How to Make a Component Descriptor Kit for Wine Evaluation

One thing you’ll want to have handy when doing a wine tasting is what the wine industry calls component descriptor kits. Although these can be purchased, it is not difficult to make your own. Assembling it will take only a short time, but the ingredients will have to steep for a couple of days.

Equipment:

  • 12 quart jars with lids or stretch plastic to cover
  • 12 half-pint jars, with lids and screw rings
  • fine sieve
  • cheesecloth
  • small 3M sticky note strips

Ingredients:

  • Neutral white wine (a box of Gallo chardonnay or similar wine is fine; you won’t be drinking this)
  • red food coloring
  • 2 cups of rocks (gravel or small stones)
  • 2 cups of green olives, rinsed
  • 2 peaches
  • 1 box of raspberries
  • 1 box blackberries
  • 1 bunch of mint
  • 1 mixed bunch of thyme, rosemary, and lavender
  • 1 bunch of tarragon
  • 3 pears
  • 3 tablespoons of cloves
  • 1 box of cherries
  • 2 tart apples

*Optional/alternates: Meyer lemon, kiwi, plums, peppercorns, alfalfa hay, sage, vanilla extract

Put a pint of wine in each quart jar. Add the rocks to one jar, the olives to another, and the cloves to another jar. Gently crush and twist the bunch of mint and add to a jar, pushing down to cover with wine. Quarter the peaches and add to a quart jar, pushing down to cover with wine. Add the remaining fruit and herbs to separate jars.

Allow to steep for 12 to 48 hours. Pour off a little of the pear infusion and smell. When the pear and apple infusions are strong enough to identify, the others will be ready as well. Clean the half-pint jars and rinse thoroughly. Make sure they do not smell like cardboard or soap. Strain each infusion by pouring through a fine sieve lined with a layer of cheesecloth. Pour each infusion into a clean half-pint jar. Color the “red” aromas (raspberries, blackberries, cherries, mint, tarragon, and cloves) with red food coloring by adding one drop at a time and stir until the wine turns ruby red. Olives and herbs may be left white or colored red as they can apply to both. Seal the jars until ready to use, and label with sticky notes.

Thank you Mary Baker from Dover Canyon Winery for this recipe!

Buy a Component Descriptor Kit:

You can also buy a component tasting kit from Aromaster.

Wine Tasting Lesson:

Once you have a component tasting kit, here is a Wine Component Tasting lesson from Tim Vendergrift of Winexpert:

Enjoy!

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