From James Suckling's MasterClass

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

Teaches Wine Appreciation

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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 ...

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 wine tasting 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.


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

I learned to better appreciate the wine tasting process. Prior to this I just sipped and rated it -- thumbs up / thumbs down. I will take better care next time to assess different aspects of the wine before I judge it. Thanks!

Great teacher. I cant wait to view his website!

While this masterclass was filled to the brim with very useful information, what will stick with me the most is James' approach to, and philosophy behind, true appreciation of wine. I don't think I'll ever drink a glass of wine the same way again. Excellent class.

I have learnt how to tell what is a good wine and what is not. Tasting is important and no afraid of trying new wines. Explore regions and vineyards, producers and different terrains. Enjoyable Masterclass. Well thought out and the right pace. Allows me to enjoy wine and appreciate wine better.



It feels like one-upmanship to create some sort of poetic description, which is highly dependent on the taster's background and personal experience. "It smells like my grandma's sewing room after a spring rain and I've just cut the grass back when I was 8 years old..." "Yes, exactly!"

A fellow student

not intimidating, but agree with simon gautherin & Joel Herzog. I didn't get much out of this chapter. Perhaps give us the wine list so we can taste along.

Pachy O.

I am really bad for smells. Whenever I taste a wine, I kinda able to fill bitterness or sweetness. But I just can't tell if I am smelling a fruit or chocolate or whatever. It smells like wine with alcohol. I feel so frustrated with that.

simon G.

Coming from the coffee industry, I'm here to take some of the methodology from sommeliers in analysing beverages. However I found a systematic lack of structure in the description with often very quick, broad comments and analysis. It could be valuable to start with the fundamentals of tasting (vocabulary, glossary of words, methodology of the analysis etc.) before jumping straight into what feels more like a 'show off' tasting that can be quite intimidating for non experienced tasters.


Great session and quite informative. It is also amazing to have a family relationship with the same passion!!!

Joel H.

This lesson was ok. But perhaps James can explain "how" he's tasting the wine. How he's picking out all the crazy aromas. Leather, chocolate, volcanic rock, etc. How do you taste those. And what is happening with the mouth feel? Is there a special/specific say to "taste" the wine. He seems to have a technique that he doesn't explain. Seriously, it's not enough to hear yourself talk. Explain what you are doing.


I drink wine but know nothing really. Today we happened to shop after I began this class. My husband is all about cheap wine....even I, who knows nothing, shudders at the thought. I bought my first two wines, both with a 95 rating. OMG! There is a apologies to the wine lovers with excellent taste, i simply knew no better. Some say this master class has no value and is a waste of time but if you can teach an old dog that there are indeed new tricks, I’m in. As with the cooking classes, I have found value in every class. It all depends on what you are looking for. Thank you, James Suckling for moving me. Wine doesn’t have to be super expensive but it needs to be more than “meh” in a bottle. If this class isn’t for you then find something that is. I, for one, needed this.

Thomas R.

OK, we did see a pro being very passionate about the wines. So it is not only the numbers it is simply enjoying, loving a wine or also coming across a waste of time. But how can it be compared? How do I compare a SuperTuscan and a state of the art Chilean ensamblaje? I like the 100 point system, to me it makes sense. Did find it before on youtube. However I want to learn the difference it makes for a color to be a 12 or a 14. What makes a wine a 15 here? I hope Masterclass will somehow provide us an answer.

Cameron J.

Ok, for all the ‘haters’ out there, calm yourself down. I’m a Chef and certified sommelier and as I sat down to watch this i was thinking it would be interesting to see how they balance Super basic vs professional - for which target audience. Whilst I didn’t fall in love with JS as a presenter, he’s clearly a legend in the wine business and I think they have managed to strike a reasonable balance given the breadth of their audience. Maybe only 20% of the first few classes gave me anything new BUT if you love wine, and presumably that is why you are watching in the first place, then put down your Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat, open a nice bottle of wine and just listen to what he has to say. Knowledge is power and in life if you learn a little bit every time you watch something new, then you are ahead of the pack. Salut!

Greg S.

This is useless. I don't need to watch a guy tell me what he thinks about wine. This should be about how to set up a tasting. What are you trying to accomplish with a tasting? How do you go about selecting wines for a tasting? What kind of range might you start with and work your way to as you learn more? Watching this dude drink wines and arbitrarily assign a rating to it teaches nothing. This isn't Masterclass quality, it's a YouTube video.