Chapter 4 of 11 from James Suckling

Discerning Flavors and Aromas: Student Tasting Experience


In order to appreciate wine, you must first be able to truly taste it. Understand the common characteristics of different varietals by discussing flavor, aroma, acidity, structure, texture, and balance.

Topics include: Prosecco • Champagne • Riesling • White Burgundy • Pinot Grigio • Rosé • Sangiovese • Pinot Noir • Cabernet Sauvignon • Bordeaux

In order to appreciate wine, you must first be able to truly taste it. Understand the common characteristics of different varietals by discussing flavor, aroma, acidity, structure, texture, and balance.

Topics include: Prosecco • Champagne • Riesling • White Burgundy • Pinot Grigio • Rosé • Sangiovese • Pinot Noir • Cabernet Sauvignon • Bordeaux

James Suckling

James Suckling Teaches Wine Appreciation

Flavor, aroma, and structure—Learn from wine master James Suckling as he teaches you to appreciate the stories in every bottle.

Learn More


Discover the story in every bottle

Called one of the “world’s most powerful wine critics,” James Suckling has tasted more than 200,000 wines over the past 40 years. In his MasterClass, James tours legendary Tuscan vineyards and teaches you to explore the stories, history, and people behind every bottle. Deepen your knowledge of the properties in each sip, cultivate your passion, and choose, order, and pair wines with confidence.

Immerse yourself in the vineyards of Tuscany with renowned wine critic James Suckling and deepen your appreciation for the wines of the world.

A downloadable wine guide accompanies the class with lesson recaps, supplemental materials, and a printable worksheet to help you conduct your own tastings.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. James will also respond to select student questions.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Loved James' masterclass. Tasted wines while watching, and had visited Tuscany this summer, so it all resonated with us. Learned a ton, and would love to see the next edition. - Tom and Karen, Burlington, Vermont.

LOVED the interaction with James and the people who's families have produced wines for many generations. Their passion and love for what they do and their products are a labor of love and James shows his appreciation and love in return by sharing that with us, and the world!

MasterClass makes me discover how passionate I can be about something and now I'm passionate about wine more than ever. James Suckling is a brilliant instructor and I the workbook is the best one I've come across so far. Absolutely Brilliant!

Improved: Improved on taking time to taste differences in wine. Learned: Learned about the geography, soil, history, and how all of these elements impact the quality of the wine. Learned how to taste a wine, and learned wine vocabulary.


Omar D.

If this tasting went on for a couple of hours, they'd be on that table dancing while talking about how the wine feels on the "palette".

simon G.

This isn't the first time I'm hearing that cork wines have oxygen exchanges with the outside of the bottle. However I'm struggling to figure out how that exchange can happen given that the cork is normally sealed too. Isn't that an old myth that lived throughout time?

A fellow student

I really enjoyed this but I’m wondering the best way to train my palette. I’ve started to buy wines around £30 but I’m struggling to tell the difference like the students can here so I don’t know where I’m going wrong.

Andrew Stephen L.

I loved this lesson... and seeing wines being tasted... i’ve Seen wine tasting advertised and planning to try it at some point... or maybe I will wait for the summer and try to get to a session in France 🇫🇷 or Italy 🇮🇹 x For now I will be meeting friends for a BABOB Party (Bring A Bottle Of Bubbly) Champagne or Prosecco or a sparkling wine🥂 🍾 x it’s a great way to support a friends new house or business because after they have set ups their place they may have little money to organize lots of great wine or food,and with a BABOB Party the guests bring a bottle or two each and it saves the host. Some people just turn up with a dessert 🍮 or flowers 🌸 or’s a party 🎉 everyone’s welcome...just nice to be together x 💕 x

Valerie B.

I find myself being selfish wanting to know exactly the names of the wine for my own use. Perhaps the workbook gives the names of the wines but I can't seem to download it. This is an ongoing masterclass problem. What I would like to do is have the very same wines in front of me, while listening to the comments. That would be three dimensional, sound, taste and visual. I think it would be a perfect scenario.

A fellow student

How to be a wine snob 101. Not happy with this lesson. There is a lot of judgement here not a lot of education.

Norman G.

‪@JamesSuckling James is there any way you can help me squeeze a couple into your SFO event? I got my tickets early since we come every year but we really wanted them to come and it looks like it’s sold out. ‬

A fellow student

I loved the interaction with the students. Very fresh approach. They are the future after all.

Alma G.

I’m enjoying the class and I’m especially appreciative of the descriptions. I’ve tasted a few wines but didn’t quite know how to describe why I liked them. I wish we could have a list of the wines being tasted here.

Thomas R.

Significantly more information in this video compared to last one. The nature of video production is responsible for a bit of rehearsed taste. What I learned: we can have our own vocabulary of aromas and tastes based on our experience. We have to learn to use the same terms and descriptors at all times though. Still no answer on how to rate within the sections of the 100 points system. As I am following the lesson discusiion now...did I miss something regarding additional books? Can someone help me here? Thx,


I thought it'd be really cool to get together today and taste some wines. And I think this is going to help all of us to be better tasters, to better appreciate wine, to discuss how they're made, what they taste like, and why. That's really important. What I tried to do today was to select wines that we can all find at home, and a wide range of wines. You have the prosecco, which is much different than a top Champagne, a chardonnay from France, and a pino grigio from Italy. Wonderful Bordeaux, young and old, the same chateau, but then you have a rich and powerful California cabernet. All sorts of really cool things today. I hope you all realize you can do this at home. Andrew, can you serve the wines now? Thanks. In general, I like serving sparkling wines before a dinner party or also a tasting, because it's fresh, bubbly, and it's really the right thing to do. So, of course, you always look at the color first when you're tasting a wine. And I always look like this. Try to find some white space. You can use the paper, but luckily I have my tables in my office, and they're white like this. I'll never do things like this. That shows you know nothing about wine. So just take a look. Now this is a nice prosecco. The color is right. If it was a little bit darker yellow, or had some orange to it, it would mean that probably it's not a great bottle. There could be some oxidation or it's old, because when a white wine ages it gets darker in color. As far as swirling, it looks like you're all very competent swirlers. And it's not just for looks. I think it's really fun to do but, actually, it oxidizes the wines. So, okay. We looked at the color. We swirled it, smell. And then just take a sip. When you're tasting, look for the texture. A lot of people forget that. The bubbles, are they fine? These are very fine. You almost don't get any. It's more like just tasting a still wine. And then start thinking about things like acidity and the fruit. And the most important thing for all wines is the finish. This lasts pretty long. I'm getting lots of lemon and apricot, but, more importantly, sliced pears. What are you getting, Vickia? - Definitely the pears. Very soft things, very light. I can taste a little bit of that sweetness, maybe, that the fruit remembers. - Danny, what are you getting? DANNY: I'm getting some floral notes, white flower, and it's still opening up as well. It's very, very nice. - Well, we'll talk more, and I think we can sort of hone in on stuff. And it's going to be a lot of fun. Andrew, could you serve the Champagne? Here we have Louis Roederer Champagne, which is one of the top Champagne houses. So let's go through that, and think about how this is different than the prosecco from Nino Franco, and this is one of the best proseccos. Of course, it's different because they're made from different grapes. The Champagne's made with pinot noir, chardonnay, and pino meunier. The ...