The Right Way To Blind Taste Wine
If you’re planning a wine tasting party with pals, here’s a fantastic way to taking. First and foremost, let’s identify the incorrect method of blind tasting wine. When you drink mystery wine the incorrect way, you should swirl it about in your mouth in a scornful manner before stating something along the lines of “I don’t care.” “Of course, we’re talking about Bonneau. The Celestins, to be precise. anddefinitely’89. To be honest, it’s practically hard to overlook it.” This method of blind tasting is referred known as the “pretentious jackass” approach.
And, owing to a recent party I attended, which was hosted by financial journalist Felix Salmon, I now have a new strategy to include into my arsenal.
The host chooses a theme for the party—in his instance, red wine from Mediterranean islands—and asks guests to choose a wine that fits the theme and bring two bottles of it to the gathering.
After that, everyone enjoys tasting the numbered mystery wines while hanging around, conversing, and nibbling on delectable appetizers.
- A big part of the pleasure is expressing how much you dislike some of the wines, which is also part of the enjoyment.) Following the tasting of each bottle, each visitor ranks the wines in order of preference, from least to most favored.
- Probably the most exciting element is that, once all is said and done, the visitor whose bottle received the highest overall rating wins the whole box of second bottles.
- It was rich and refined, with just enough age to show some aromatic growth as well.
- (If you’re curious in how all of the wines we tried fared, you can read Salmon’s take on the evening’s outcomes here.) This is a fantastic technique.
It’s all very informal, friendly, and entertaining, and on top of that, one lucky individual will win a large quantity of wine at the end of the evening. It was just not me that day. At the very least, this time.
The Secret to Blind Tasting? Learn The “Tasting Grid”
This advanced wine book covers how to develop your taste via the use of a tasting grid, a technique used by experienced sommeliers to assess and improve your wine selections. You’ll learn the same method that wine professionals use to blind test wines. As a primer, you might want to start withHow to Taste Wine and Develop Your Palateif you’re just starting started with wine tasting. There is no one key to mastering the skill of blind tasting; rather, there are many different approaches. Anyone can learn, and practice makes perfect, as the saying goes.
Using this organized tasting procedure repeatedly can improve your palate’s accuracy in tasting as well as your outcomes.
This essay is designed to be a crash course on the field of sensory analysis.
With the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition, you will receive the Wine 101 Course (a $29 value) for free.
The Secret to Blind Tasting? Know “The Grid”
The wine tasting grid is a list of wine qualities based on information from the senses of sight, smell, taste, and smell. Tasting experts use a grid to mentally segregate scents, flavors, and tastes to determine the identification of a particular wine by using the grid as a method. As it turns out, the grid is not only useful for blind tasting but also for other purposes. It’s also necessary for knowing what makes a good bottle of wine. In the case of those who are serious about wine, the tasting grid will alter their perspective on the beverage.
A Lil’ Backstory
After taking the Court of Masters Certified test in 2010, I became acquainted with the tasting grid for the first time. When I got to that stage in my profession, I’d managed to piece together a method of blind tasting that had gotten me rather far in my career. I’d previously won a prize as runner-up in Ruinart’s Chardonnay contest earlier in the year, so I was feeling quite good about myself. Still, if I wanted to make it to the big leagues, I needed to work on my taste-testing skills. In Seattle, I became a member of a tasting group.
It was a little weird (I was awkward).
The wine is being analyzed on Somm by Dlynn Proctor, who uses a variant of the grid.
The good news is that if you keep at it and put in the effort, you will improve your taste abilities to a level far superior to most others (both in and out ofthe wine business). In 15 minutes, you will have learned more about wine than you ever imagined imaginable.
Do It Yourself
Even if you are not practicing blind tasting, you may experiment with the grid to see how it works. It will assist you in associating characteristics of a wine with the location and method of production. With time and practice, you’ll develop a mental library of tasting notes and the characteristics they signal in a wine. For example, I occasionally notice the mild scent of Parmesan cheese in a sparkling wine (which serves as a marker for the more animalistic leesy “autolytic” aroma). As time goes on, I come to identify that fragrance with a glass of Champagne.
