to year can differ greatly.
Find the year on the bottle and add that in the vintage field.
If you cannot find the year, then the wine could be non-vintage (NV), which means that varietals (grapes) from different years were used in making the wine. You can skip the vintage and just tap the Start Tasting button.
6. Tasting Your Wine, the Same Way Every Time
Before we start the tasting, let’s get familiar with some basic navigation.
How to “Drag” Your Decisions
In the following 5 sections, you’ll be asked to score and describe the wine. To score the wine, you will be “dragging” the petal up or down, while the number on the left changes. When describing the wine for its appearance, aroma etc., you drag the petal left or right to the desired descriptor.
Compiling Notes During Your Wine Tasting
You can access the notes area at any time to start capturing your wine tasting experience. These notes are in addition to the ratings and descriptions within the app itself.
Open the menu bar at the top by tapping on the 2 vertical bars (you tap again to close). When you tap on the pencil the Notes box will display and you can start typing. There is only one notes section for each wine tasting, but it is accessible anywhere and at any time.
Quini Rating System
Quini scores 5 sections (Eye, Nose, Mouth, Finish, Opinion) of the wine tasting process, adds up the scores and the total becomes your rating for that wine. Whether you are new or experienced to wine tasting, creating a consistent rating may take practice. Don’t fret about the score for now; just provide the best guess you think at this moment and it will average out in the long run!
The score for each section helps build the individual petal of the bloom (you see the full bloom at the end of the tasting). The higher the score, the longer the petal becomes.
Quini Section Character Descriptors
In addition to the numeric score, you’ll also see that the Quini bloom is a great visual representation of your experience with the wine. You’ll quickly start to notice what others thought of a wine, just by looking at their bloom.
The petal width is based on the experience that you select in each of the 5 sections. There is no right or wrong, so just record your experience as you see it. If the wine looks clear in the glass, simply select Clear. If the color looks dull to you, then Dull it is, etc. Quini is all about helping you set your own benchmarks and uncover your personal tastes and preferences.
Combined with the numeric rating, the tasting process unravels a unique “bloom” for each wine you taste.
The DETAILS Tab
Quini has placed a tab called DETAILS on both the NOSE and MOUTH sections.
You can tap to expand and display a list of potential aromas.
Some aromas can open up to 3 layers down, allowing you to choose a specific source. If you can only identify a general aroma, you can tap the circle to choose that category. If you think you know the specific source, tap on the name and it expands to provide more options. Here is a full list of the available aromas:
Quini has provided many options to help narrow down your aroma source, but it may not be inclusive. Remember, the above is a small subset of all the aromas you can detect, so use it liberally and if an aroma stands out, but is not in the above list, then open the Notes section and write it down!!
You will be updating the NOSE DETAILS list first; when you get to the MOUTH section and tap on the DETAILS tab, you will notice that all the Aroma options you checked in NOSE are also checked in MOUTH. Here you can add and change these Aroma options to distinguish between the two sections. Any changes you make in the MOUTH section does not flow back to the NOSE section, making them both distinct.
Ready with wine in hand? The next 5 steps are the FUN part of Quini and will help turn you from a “wino” into a “winer” that appreciates the subtle (and not so subtle) aromas and flavors that wine delivers. Being a winer is a life-long journey of learning… so let’s start now!
7. Completing the Eye (See) Section
Okay – your wine has been poured into your glass. Using a white background, hold your glass at an angle and take note of its appearance.
After looking at the wine for a few seconds, you can now score the look of the wine between 0 and 15. Providing a low score means that it did not look great and is nothing to write home about; a score of 15 means this wine looks spectacular! What is “not great” and what is “spectacular”? Well, that all depends on the specific varietal. Some varietals typically have a very “rich” (bright or deep) appearance, while others may have a more “thin” (almost transparent) look to them. Either way, your best guess will improve over time as you taste more & more wine.
In addition to rating the eye of the wine, you can also describe its appearance. The following character descriptors are available under APPEARANCE to help describe the wine:
Note that you can also stop in-between the different descriptors (i.e. “Dull-Bright”, “Bright-Intense” etc.) if necessary.
8. Completing the Nose (Swirl & Smell) Section
Since humans have around 5-6 million olfactory receptors, we can detect a lot of aromas! Most people are not attuned to all the aromas they can identify, but they “know” they’ve smelled it before. As your wine journey progresses, you’ll be able to match more aromas with the source and most likely find that your enjoyment of wine will increase tremendously.
