Last Monday night I headed down to the Strand in London to do a blind tasting at Wine Australia’s monthly competition run down there. Blind tasting is the final frontier for me. In terms of knowledge about wine, there’s always more you can learn, but anyone can read a few books and retain a bit of knowledge. I’m all about improving my tasting skills these days. This was a great challenge.
Whenever I do wine tastings myself with people, they always get really shy about what they smell and taste. My view is always that you smell and taste what you smell and taste. I’m not going to tell you what it is. It’s a personal thing, and I still believe that. But blind tastings like this are a bit different.
It’s not just about sitting there and enjoying the wine. Well, it is, but you know what I mean. You’re also trying to find out the tastes, smells, and structure that are going to tell you what the wines are. So it’s as much about memory as it is about whether your taste buds work. Ok so this wine’s very acidic and I can get lots of lime flavour? What does that mean? It’s all that kind of stuff.
So there I was in a room with 18 bottles of wine all blacked out and ready to have a go at. I decided I’d just whizz my way through all 18, make my notes, and then look at the quiz questions, rather than the other way around. Look I’m not confident yet, but I know I’m still learning, and that’s what I use these days for.
What grape variety is wine number 16? Er….
Which two of the wines 6-13 are blends? Er…
You just check out your notes, see what makes sense, and then have a go. Fingers crossed it comes out well in the wash!