What You’ll Need
- Wine glasses
- A 3 oz pour of wine (or multiple pours for a comparison tasting)
- And a knife and fork. Sheet of white paper to observe the color (and, if feasible, even lighting to see the color)
- Grid for wine tasting (pdf)
- A pen and a notebook to take notes on your tasting experience
- A clear and uncluttered mind
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve made a commitment to becoming familiar with the tasting grid. Save this page for later use and refer back to it as necessary. Furthermore, most novices will take around 15–20 minutes to complete a single grid for a single wine, while specialists should be able to complete the task in approximately 4 minutes. The grid is divided into four major sections:
When inspecting a bottle of wine, there are simply three things to look for: color, meniscus, and viscosity. In order to see clearly through a glass, you’ll want to hold the glass over a white surface with the glass slanted away from you so that you can see the wine pool to one side with little optical distortion caused by the glassware.
|Clarity||Clear, Slight Haze, Murky, presence of Sediment, gas (bubbles)|
|Brightness||Dull, Bright, Day Bright, Star Bright, Brilliant|
|Intensity||Low, Medium-Minus, Medium, Medium-Plus, HighOver time reds will lose their color (anthocyanin), and whites will become richer in color, eventually turning brown.|
|Color||Red:Garnet (red-ruby), Ruby, Purple (blue-ruby)White:Straw (green-yellow), Yellow, GoldThis can often be an indication of a particular variety, age, or regional climate (e.g. a cooler climate may produce wines with higher acidity leaning more towards the garnet and ruby side of the spectrum). For example, in most casesa Argentine Malbec will be purple, and Tuscan Sangiovese will be garnet.|
|Secondary Colors||Red:red base or blue baseWhite:green base or copper baseSecondary colors are the hints of color that you get, either in the meniscus of a red wine or, in the case of white wine, as a subtle hue observed under light. Reds will either have a red base in the color or a blue base. Like other plants with anthocyanins, the color shift occurs due to the presence of acidity. For example, hydrangea flowers change color depending on the soil; if the soil is more acidic, the flowers will become more reddish, and if the soil is basic, the flowers will be more blueish. The same is also true with red wines, even though all wines are on the acidic end of the spectrum, lower acid wines will appear more blue or magenta in their coloring. Of course, it’s important to note that the coloring is also a product of the variety.|
|Rim Variation / Meniscus||Yes/No. If yes: what is the color variation from middle to edge?This mainly refers to red wine or white wines made with skin contact and can give you a few clues to the age of the wine. As the anthocyanin degrades, the red color will fade and yellow as well as reveal a wider meniscus. In young, high anthocyanin wines (such as Aglianico, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Tannat) the color will often be very rich from the middle to nearly the edge of the glass.|
|Viscosity /Wine Tears||Viscosity in a dry wine indicates the alcohol level. Viscosity in a sweet wine could indicate both sweetness and alcohol level. The tears that form on a glass after you swirl (called the Marangoni Effect or Gibbs-Marangoni Effect) are correlated to alcohol level and can be used to help indicate if the wine has low, medium, or high alcohol.|
Nose and Palate
Despite the fact that you will be evaluating them independently, the smells and tastes of a wine are grouped into a single area for your convenience (first smelling, then tasting). Using your sense of smell versus the texture and feel of a wine on your palate (see the “structure” section, which covers wine characteristics such as acidity, sweetness, tannin, and alcohol) are the two main components of this test. RECOMMENDATION:The first portion of both smell and taste is the condition, which is used to judge if a wine is clean or whether there is a wine defect in the wine.
