Stupefying Descriptions for Wine?
While reading a book I stumbled across the author’s words ‘incoherent “stupefying descriptions”’. How accurately it describes those “classic” descriptions about a particular wine. The description leads me off the wrong trail tempting me to try and recognized the array of flavors. I feel taunted by the knowledge that I probably won’t even get close to identifying the essential flavors. So I’ve used these descriptions to refuse certain tastes. I, unlike many others, do not like licorice so any description that touts the greatness of this flavor is off my list. I don’t know about you, but I have developed my own sense of taste believing it is well rounded and adventuresome enough to tackle any new experience. So maybe incorrectly, I judge wines by what I like to taste.
The Wine Flavor Wheel
I looked at the flavor wheel. I even bought one thinking it would make me a more astute connoisseur of wine. Let’s face it, a sommelier I will never be! But the wheel did help me identify the flavors I do like in other foods. So I began to use these flavors to select particular wines to try. I don’t know what you do, but I find that too much tasting gives me palate “fatigue”. After a while I am just drinking the tastes, not tasting the wine.
So when I wine taste I decide ahead to either visit two or three wineries or choose the same varietal at each winery or try only one winery selection then purchase a bottle to enjoy outside for a picnic. The standard rule is to stop when I’ve had enough, which usually is when every wine tastes the same. Deciding beforehand makes the whole afternoon more fun. I get to enjoy fellow tasters, learning about them or learning something new about the wine. I can even enjoy a new event at special wineries. I think it is the social engagement that makes the day fun.
Do you taste all the available wines?
Certainly I could never try every wine there is. I find wine changes yearly.
The growing seasons change, the winemaker alters his wine-making process, or the harvest time varies. So one year a wine I didn’t like too much becomes exceptional the next. The
adventure is never boring.
The Essence of our Movement is the Essence of Wine
At times I find new people trying wine for the first time. They are overwhelmed by the experience. It is like speaking a foreign language except you never took the class. It’s then that I realize each person needs a sense of independence to decide exactly what they do and do not like. Wine tastes are unique to the individual regardless of what
the “experts” say about a wine.
Recently at a business seminar, the sommelier stated that everyone knows the value of a wine by the Parker point system. Yet ask any family member or close friend of mine, no one will understand this value. It is a meaningless number. The recent trend to produce bold wines means to me the wine will contain fifteen percent alcohol or higher. The reason is the belief that Parker will like these types of wines. I don’t have a Parker palate. Yes, he has his own criteria to systematically judge a wine according to his taste preferences. I realized that I too have my own self-made criteria. Variety is fun. Imagine if every bottle of wine was carefully crafted to taste just like Parker likes it—how boring for all who enjoy wine. So be your own judge.
Above all else, Be Your Own Judge!
Wines like people have their own characteristics. Maybe the match between the wine and the tasting individual needs a personal adjustment. Develop your own tasting criteria for judging your wine even though the corporate world might laugh at your choices. So what? Get away from the price criteria. Wine, like people, is better judged without preconceived
notions, like a blind tasting. Remember you each like certain tastes. Ignore all ridicule, be your own judge!.
The Beginning of Our Wine Adventure
Our wine adventure began in a local wine shop in Madison, Wisconsin, not the corporate world of grocery wines. As a result, wine tasting has brought many interesting people into our lives. Taste at home if you want—pick the most perfect evening or special occasion and open a new wine as an experiment. The tastes you like or don’t like will
come easily without the audience and industry influences. Learn a little about the history of a particular wine, where it came from, maybe who is making it and which types you particularly enjoy. You can develop your own sensory journey which probably will never end because of the breath of the wine industry in the world.
Be adventurous, start your own neighborhood wine tasting event. Don’t become subjected to meaningless offerings. Break from the experts, become your own sommelier.