Posts Tagged ‘Tasting’

 

Today I’d love to share 8 fun tips for drinking wine!

It’s nerdy, but I like learning etiquette tips (do you?) and thought you might like to hear these fascinating wine dos and don’ts before heading out to holiday parties and romantic dinners. Below, I wrote out the tips, and the genius Gemma Correll illustrated them. Here goes…

1. Fill red wine glasses 1/3 full, white wine glasses 1/2 full, and sparkling wine 3/4 full.

 
Read on …

 

As he often does, wine scribe Joe Roberts wrote something relevant the other day. He explained that for those considering how they might make a name for themselves, for their writing and for their wine knowledge through publishing, this person should strongly consider SPECIALIZING.

By this, Joe simply means it’s much easier to get the attention of potential readers if your authority and wine writing revolves around a specific subject within the wine niche, rather than trying to publish information that broadly falls under the larger subject heading of “Wine”. In other words, the writer looking to gain an audience for his wine thoughts and ideas is more likely to achieve a larger audience by writing regularly and authoritatively on “Zinfandel”, than just on “wine”.

I’ve heard this advice before. I’ve been in seminars where this advice is given. I’ve given this advice myself. But what you rarely hear is advice on exactly what niche wine subject is ripe for owning by a smart, new writer dreaming of success as an author or blogger. What you don’t hear is someone pointing out a subject area that has largely been ignored, but that is also ripe for extensive examination and exploration because it’s a fairly large niche. Identifying that kind of subject matter would be a gift to the wine loving writer that wants to make their mark.

This is what I’m going to do right now.
Read on …

This list of wine terms and definitions will give you a head start at your next wine tasting. It is often helpful to carry a small notepad with you to tastings so you can jot down your impressions of wines. Develop your own list of wine terms: using your own words to describe different tastes and aromas will help you to remember and apply them.

Wine Definitions: Nose

  • Acetic Wine smells and or tastes of vinegar.
  • Aggressive Harsh tastes or impressions due to excesses of tannin, acid or alcohol.
  • Aromatic Used to describe perfumed or very distinctive aromas such as from Gewürztraminer.
  • Blackcurrant Aroma associated with Cabernet Sauvignon often referred to as cassis.
  • Body Impression in the mouth of weight and consistency mainly due to alcoholic strength and extract.
  • Bouquet Smells / aromas that develop as a wine matures.
  • Buttery Smell and flavours of butter. Sometimes seen in heavily oaked Chardonnays.
  • Caramel Taste and or smell of caramelised sugar.
  • Cardboard Smell of damp papers or cardboard.
  • Cedar Smell associated with many red wines that have been matured in oak. Similar to the smell of pencil shavings.
  • Corked Wine fault recognised by a distinctive mouldy rotting smell.
  • Crisp A marked level of acidity.
  • Ethyl Acetate Smell of solvents such as some glues or lacquers or pear drop sweets.
  • Eucalyptus A pleasant aroma sometimes found in red wines from Australia.
  • Farmyard Vegetal or animal odours.
  • Flinty Mineral aromas and flavours usually associated with dry white wines.
  • Flowery / Floral Fragrant scents like fresh flowers.
  • Geraniums Smell of geranium leaves, usually associated with excess sorbic acid.
  • Gooseberry Often used to describe the aroma of young /sauvignon Blanc.
  • Grapey Smell of grapes – often found with Muscat.
  • Herbaceous Vegetal, grassy and smell of leaves.
  • Musk Heavy waxy / vegetal aroma of mature Semillon and Sauternes.
  • Nose Bouquet or aroma.
  • Pear Drops Smell similar to nail polish remover or acetate.
  • Perfumed Fragrant

 Read on …

 

The key to winery social media success is to stay consistent and keep up-to-date with your fans by posting comments about your winery.

 

It’s easy to open a page and be committed to it for a while, but then feeling it’s too time consuming, or getting stumped with writers block, you begin to slowly drift away and hope that the page is running itself. We previously posted a blog about a program we offer, where you can effectively spend 20 minutes a week on Facebook promoting your winery to your customers and now we have a plan to help you utilize those 20 minutes by engaging those clients with 5 Great Topics to Post to Your Facebook Page.