|Intensity||Low, Medium-Minus, Medium, Medium-Plus, HighThe intensity of the aroma as a whole is a clue towards building the profile of a wine. For example, high alcohol wines (generally from warmer climates) will have more alcohol evaporation, and subsequently more aromatic intensity. Also, the temperature the wine is served at will affect the aromatic intensity of a wine, so the intensity doesn’t necessarily give you a complete story, just a whiff.|
|Aroma vs. Bouquet||(youthful/developed)As an overall impression, do you believe the wine to have more youthful aromas from the grape or more tertiary (savory) traits from aging? Both red and white wines tend to deliver less floral notes and more dried/sweet fruit flavors as they age.|
|Citrus||Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit, Tangerine, Orange, Zest, Citrus Peel, Citrus Pith, etc.|
|Apple / Pear||Green Apple, Yellow Apple, Pear, Asian Pear, etc.|
|Stone Fruit / Melon||Honeydew Melon, Cantaloupe, White Peach, Yellow Peach, Apricot, etc.|
|Tropical||Lychee, Pineapple, Mango, Guava, Papaya, Jackfruit, Banana, Passion Fruit, etc.|
|Red Fruits||Strawberry, Cherry, Raspberry, Red Currant, Cranberry, Red Plum, etc.|
|Black Fruits||Black Plum, Blackberry, Boysenberry, Blueberry, Black Cherry, etc.|
|Style of Fruit||Tart (cooler or moderate climate), Ripe (moderate or warm climate), Overripe, Jammy, Cooked (indications of hot climate or hot vintage), Dried, Oxidative, Baked (indications of aging and/or oxidative winemaking)|
|Flower||White Wine:Apple Blossom, Acacia, Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom, Jasmine, etcRed Wine:Violet, Rose, Iris, Peony, Hawthorne, etc|
|Vegetal (pyrazine)||White Wine:Gooseberry, Bell Pepper, Jalapeño, Chocolate MintRed Wine:Green pepper, Roasted Red Pepper, Bittersweet Chocolate|
|Herbs||White Wine:Mint, Basil, Savory, Chervil, Tarragon, Thyme, SageRed Wine:Mint, Eucalyptus, Sage, Menthol, Oregano|
|Spice (rotundone)||(red wines) Black pepper|
|Evidence of Botrytis||(white wines) Ginger, Honey, Wax|
|Evidence of Oxidation||White Wine:Nuts, ApplesauceRed Wine:Coffee, Cocoa, Mocha|
|Evidence of Lees||(white wines) Dough, Baked Bread, Beer, Yeast|
|Malolactic (MLF)||Oily, Butter, Cream|
|Organic Earth||White Wine:Wet Clay, Brettanomyces (Band-Aid), MushroomRed Wine:Clay, Potting Soil, Wet Leaves, Brettanomyces (Band-Aid), Mushroom|
|Inorganic Earth||Wet Gravel, Slate, Flint, Schist, Granite, Chalk, Sulfur (burnt match)|
|Oak||Yes/No. French/American. New Barrels/Used Barrels.White Wine:New Oak: Vanilla, Toast, Coconut, Toffee, ButterscotchRed Wine:New Oak: Vanilla, Brown Baking Spices, Cola, Smoke|
The moment you recognize the structure of a wine as a distinct entity from the smells and tastes, you’ll be able to associate a wine with the conditions (winemaking techniques or area) under which it was produced much more simply.
|Sweetness Level||Bone Dry, Dry, Off-Dry, Medium Sweet, SweetSeeWine Sweetness Chart|
|Body||Low, Medium-Minus, Medium, Medium-Plus, High|
|Acidity||Low, Medium-Minus, Medium, Medium-Plus, High|
|Alcohol||Low, Medium-Minus, Medium, Medium-Plus, High|
|Tannin / Phenolic Bitterness||Low, Medium-Minus, Medium, Medium-Plus, HighTanninsWood (fine to coarse-grained tannin generally towards center of the tongue) Grape (coarse-bitter tannins towards sides and front of the mouth)Phenolic BitternessWhite wines|
|Complexity||Wines with high complexity have more flavors, as well as a taste profile that evolves from beginning to middle to end.|
|Length||The presence of alcohol, acidity, and tannin/phenolic bitterness, extends the length of flavor in a wine.|
|Balance||Yes (in balance)/No (out of balance)This will help identify possible quality level of the wine. The more in balance, generally the higher the quality.|
However, even though this portion is designed primarily for blind tasting, it is an excellent method of summarizing and categorizing the wine into your mental repertory.
