Monday Musings On Wine Education: Tasting Methods

Umani Ronchi Tasting

Thinking about wine education again today as I prepare for a lunch with an oenologist. As a firm believer in education, I like to garner as many certificates, masterclasses and experiences as I can. Often when tasting a region I like to try different varieties and see what it has to offer. When tasting one producer’s wines, I like to try their wines and different vintages. But what about blind tastings? How are they organized and what is the best way to do them? I don’t have the answer just some anecdotal evidence from my limited experience. Wine critics from the big magazines have their own strategy and are surely a better font of wisdom, but here are my two cents: try to do blind tastings as often as possible but don’t only do blind tastings otherwise I think one gets discouraged and it can become a guessing game. What I love about blind tastings, in addition to being right once in a while, is that you must focus on what is in the glass when you decide what wine you have in front of you rather than bringing all of one’s preconceived notions and acquired knowledge to a glass, you just have your nose and palate and sensory memory. For a brief time I was in a very difficult educational program which shall remain nameless and the blind tastings that we did were fundamental. I had many an instructor remind me to go back to what I found in the glass. They are incredibly challenging for me but you know what they say, practice makes perfect or some version of passable. Try to incorporate them in your wine educational experience. Whatever your level they can be an education indeed.

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