Post about Your Winery Production

Club and potential club members will go to your Facebook page as outsiders looking in. They’re fans of your winery and they want to know what’s happening on the inside, they’ll be curious about what you’re up to. Give them visual access to the inside of your winery by posting pictures about:

•Changes or improvements of your vineyard
•Harvest Season
•Winemaking process
•Bottling
Promote an Event
I can’t remember the last time I got an actual paper invitation in the mail. All of my invitations come electronically anymore. If you want to build wine club memberships, generate a guest list or interest to an upcoming event, or discuss a post event, upload it to Facebook. Share photos and posts of:

•A venue you’re going to that may be outside of your winery
•Internal events that are coming up
•Post internal events
•Release of a new vintage
•A special wine tasting
•A successful cooking class
Read on …

The critic.

The critic.

 

Influential critics have long played an important role in our discovery of many of life’s pleasures but are noticeably absent from others. Ardent fans of the movies, theater, literature and other areas of interest often look to familiar and trusted critics for guidance in unearthing new products and adventures as they emerge.

We tend to identify with a critic’s personal preferences and subjective direction on a range of important topics and use these “critiques” as suggestions, rather than point-driven rules, in steering the way to what might be appealing to us.

So why has the wine critic’s role taken on such a different and more rigid path in the appreciation, marketing and consequent production of wine by “awarding” completely objective scores behind a subjective facade?

A critic should be a reliable source of information for those interested, by conveying seasoned personal opinions through a review. But when a point score (without published derivation or computation) is attached, the review assumes the appearance of objectivity but remains couched in the more familiar subjective style.

Certainly there are expert reviewers and writers voicing their experienced personal opinions on what’s new in the market, but have you ever seen a dress with a 96-point rating or a perfume bearing an 85-point score? I doubt it. Yet the opinion makers in these industries do get their fair share of media time and space with detailed descriptions and observations that followers can accept or reject within their own frame of reference.

I guess this all leads to the basic question: “Is the critic’s role one of opinion or judgment?” And it’s often this question, phrased in different ways, that becomes the subject of many discussions I’ve had with others in and out of the wine industry.

 

Read on …

Robert Parker.

Robert Parker.

US wine critic Robert Parker has slammed the idea that wines have been made specifically to suit his palate, defending his tastes as “complicated and varied.”

According to AFP, during a rare interview with French magazine Terre de Vins published this week, Parker refused to accept the idea of the “Parkerisation” of wines and the emergence of a richer, riper style made to please the critic’s palate.

“My taste is more complicated and varied to be defined in such a black and white way.

“I love a number of styles of wine: the finesse and elegance of Pape-Clément to the rich unctuousness of Pétrus and Trotanoy,” Parker told the magazine.

While rejecting the concept of “Parkerisation,” Parker believes people will still be referencing the term in 30 year’s time: “There’s nothing I can do about it,” he said.

The Maryland-based critic did however concede that his wife acknowledges the existence of the Parker style.
Read on …

 

 

I’m mad as heck and I’m not going to take it anymore!

I’ve had it up to here [you can’t see me, but I’m holding my hand up to my forehead] with writers who complain that “wine consumers have little use and perhaps even less tolerance for wine tasting notes.”

That is simply a falsehood. The truth is, wine consumers have little use for (and they may even hate) people who say that wine consumers have little use for wine tasting notes.

Now, the anti-tasting note crowd may retort with the claim that wine consumers have little use for people who disagree with people who say that wine consumers have little use for wine tasting notes. But I disagree. You see, I happen to believe that people who say that wine consumers have little use for wine tasting notes hate people who say that people who say that wine consumers have little use for wine tasting notes are idiots. And nobody likes a hater.

 

Read on …

Oenophiles participating in a tasting workshop.

Oenophiles participating in a tasting workshop.

 

AŸ, FRANCE — Want to start a fight at a wine tasting? Just mention “oak.”
Few issues get wine lovers as worked up as the question of whether to ferment or age wine in wooden barrels, usually made of oak. Doing so can help mellow the wine and add structure, richness and complexity. Done with a heavy hand, it can also smother the wine with the vanilla-like flavor of oak, obscuring its fruit, freshness and origins.