- When participating in a professional blind tasting, the initial conclusion serves the objective of bringing to light all of the probable (similar tasting) wines that may in fact be the wine in issue. As a result of the characteristics you saw when visually evaluating and tasting the wine’s structure, you can rule out some options. Conclusion: You have made your ultimate selection.
How to Blind Taste Wine Like A Champion
A long table in a quiet room is adorned with stemware and spit buckets, and the guests are seated at it. Each individual seated has a flight of wines laid out in front of them, ready to be poured and enjoyed. What they don’t know is the type of wine, where it comes from, or how it was manufactured. They will smell, swirl, drink, slurp, swish, and spit their way through the next 40 minutes. Each participant aspires to emerge from the oenological crucible with the ability to recognize the wines on the table without having to look at the labels or be given the names of the wines.
These individuals may be preparing for a competition or preparing for a wine exam, among other things. However they arrived at this conclusion, it is important to note that they are undertaking a really difficult sensory feat that may be learnt.
What, exactly, is blind tasting?
A big table in a quiet room is adorned with stemware and spit buckets, and the guests are invited to join in. Each individual seated has a flight of wines laid out in front of them, ready to be poured. What they don’t know is the type of wine, where it comes from, or how it was produced. Each participant will engage in a variety of sensory activities over the course of 40 minutes, including sniffing swirling sipping slurping swishing spitting Each participant aspires to emerge from the oenological crucible with the ability to recognize the wines on the table without having to look at the labels or be given the names of the bottles.
How to do it
The fundamentals of blind tasting may be learned by anybody. There are lessons available in classrooms and local wine stores around the country as part of the WineSpirit Education Trust (WSET) accreditation program, which is comprised of many components. Its systematic approach to tasting courses guide students through a step-by-step process in which they use an approved vocabulary of descriptors to correctly identify a grid of information — the basic levels of which are a wine’s appearance, nose, and palate — and to summarize the wine’s quality and readiness for drinking before presenting their conclusions.
- It is feasible to identify wine without looking at the label since the same wine created from the same grapes in two separate places would not taste the same as the same wine made in the same region.
- However, peer-reviewed research has proved that blind tasting is an actual talent.
- It turns out that no one is born with a natural aptitude for deductive wine tasting.
- Both Wang and Oxford University’s Domen Preern designed an experiment to see if training may enhance blind taste accuracy, which they found to be true.
- The answer to both questions was true; the more the research participants, who were all novices at the time of the study, learned about wine and wine tasting, the more costly their preferences grew.
- Furthermore, blind tasting is not something to be done lightly – honing the art will place a strain on one’s financial resources.
- Competitive blind tastings take the deductive process one step further by introducing a competitive element.
- It’s simply a room filled with dead quiet, with the odd noises of a lot of people swishing wine and spitting,” Wang describes the experience as being like.
- Sobriety is an unavoidable evil at the highest level of competition.
- The preparation for one such wine tournament, the Left Bank Bordeaux Cup, necessitates teams sampling a large amount of wine in advance of the competition.
- For example, a Bordeaux with greater alcohol content is more likely to be vintage 2009 than 2007, depending on when it was opened.
It’s possible that a 2003 Sauternes has more dried fruit than botrytis, but a 2001 bottle is notable for both acidity and botrytis — and the tasters must be aware of this.
To drink wine is to drink the earth itself, and the history and composition of the soil below, and the caprices of the weather and climate above, conspire to give different regions distinct flavor profiles.
It is possible to do a casual blind tasting without having access to such pricey wines, which is a good thing. The first two bottles of wine created from the same grape might be a good starting point for any wine consumer who wants to take their connection with wine to the next level. “What we do with novices is offer wines in pairs,” Wang explains. “We do this because it is more convenient.” To show how acidity differs between two Chardonnays from different climates, we may make two Chardonnays from distinct climates.
After that, keep in mind that one is a high acid example, while the other is a low acid one.” The structure of a wine — which is comprised mostly of the interplay between its acidity, alcohol, glycerol, and tannin — is the first, and sometimes most essential, item to learn about when learning how to taste wine.
“In the end, blind tasting is actually all about that and not so much about the flavor,” says the author.
Rather, it entails smelling many things.
