Monday Musings: How Many Wines Can You Taste At Once

Today’s Monday Musings is about wine tasting and how many wines one can taste and still retain the ability to differentiate between them. According to a new course I am following about the science of wine tasting, we can only process a certain number of wines and still understand and really taste them before our nose and palate get overwhelmed.

I remember a friend at the big Anteprime tastings telling me that her cut-off number is 50. I don’t remember how she arrived at that number or what the rationale was but it stuck with me. I remember she got up from our Brunello di Montalcino tasting and left. I stayed and worked my way through around 150 wines. I did the same throughout the week and some days were tougher than others but I felt I had a good grasp on the specific wines and what I was tasting. After this class, I have begun to doubt whether it’s actually possible.

I don’t have an answer to what the specific number is for me or others, I’m just raising the point. Tomorrow I am hosting a tasting with seven big red wines. I want to spend time with each one of them, talking about the wines, the terroir and the producer. We have enough time to do all that. At large tastings one does not have enough time to stay with each wine or to speak with each producer. During the pandemic this is a mute point obviously we aren’t going to these types of events. I’m feeling optimistic though that we will soon. Interested in other’s thoughts on this topic.

One comment

  1. I heard a counter argument to this that when your palate is exhausted truly outstanding wines are supposed to stand out. I honestly don’t know if I believe that or not. I’ve never tried testing one theory or the out on myself.

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