The use of oak increased in the 1980s and ’90s as winemakers around the world responded to consumer demand and critical acclaim for ripe, powerful reds and plump, buttery whites. Then came the backlash. Now things have swung so far that some self-consciously trendy wine drinkers recoil in mock horror at any hint of wood, extolling the virtues of wines made in vats of stainless steel or other neutral materials.

Dining at a fashionable organic restaurant in London not long ago, I overheard a woman at the neighboring table tell her partner, “Mmm, this is a good chardonnay; it must have been unoaked” – as if that grape variety grew on trees, making oak removal one of the necessary stages in the production of a good chardonnay.

But when it comes to oak, at least one wine region, Champagne, is — forgive me — going against the grain. And you will find no stronger champion of oak than Claude Giraud, who runs Champagne Henri Giraud, a medium-size, family-owned producer in the grand cru village of Aÿ.

 

Read on …

The future of smelling your wine...

The future of smelling your wine…

 

Wine experts point out that while the device could pick out smells, it can’t determine if the wine is actually good or not.
For winemakers (and wine drinkers), a keen sense of smell is essential. Without smell, one can taste little. Now researchers have devised what they call an “electronic nose” that they say detects fruit odors more effectively than the human sense of smell and could someday be used in the winemaking industry.
 
Spanish and Swedish engineers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and Sweden’s University of Gävle have created an electronic nose with 32 sensors that can distinguish pears from apples, which contain similar chemical compounds called esters. The researchers said the technology could eventually be used to distinguish the quality or type of grape or recognize a wine’s vintage.
 
Their setup bears no resemblance to an actual nose, rather it is a desktop apparatus connected to a computer.
 
“The fruit samples are placed in a pre-chamber into which an air flow is injected which reaches the tower with the sensors, which are metal oxide semiconductors that detect odorous compounds such as methane or butane,” José Pelegrí Sebastiá, co-author of the paper, said in a statement.
Read on …

The human palate is arguably the weakest of the five traditional senses. This begs an important question regarding wine tasting: is it bullshit, or is it complete and utter bullshit?

There are no two ways about it: the bullshit is strong with wine. Wine tasting. Wine rating. Wine reviews. Wine descriptions. They’re all related. And they’re all egregious offenders, from a bullshit standpoint.

Exhibit A: Wine experts contradict themselves. Constantly.

Statistician and wine-lover Robert Hodgson recently analyzed a series of wine competitions in California, after “wondering how wines, such as his own, [could] win a gold medal at one competition, and ‘end up in the pooper’ at others.” In one study, Hodgson presented blindfolded wine experts with the same wine three times in succession. Incredibly, the judges’ ratings typically varied by ±4 points on a standard ratings scale running from 80 to 100. Via the Wall Street Journal:

A wine rated 91 on one tasting would often be rated an 87 or 95 on the next. Some of the judges did much worse, and only about one in 10 regularly rated the same wine within a range of ±2 points.

Mr. Hodgson also found that the judges whose ratings were most consistent in any given year landed in the middle of the pack in other years, suggesting that their consistent performance that year had simply been due to chance.
It bears repeating that the judges Hodgson surveyed were no ordinary taste-testers. These were judges at California State Fair wine competition – the oldest and most prestigious in North America. If you think you can consistently rate the “quality” of wine, it means two things:

1: No. You can’t.

2. Wine-tasting is bullshit.

Exhibit B: Expert wine critics can’t distinguish between red and white wines

This one’s one of my favorites. In 2001, researcher Frédéric Brochet invited 54 wine experts to give their opinions on what were ostensibly two glasses of different wine: one red, and one white. In actuality, the two wines were identical, with one exception: the “red” wine had been dyed with food coloring.

The experts described the “red” wine in language typically reserved for characterizing reds. They called it “jammy,” for example, and noted the flavors imparted by its “crushed red fruit.” Not one of the 54 experts surveyed noticed that it was, in fact a white wine.

Read on …