According to her, “I feel it’s simpler to just walk out and smell the genuine thing.” But remembering odors and their related descriptions is a challenging endeavor that is stressful on the brain, which is not used to making associations between words and smells in most cases, and requires a lot of concentration.
- Wang suggests going to the grocery and sniffing everything in the produce area before purchasing anything.
- And then apply this fragrance memory to wine — but go a step farther than that.
- If so, what sort of fruit do you want?
- If it is lemon, how does it smell like lemon, and how long does it last?
- What about lemon juice?
- It’s possible that a wine with aromas of chocolate and cedar was matured in an oak barrel before release.
- Finding out that a wine smells like grandma’s perfume isn’t very useful, but describing it as smelling like roses, lime, or toasted bread can resonate with a large number of consumers.
- From then, the sense of urgency that comes with experience takes hold.
Making good notes (the WSET has a tasting booklet that can assist you in organizing your notes) and remembering them is essential to building an ever-growing mental store of information.
Do it with friends
Wang recommends that novices conduct blind tasting parties outside of official settings, where each individual can bring a bottle of wine that has been wrapped so that the label has been removed. Independent wine stores may be quite useful in providing wines that are simple to taste and understand. She recommends leaving a small amount of wine in the glass for the tasting. After the wine labels have been shown at the conclusion, re-tasting the wine might be beneficial in comparing what was found on the nose and taste with what was actually poured in the glass.
- “How can we gain information through our senses of smell and taste?” says the author.
- “You can make inferences about climatic conditions: is it a hot zone, is that a colder location?” If the wine has been matured in oak barrels, you will be able to tell.
- You can really taste these indications, and blind tasting is all about putting these clues together to come up with a fair bet as to where the wine is from.
- Beginning with scents and tastes, you are working your way through a puzzle.” And what do you get as a prize for all of this?
- There are also additional experiences to strive for, such as wine competitions and official blind tastings, for those who are committed enough.
A Beginner’s Guide to the Art of Blind Tasting
15th of February, 2019 One of the most difficult yet rewarding procedures a wine student can experience is blind tasting. It is a requirement for practically every top level wine qualification in the world, and it is one of the most challenging yet rewarding processes a wine student can experience. Blind tasting is a term that is sometimes misinterpreted. It does not technically imply tasting a wine without being able to see it, but rather tasting a wine with no knowledge of the wine’s provenance, grape varietals, vintage, or anything else other than the liquid in front of you.
- We thought it would be helpful to provide some suggestions and insights on how to become a better blind taster, as well as how to combine the process with your own discovery of the world of wine, but first, it is important to understand why we do what we do and why we do it so well.
- When you work in the wine trade, you are not making decisions about which wines to serve in your restaurant, bar, or store based on blind evaluations; when selecting wines to sell, context is just as essential as flavor and quality.
- Even for personal enjoyment, most of us want to make a connection between what we know about the bottle and what we taste on the palate, which means that blind tasting at home is an uncommon event for anyone who isn’t preparing for examinations!
- Simply simply, it improves your ability to discern flavor.
- Due to the nature of blind tasting, you must pay great attention and become accustomed to analyzing what is in the glass rather than what is in your thoughts.
It has been our personal experience that the better we get at blind tasting, the better our overall tasting becomes. We encourage you to try blind tasting for yourself. Let’s now have a look at some of the best techniques and tricks for incorporating into your own blind tasting experience!
The 15th of February, 2019 is a Saturday. One of the most difficult yet rewarding procedures a wine student can experience is blind tasting. It is a requirement for practically every top level wine qualification in the world, and it is one of the most challenging but rewarding processes a wine student can experience. When it comes to wine, blind tasting is sometimes misunderstood. It does not technically imply tasting a wine without being able to see it, but rather tasting a wine with no knowledge of its provenance, grape varietals, vintage, or anything else save the liquid in your hand.
- The following are some ideas and hints on how to become a better blind taster, as well as how to combine the process with your personal discovery of the world of wine; nevertheless, it is first necessary to consider why we do what we do.
- Working in the wine industry, you are not selecting wines for your restaurant, bar, or store based on blind evaluations; when selecting wines for sale, context is just as essential as flavor and quality.
