It’s been a busy time for the Wine Student; none of it wine related, I’m sad to say. So, yes, I’ve been blowing off my studies a bit. I’m back to the study hall and picking up where I left off: the Mouth~feel Wheel. Like the Wine Aroma Wheel, the Mouth~feel Wheel, is made up of various terms that describe how red wine feels when it’s on your tongue. This part of wine tasting is really new to me: I’ve never thought of wine as ‘chewy’ or ‘grippy’; according to the Mouth-feel Wheel, it can be.
Developed by Richard Gawel in collaboration with Dr. Leigh Francis and Anita Oberholster of the Australian Wine Research Institute, the Mouth~feel Wheel lists 53 terms to describe red wine’s various sensations and texture. When I was looking through the wheel, I noticed some of the terms weren’t anything I’d ever use to describe wine. Like ‘chamois’. Chamois, according to the wheel, describes the surface smoothness and astringency of the wine. A harsh wine could be described as hard and aggressive while a complex wine might be fleshy, rich or supple.
We found the Angel’s Gate Cab Shiraz to be ‘astringent’ or “pucker-y,’ with a thin weight. It seemed a little young but pairing it with dark chocolate covered pomegranates seemed to cut it nicely.
The Sean Minor Pinot Noir, Carneros offered us more mouth~feel. I found it had a fuzzy sensation with a slight tingle; Katrin found it to be ‘fleshy’ and ‘active.’ We agreed that it provided a good measure of heat: warm and peppery and the finish was like ‘microsuede.’ I’ve never tasted microsuede, but it’s probably like a chamois.
It took us a few glances around the wheel to really put terms to how the wines felt, and the more we sampled, the better the descriptions became. We likened it to CSI for wines, except I don’t think our findings would ever hold up in a court of law.