Tag Archives: wine taste

Wine Tasting by the Numbers – Part 3

Wine tasters tasting wine.Wine tastings can be your training ground and your best way to learn wine so you can challenge the numbers of the experts.  Some tastings showcase up to 200 wines and you have a splendid selection.  Most wine tastings have a theme, such as a region or a grape variety.  When you are at one of these tastings, take your time and don’t consume all the wines you sample.  (Spitting is not only  acceptable, but recommended).

For the serious taster, it’s good to have a routine so that all wines are examined with the same approach, i.e. number of swirls and steps that examine the color, the clarity, the aromas and their intensity, the tastes and the texture of the wine as well as its structure and finish.  This is the only way to keep your evaluations without a bias caused by different examination systems.

Make notes of each wine and practice your sensory skills.  Above all, concentrate, because the comments of others and the many distractions will keep disturbing your focus.

After the tasting, evaluate your notes and your emotional responses. If you need to make a choice, favor your emotional responses.  Therefore,  have a simple method, like writing an “E” which means my emotional responses were great.  Price will play its role and your decisions are likely to be good.

The only thing to remember is that atmosphere and the effect of all the distractions can play havoc with your emotions and your concentration.  A wine tasting is serious business for the wine lovers who are trying to enhance their skills.  Keep your focus and take necessary breaks, if needed.  Stress is your second enemy and you must take time to destress regularly during the tasting.  Good success at the best training ground you may have.  It can be an experience to enjoy as well as to educate.

Tasting Wine by the Numbers – Part 2

Extreme close up of sommelier evaluating red wine in wine glass at tasting.Let’s examine this common experience of choosing wine by numbers and evaluate its benefits and disadvantages.

Advantages:

  • If you don’t know wine, someone is evaluating it for you.
  • Simple, easy way to decide which you want.  Just determine the lowest number you are willing to accept.
  • Easy way to find a low price with apparent quality.
  • You can develop a faith in a wine taster and simply accept his or her advice.

Disadvantages:

  • The wine taster’s taste may not be your style or taste.
  • You get into a rut of tasting only wines that fall into your range of numbers.
  • You focus on numbers and don’t broaden your experience of regions, varieties, blends and the occasional wine that is very unusual and that the wine taster is biased against.
  • Your knowledge of wine can be seriously limited.  You depend on others.
  • You cannot become your own wine taster and evaluator.

Now let’s ask some questions.

  • Do wine scores psychologically influence your purchase and, more importantly, your taste?  Yes, it’s hard not to be influenced by a high score.  Your senses begin to respond to numbers.
  • Does it help to have this kind of a guide?  It can, but you become dependent on scores.
  • Should we only taste wines 90 and above?  Definitely not.  There are some great experiences below 90.  Remember, wine tasters are not always right and do not agree among themselves.
  • Should we slavishly follow a wine taster who seems to have similar likes to us?  No. Try those who disagree with your taste and disagree with your favorite wine taster and you will discover what it is that the wine taster was focusing on and what they missed.  We need to taste wines of different quality to appreciate why good is good and very good is very good.
  • Unless flawed, a wine has something to say.  Can you appreciate and value its message?  Every wine that is not flawed will teach you something.

What are some other paths to follow?  Match wine to food?  Let the moment and your spontaneity dictate occasionally?  Regularly taste outside of your comfort zone?  Become your own evaluator and use the distinct advantages of a public wine tasting.

What will your next wine experience teach you?

A Wine to Define Your Emotions

Stoller Pinot Noir 2011, Dundee Hills

Stoller Pinot Noir 2011, Dundee Hills

Stoller Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, 2011

Here is a good example of a wine that will help you define your emotions when you taste.  Remember, wine is emotion in a glass.  We identify our emotions quickly when we taste a wine (or anything, for that matter) with the shallow evaluation of, “Oh I like this one,” or “I’m not impressed,” or at the negative extreme we blurt out, “I hate this!” as we ingloriously spit it out.

Do we often enjoy the experiences of wine that lay in-between these polarized reactions?  All our experiences are emotions and we need to get in touch with our emotions better in order to enjoy food and wine more.  We taste with our emotions, in the final analysis, and they are where we make our judgments of the wine or pause to dig a little deeper into their vast repertoire of experiences to find what it is we are enjoying or detesting.  To quickly enjoy or detest is to simply scratch the surface of our emotional reactions and leave out of the moment the many other reactions that our emotions want to give us.

So, here is how we do it most of the time.  First, we pour a glass, sniff, and say it seems to be good.  Then we taste and confirm: yes, it is pleasant.  And then we swallow and forget it.  Let’s do more.  As I said, this is a good wine to help you take a deeper journey into wine appreciation — your appreciation and enjoyment.

It is a red wine that you might agree is light and bright with no offsetting flavors or faults.  Start with a simple judgment.  In your opinion, is it red fruit that you are reminded of, like strawberry, raspberry or red cherries?  Or is it dark fruit, like blackberry, blueberry, black currant, or boysenberry?  I think it is red fruit.  Red, not black, and they are bright red berries.  Now, you  are on a journey with your emotions.  What are your experiences of red berries and wine that reminds you of red berries?  There’s more here as you think about it.  Doesn’t this light, bright wine remind you of sunshine, dancing in the fields and creating moments of pleasure and light heartedness you have enjoyed?  The flavors of this wine are assembling experiences in your mind, aren’t they?  They may make you feel light-hearted, making your thoughts more dance-like and receptive.   Wine begins an emotional journey that we should not miss, just like a steak can change the landscape of your mind if you will let it.

What of this wine?  It is Pinot Noir alright, light and bright with red berry flavors a plenty, a little spice, and reminders of cedar and vanilla.  Each facet can take you on another journey.  You may find more and that’s the wonder of wine-tasting: we all taste differently.  Taste again and let your mind wander among its many reminders of flavors and impressions and you will enjoy the wine all the more.

Rating:  89+

Emotional rating?  Well, you can describe your journey.

Available widely.