- Many of us want to connect what we know about a bottle with what we taste on the palate, even for personal enjoyment, which means that blind tasting at home is a rarity for anybody who isn’t preparing for examinations!
- Put another way, it improves your taste buds.
- Due to the nature of blind tasting, you must pay great attention and become accustomed to analyzing what is in your glass rather than what is in your thoughts.
- We encourage you to try blind tasting for yourself!
On the Nose
Your nose is the most crucial instrument you have while tasting; make good use of it! This is the stage at which you really start to gather information about what the wine may potentially be. Things to keep an eye out for and make a note of include: For red wines, the fruit profile is typically divided into two categories: red fruits and black fruits. Does the wine have a vibrant, red-fruited aroma, similar to that of fresh strawberries? Is it juicier and deeper in color, similar to a ripe plum?
- Aromas of flowers, herbs, and minerals – It’s a rare wine that doesn’t smell like fruit.
- Why not try Cabernet Franc with its spicy bell pepper smells or Tempranillo with its sweet sappy nature?
- Then there are the floral scents, which come in a broad variety, ranging from the exotic rose petal fragrances of Gewurztraminer to the crushed white blossoms of Viognier and the faded violets of older Nebbiolo, among others.
- The kerosene fragrance of mature Riesling, the biting, chalky flavor of Chablis, or the dark, smokey intensity of Priorat are just a few examples of what you might expect from this region.
- Winemaking – While the grape varietals, climate, and soil from which a wine is derived contribute to the overall profile of the wine, human involvement in the winery has a significant role in the final product.
- The most often encountered are as follows: In addition to being used for fermentation and ageing, oak may also be utilized for both.
- Red and white oak-aged wines tend to have unique scents of toast, vanilla, baking spices, clove and/or pepper regardless of whether the wine is red or white in color.
When comparing Syrah matured in massive, ancient oak barrels from the Northern Rhone to Syrah aged in young, American oak barrels from the Barossa Valley, there is a significant difference!
Lees ageing – This second approach is referred to as ‘lees’ or ‘lees ageing,’ and it includes leaving the wine in contact with these deposits for anything from 2 months to 3 years.
Lees ageing, which is particularly important for white wines, may generate smells such as toast (which can be easily confused with oak ageing!
Ever had a Chardonnay that was silky and buttery?
The reason for this characteristic is due to a wine-making process known as malolactic fermentation, which happens soon after the alcoholic fermentation and is responsible for imparting it.
Additionally, other compounds are created throughout the process, including diacetyl, which smells and tastes very similar to butter!
Comparatively, malolactic fermentation occurs in virtually all red wines, therefore there is no need to mention it here.
With the exception of really ancient wines, all wines have some form of fruit character to them, and most will have some sort of winemaking effect on them, as well as another key feature, such as herbal, floral, or mineral notes, depending on the variety.
Once you’ve gathered all of the pertinent information, it’s time to move on to the wine’s structure, which we evaluate on the tongue.
On the Palate
The term of ‘wine tasting’ is a little deceptive because, in reality, your nose does the majority of the flavor analysis. When you taste a flavor, it is actually your nose that is performing the most of the work through something known as the ‘olfactory bulb,’ thus when it comes to flavor profiles, pay attention to your nose first! When it comes to alcohol, acidity, tannins, and texture, on the other hand, here is where your palate truly comes into play, as it should. Despite the fact that the nose has already completed the majority of the job, textural components are likely the most significant when it comes to the identification process.
- The alcohol in wine is not only responsible for alcoholic inebriation and emotions of enjoyment, but it also contributes to the flavor and texture of the wine, which is why more alcoholic, strong wines tend to be heavier in the mouth and softer in the mouth.
- Wines with a high alcohol content will frequently have a little sweet character to the fruit profile, which is owing to the creation of glycerol, a flavorless alcohol with a sweet feeling, in the fermentation process.
- Practicing predicting the correct amount of alcohol in the wine may help you improve your skills quickly if you’re doing blind tasting.
- Acidity refreshes a wine, balances alcohol and strong flavor components, and, in my opinion, is what keeps us going back for more.
