Your Crush Course Tasting Tools


Click links at the bottom of this email to download or print your materials.

6-Ring Tasting Mat:  Formatted for LEGAL paper, but 11×17 works. Print one per-person. Use WHITE paper to assure a neutral background for assessing Color and Appearance.

6-Wine Evaluation Sheet:  Formatted for LETTER paper. Print one per-person. WHITE paper recommended. Hold it under/behind your glass for an instant neutral background! 


The Crush Course ©️ Tasting Mat can accommodate a tasting up to 6 wines.  Use it for a tasting party or just yourself so you have structure when setting up your own tasting evaluartion and discovery.

  • Simply set the empty glasses inside each circle, working your tasting order from left to right around the sheet (counter-clockwise).
  • The white background is to better help you assess the color and depth of the wine.
  • The mat has been specially designed for Blind Tastings (the wine names or grapes are unknown) so are labelled E-F.
  • But use it for all your non-blind tastings as well! Simply write in the key information that identifies each wine based on your tasting flight (whether that’s the full wine name, an appellation name, or simply the grape)
  • Pour the wines in the glass, being careful to pour the correct wine into each labelled glass and the same wine for everyone. TIPS before pouring:
    • Quantity: For most tastings, you only need a 1 to max. 2 oz pour per person.  For Food & Wine tastings, consider 3 oz’s for multiple sips, before and after the bite of food.
    • For Blind Tastings: 1) Decide who the ‘host’ will be who will know the wines;  2) Have a bottle wrap, marker, and note paper handy. 3) Just before covering the bottle label, assure you know which bottle is your wine A, which is wine B, etc. (make note of each on your note pad);  4) One at a time, wrap each bottle in a paper bag or aluminum foil and using the marker, quickly label it with the correct letter (A-F) right on the bag or foil.  * Keep the TOP open for pouring!
    • For Non-Blind Tastings: 1) Decide your tasting order. Jot it on a piece of paper with the wine name corresponding to each wine letter A-F; 2) with a Marker, Label each bottle A-F (somewhere on the label).  3) Simply pay attention when pouring to pour the correct wine into the correct glass for each person.



       From left to right, assess each wine in this order:

  1. Appearance (Look)
  2. Nose (Smell)
  3. Palate 1 – Structure (Taste)
  4. Palate 2 – Flavors (Taste)
  5. Overall Assessment (Describe & Summarize)

            Jot your personal impressions and notes in each box

  • FOR EACH STEP – What are we assessing? What do the pros look for?
    • The TOP of each column lists the elements pros evaluate. Ex, Under NOSE, describe the wine’s condition, its dominant aromas, and the intensity of those aromas
    • The BOTTOM of each column gives evaluative, descriptive terms per element
    • This progressive method and these terms are a standard for assessing all wines similarly. Let them guide your analysis, but don’t let them limit you.
  • So, what else do you write in each box? Anything that comes to mind! Your grandmother’s powder room?  A wet sidewalk on a hot day? Warm apple cobbler?  Cut grass? Even “Pow!” or “Zippy,” or “Dr. Pepper.”  Use your sense memory and life experiences to describe what you see, smell, feel, taste.  This helps you recall the wine later, in your own terms, based on what’s meaningful to you.
  • Reserve the left column for wine name, appellation, vintage, price
  • Complete entire 5-step tasting process for Wine A before advancing to Wine B


For more detailed Tips on Tasting, watch your inbox for ideas, articles, and alerts to my latest blog postings in Crush Notes!  

Haven’t answered our brief 3-Question Questionnaire?  Go to:  _________ .  Share your level of wine savvy and you’ll receive your copy of Crush Course ©️ Guide to Tasting Like a Pro which takes you through the 5 Steps to Wine Tasting(See, Sniff, Sip, Savor, Speak) to quickly uncover the individual beauty of every wine!  

Mary Beth Vierra
Your Crush Course Guide