Swirl the wine in the glass to “open” it up and release the aromas; stick your nose right into the glass (tilt the glass 45° or more) and breathe in deeply. Try and identify 2-3 aromas. At first this can be tough, so think in general terms (“fruits”, “spicy”, “floral” etc.) until you can pinpoint the specific source (“plums”, “black-pepper”, “violet” etc.). This is where Quini excels and provides you a DETAIL tab to record the specific sources.
Assign your score for the aroma. I like to give higher scores for wines that have multiple aromas (even though I may not be able to identify them all). The following character descriptors are available under AROMA to help describe the wine:
9. Completing the Mouth (Sip) Section
Finally! We reach the portion that most people want to get to – sipping the wine! 🙂
[pullquote]What is UMAMI?
Identified by Japenese professor Kikunae Ikeda as the 5th taste, umami is a “pleasant savory taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products.”
[/pullquote]Did you know that your mouth actually “tastes” the wine using your 5-6 million olfactory receptors in your nose? The taste buds in the mouth can only detect sweet, sour, bitter, salt and umami tastes. This is why the MOUTH DETAILS tab here is a copy of the NOSE DETAILS tab from above. It copies the aroma choices you picked in the previous section.
[pullquote]Should You Spit or Swallow?
If you plan on visiting 2-3 wineries a day, I would suggest that you spit – it is perfectly okay AND you’ll be surprised at how much more enjoyable the last few wines are! If visiting only one winery, then enjoy every last ounce! [/pullquote]
After you have experienced the wine in your mouth, update the MOUTH DETAILS with what additional aromas you’ve “tasted”. More importantly, make notes on what your mouth detects in the following areas:
● Acidity: high acid wines are tart or zesty (trust me, you’ll notice!)
● Alcohol: is there too much or too little alcohol?
● Sweetness: how much residual sugar is left in the wine? Lack of sweetness means the wine is dry (or semi-dry).
● Tannins: these make your mouth “pucker” with its astringent action and bitterness
Open up the notes and add what you detect for future reference.
Score the MOUTH from 0 – 30. The following character descriptors are available under BODY to help describe the wine:
10. Completing the Finish (Savor) Section
So, you’ve either swallowed or spat the mouthful of wine. Wait a few seconds and let’s see how long it lasts in your mouth. Does it linger and provide additional layers of complexity? Are you discovering more aromas or structure to the wine that you did not notice before?
Or does the wine disappear immediately or you’re grabbing for water to wash the “taste” away!?
Scoring the finish is almost as important as the aroma & taste since this is what will be with you after each sip. Score the FINISH from 0 – 15 and describe what you notice in the aftertaste. The following character descriptors are available under AFTERTASTE to help describe the wine:
11. Completing the Opinion Section
Okay, you’ve finished the tasting for this wine. What is your overall opinion? I like to call this my “gut-feel” section. If I like the wine enough that I would consider buying a bottle or two, then I would score it 7 or more. If the wine is not fit for consumption, then score it under 2!! Remember that the final rating is the total scores from all sections.
The following character descriptors are available under OPINION to help describe the wine:
Finish Your One-Line Review
This section allows you to provide a quick statement about the wine and your opinion of it. What is really neat about this section, is that in the ONE-LINE REVIEW you can manually type your opinion OR allow the system to populate it for you (based on the options selected in the prior sections).
Tap on the AUTOFILL button and it fills in all your descriptive attributes for the wine you’ve just tasted. Or you can make modifications to this OR replace the entire review with your own words – your choice!
12. Telling People About Your Wine Tasting Experience!
Quini does a great job allowing you to connect to Twitter and Facebook. Once you tap DONE with your tasting, you can tweet your rating and share on Facebook with just a few taps!
When you tap on the social media icons, you are prompted with the tweet or text to send out; you can change the text at this time, or add #-tags etc. Tapping Post will let your fans & family know what you thought of the wine you’ve just tasted!! Quick and easy! Tap the Done button and you’re ready for another tasting!
Congratulations! You have just recorded your first wine tasting and should now be ready and confident to approach the next one (which I promise will be so much easier!)
Remember, play with the Quini app and take it along with you whenever and wherever you go wine tasting. No need for papers or pens, just tapping & chatting! And don’t forget about signing into the website and checking it out, especially your very own Tasting Profile!
Since Quini is a new app, there are bound to be questions and some issues early on. Feel free to drop me a comment on how and what you find using the app (the good, the bad, the ugly) and we can delight (or commiserate) in each other’s experience. And if you add @VineyardTrail to your Quini tweets, I’ll be sure to retweet them!!
Drink Wine – Drink Wisely!