- It’s known, very aptly, as the ‘dribble test’.
- Sip some water and swirl it around in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.
- Gravity will very certainly ultimately catch hold of whatever fluid you happen to be using and begin to draw it down, but this should be a rather gradual process for the most part.
In fact, you’ll notice that you start salivating much more rapidly this time around, and with very fresh wines, you’ll be in risk of accidently drooling on the ground!
The more acidity, or the lower the pH, the wine has, and the faster and more profusely you salivate, the more acidity, or the lower the PH, the wine has.
In terms of blind tasting, tannins are usually connected with red wines, and you shouldn’t be concerned with the tannic grip in white wines while doing a blind tasting.
They provide a wine body and structure, and in some situations, they are responsible for the mouth-drying sensation associated with red wine, since the tannins physically impede saliva production.
You’ll start to feel them as soon as you swish a glass of red wine about your lips, as a general rule.
Tannin structure provides significant indicators as to the varietal origins of grape varietals, therefore it pays to become proficient at detecting the kind of wine being served.
Texture is a term used to describe the way something feels.
In the case of white wines, lees ageing, malolactic fermentation, and the use of wood all have a significant impact on not just the flavor profile but also the texture.
Malolactic fermentation is a kind of fermentation.
Understanding texture, such as tannins, might be difficult to grasp at first, but it will ultimately lead to a more correct judgment. Beautifully textured wines, whether they are red or white, are a product of tremendous aesthetic value!
Analysis and Conclusions
So, you’ve done your research on the wine. You’ve taken a look at the color and made a note of it. You’ve come to know the wine and taken note of the important nuances, such as the profile of its fruit scents, as well as the fragrances of herbs, flowers, and/or minerals in the wine. You’re confident in the wine’s acidity, alcohol content, tannins, and texture, and you’ve tasted it several times. You’ve made a fair informed estimate as to how the wine was manufactured, and you’re now ready to try your hand at identifying the wine you’ve discovered.
- It’s the most straightforward portion.
- This is the section that needs the greatest amount of expertise, practice, and learning.
- Aspects like as the climate, the soil, the viticulture, the winemaking, the grape types, and other pertinent considerations are all taken into consideration.
- Whilst this takes years to perfect, here are some fundamental pointers to get started: Fruit Profile -A typical error is to smell dark fruit and automatically think of a warm climate.
- Instead, take a look at the fruit’s characteristics.
- Is it green apples, melon fruit, or exotic, tropical fruits that you’re looking for this time?
- Cooler climes tend to produce cooler fruit scents, such as fresh red and black fruit smells in red wines and green and citrus notes in white wines; when the temperature rises, these aromas get riper, and in the case of white wines, they may even become tropical in nature.
Structure – Similar to the fruit character, the structure of a wine tends to reveal a great deal about the region in which it was produced.
Climate and alcohol levels are inversely related, with lower amounts of alcohol being more prevalent in cooler climates and greater levels being more common in significantly warmer climes.
Understanding which aspects are connected to the grape, winemaking or terroir is a matter of experience more than anything else, but once you become used to analyzing the structure of a wine, you’ll be well on your way to being an excellent blind taster.
You make an informed judgment based on the data you’ve gained through tasting and your logical conclusion, and then you throw caution to the wind and hope for the best.
Then it’s time to expose the wine.
If yes, what is the reason behind this?
Blind tasting is not a game in which you try to guess if a wine is good or bad; rather, it is a process of learning about why wine tastes the way it does.
Go through the motions once more.
Locate the error and then repeat the process one more.
We hope you found this information to be helpful in getting started with blind tasting sessions!
For a more detailed overview, The Concise Guide to Blind Tasting by Neel Burtonis an excellent resource and a must-read for any wine student interested in learning more about blind tasting.
