The order in which you taste them, the temperature (of both the wines and the room) and your own physical and mental state can all affect the way you rate a wine
Very interesting. The joy of being a proper taster is the depth and nuance of what you drink, the joy of not being a proper taster is opening a bottle of your favourite and throwing it down your neck!
This is a great summary... It is what makes the job so hard and sometimes seemingly so inconsistent. I still say a professional has some useful information to input. We just all have to understand that it is an art, not a science.
I passed WSET Diploma D3 tasting, of four flights of three wines each, with a good Merit score even getting a Distinction on one of the flights. Am I a really good taster? No, not really, OK at best on a good day. The exam was held in a distinctly cool air conditioned room and I had enough adrenaline coursing through me to raise the dead both of which definitely muted my palate. What got me through was plenty of tasting practice but also twice as much writing practice so I could rigidly conform to WSET’s very structured approach to tasting and exam writing, I guess I gamed the system a bit. I’m not totally useless; I could taste enough to tie down grape varieties, countries & regions and some wine making techniques etc. but, yes, conditions undoubtedly change organoleptic perceptions of wines. My point is (if you wondered if I’d ever make one) there were about sixty other people in the exam with me, and about two hundred globally, some I know are better tasters than me and some I guess are better than me. Those who got a lower grade than me or even failed the exam altogether, were they worse tasters than me, worse at exam technique or were they impacted more by the conditions? No idea but your piece really made me think.
My goodness Fiona!! My mind is boggling at the sheer thought of tasting 120 wines in one go......I have been to a number of tastings over the years, (both for enjoyment and also for choosing wines to accompany a food class I am teaching), but not really to recommend to others - even that is a pressure I imagine? I think I usually max out at around 6....after that, it's hard for me to be discerning, (of course, I'm not spitting out either). Your article has made me consider wine tasting and recommendations in a different way......thanks for sharing your views and experience..... Lucy
Absolutely. The flipside I sometimes think about is that there's always some sort of service condition, even for people enjoying the wine at home....bad mood, tiny glass, too hot, dinner cooking. Really good wines should be at least a little robust, not total divas!
Fantastic approach! I've always thought about how relative such an assessment of a wine or a sequence of wines can be. You have listed exactly all the factors that can make such an assessment meaningless. It is necessary that other voices join yours so that this procedure is progressively discontinued, which, deep down, interests the wine industry more than the consumer, who ends up being influenced and led to paths that he does not know. Congratulations!
Interesting some producers say open day before. I recall corresponding with Mr Gluck on the subject. I found a few of his ultra cheap super plonks definitely gave best accounts when opened the day before. He seemed to adopt that view himself last I heard of him. Useful check list altogether.