VINPRESSION™: A Visual Tasting Note

by Jordan Fiorentini, Winemaker

When I taste wine it is all about sensation – through the nose, on the palate, and if the wine is good enough, all the way down into my knees.  My job in writing tasting notes has been to describe this experience to you in words, however I don’t always see wines in just word format.  When I taste a wine, I see abstract shapes and intersecting lines.  I like to relate my sensory process to how an Italian talks with hand and arm gestures to describe their thoughts.  So, to describe my thoughts, I started experimenting with drawing my tasting notes instead of describing them with word alone.  It was through this experimentation that VINPRESSION was born.

Each VINPRESSION is my best attempt at communicating with you in a personal, visual format about how the wines smell, taste, and feel as you sip them.  Texture of a wine is a huge part of winetasting and since it is a sensation, it is much easier for me to describe with a drawing. 

Instructions for reading each VINPRESSION are quite simple – read these drawings from left to right as the wines travel to the front, middle and back of your palate.  Although the VINPRESSION looks abstract, I draw them as if they were on a four-quadrant graph (see below).  The left side of the graph describes the sensations on the front palate, the center of the graph explains the mid palate and the right of the graph is the back palate. 

Shown on the below drawing, if the lines drop to the bottom left quadrant, the wine is hitting the bottom of my front palate, and likewise if it ends high on the top right quadrant, it touches the back top of my palate.  A round, full wine touches all quadrants of the graph and if it has no hard edges on the palate, there will be no sharp angles, just round ones.  A wine that finishes long will show extending lines to the right.

I do give my overall impression of the wine in words on the VINPRESSION to start the tasting experience.  I also use words in the context of the drawing at the time and place they are experienced on the palate

These VINPRESSION tasting notes are an exciting journey, and with each new tasting note I “draw” I learn more about how to better communicate the way wines taste.  I hope you have fun with these sketches and that they broaden the way in which you think about wine – they have and continue to do so for me. 

VINPRESSION™ is a trademark of Epoch Estate Wines

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