Best of luck with your future blind tastings, and as always, cheers to a good time! Please refer to the following websites for additional information on our specifically built wine baggage and more thorough information on how to travel with alcohol:
- When it comes to traveling with wine, Lazenne Wine Check is the sensible way to go
- Flying with alcohol 101
Blind Wine Tasting Tips from Top Sommeliers of the Rudd Roundtable
Identification of traditional grapes and places is not as as difficult as you may imagine with some practice and some helpful advice. It is possible to learn a great deal about wine from sommeliers who are preparing to take the Master Sommelierexam. The traditional wine grapes and locales all have a “tell”–a collection of sensory characteristics that allow wine professionals to identify them even when they are not present. Here are some of the blind tasting cues that this badass bunch of somms provided with me at a recent blind tasting practice at my place, which came after a hard day of testing wine theory, blind tasting, and service at the renowned, invite-only Rudd Roundtable in New York City.
- She had a really clever “tell” for the Sancerre, which the entire group was able to pick up on.
- I was quite happy with that.
- Please continue reading.
- Sancerre Blanc is made entirely of Sauvignon Blanc and is widely regarded as the benchmark of the varietal’s quality.
- In Mia’s Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc, I enjoyed the fact that there were not enough pyrazines to indicate it was from New Zealand, but far too much to indicate it was from just about anywhere else!
- Specifically, Nick Daddona of Meritage Restaurant in the Boston Harbor Hotel (second from right) discovered the “tell”–a sort of wet wool and beeswax quality that is unique to Chenin Blanc produced in the Vouvray region.
- Really, it’s rather evocative.
What kind of flower do you want?
WD-40 will give you a whiff of the aroma, but don’t breathe it in.
This extremely traditional wine was shared by everybody.
What distinguishes a Viognier from, say, a beautiful Monterey County Chardonnay is how to tell the difference.
She managed to accomplish all of this while suffering from a severe case of hayfever.
Hopefully, you are not too fatigued from all of your hard work, since you have homework: visit the farmers market, the antique shop, the hardware store, and a florist–or even contact your Avon lady–to see what you can find.
Regardless of what you do, remember to take it all in as you go and save the scents for your next tasting session.
How to Throw a Blind Wine Tasting Party at Home
The snacks you provide should be dictated by the flights you pour, but finger foods should be the order of the day. Stay away from anything that is very hot, cold, or scalding. The snacks you provide should be dictated by the flights you pour, but finger foods should be the order of the day. Stay away from anything that is very hot, cold, or fragrant. Use the following as a guide: Something with a lot of starch: Bread or crackers are a must-have for this dish. Their blandness helps to keep everyone’s palates clean, and they’re full, which helps to keep intoxication at bay.
- Its creaminess works well as a counterpoint to acidity in wines.
- Big, bold reds can stand up to funky cheeses such as aged cheeses, blue cheeses, and stinky, bloomy-rind cheeses, among other things.
- Pâtés and rillettes pair well with sparkling wines, while cured meats such as salumi and prosciutto pair well with more strong wines like cabernet sauvignon.
- It’s also entertaining to take nibbles of different fruits or vegetables and then take sips of wine to see how the wine’s flavor alters when paired with other foods.
- Crostini, flatbreads, blini, spiced almonds, and popcorn are just a few of the ideas for finger foods.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Wine
The atmosphere at a tasting is much different from that at a traditional party. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you along the way. Do provide a well-lit environment so that folks can see what’s in their glasses and write down notes that are legible. While visitors are tasting, avoid using scented candles or incense, or cooking meals that have a strong aroma. Your goal is to have a scent that is as neutral as possible. Don’t turn up the volume on your music. Background music that is quiet and relaxing is good, but you don’t want to be a distraction to others.
One of the advantages of a house tasting is that guests may relax on sofas or easy chairs while they sample the wines.
Make sure that your guests are not forced to sit in a congested area.
Dokeep the tasting on track. When you’re among pals, it’s easy to become sidetracked. After all, it is a party, so a bit of this is OK. However, it is your responsibility as the host to direct the conversation back to the flight in question.
Your visitors are in control of the wine at these themed events. If providing wine for a tasting in addition to food and space feels like a burden, ask attendees to bring the bottles themselves. Throw a vintage party: Choose a year and ask guests to bring a bottle of wine from that year, regardless of variety or region.Hold a variety party: Choose a specific variety, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Pinot Noir, or Chardonnay, and ask guests to bring a bottle of wine from that variety, regardless of variety or location.