WSET Diploma Tasting, Part 1

I wish to share with you some of the answering techniques some fellow WSET teachers amd friends were able to share woth me. The following is more a consolidation for easier understanding. WSET tasting at DIp level is surely not everything, it may be just one starting.


Clarity- If you tilt a dull wine and it's rim is clear, the wine is "clear"

Color/ Intensity

- gradations of light in most rooms; not a big deal; this can be a waste of time

- important not to pour too much wine; WSET uses ISO glasses with a line 3 cm up the side of the bowl. 1 inch = 2.54 cm, so little more than an inch of wine in the glass

- white wines- get the color from the core, intensity from the rim

- white wines: most lemon or lemon-green; gold= some orange;

- if orange dominant, "amber"

- white wine intensity- from the width of the colorless rim

- if wide, "pale"; if thin, "medium"; "deep" = very little watery rim

- red wines- get the color from the rim, intensity from the core, then rim

- if rim is pink, wine is ruby

- if rim has some orange or brown, wine is garnet

- red wine intensity- look straight down- if you can't see the circle where the stem meets

the wine, the wine is "deep"; if you can see it but (after tilting) can't read through

the wine, the wine is "medium"

Nose/ palate


- a five choice scale (Advanced) is easier than a three choice scale (Intermediate)

- need to calibrate light, medium, pronounced

- first decide which of the above; most will be medium; then decide, above or below medium

- if not sure, "medium"

Aromatics- neutral, aromatic, oaked; primary, secondary, tertiary

primary- aromatics from the grape

secondary- aromatics from the winemaking process

tertiary- aromatics from ageing, oxidative or reductive

Level of sweetness- SAT categories designed to be used

dry- many wines

off-dry- most modern Alsace whites

medium-dry- typical German kabinett

medium to medium- sweet- typical German spätlese

sweet- classic dessert wines

luscious- sweet and incredibly viscous

Acidity- dribble test

Tannin- level of tannin not to be confused with nature of tannin (e.g. silky, rough)

Alcohol level- 12-13% = medium; start to feel heat, medium plus

Quality level- a good wine should show some varietal character, climate influence, be well balanced, well made, but necessarily concentrated, complex- e.g. Jacobs Creek Chardonnay because it tastes of chardonnay and is well balanced

very good - not only sense of place but also has complexity, maybe missing a little on the nose

outstanding- benchmark wine, nothing wrong.

acceptable- lacking varietal character or sense of place or some balance

poor- a lot of things are out of balance