In honor of the new year, I’d like to propose a resolution. I propose that we simplify wine tasting. Really? Really!
Today it seems that we’re so caught up in using the right descriptors, or showing how much we know about wine, we fail to concentrate on finding which wines appeal to us.
I’ve always said that the best wine is the wine you love best. The ultimate goal is to zero in on these wines. So when you come across wines that you love, treat the experience like you hit the jackpot! You don’t need to know much more than that you love that wine.
Write down the wines you love in your PDA. Include the year, the winery, the grapes/varieties (e.g., Cabernet, Chardonnay, a blend of Syrah and Merlot), and the appellation/region (e.g., Paso Robles). Also, jot down the answers to these questions. These notes will help you tremendously with future wine purchases.
- Sweet or Dry? If the only wines you like are sweet, you narrow down your likely favorites to a handful of popular varieties, including Muscat/Moscato, Riesling and White Zinfandel. If you prefer dry wines, you have a much broader range of possible favorites.
- Crisp or Smooth? Do the crisp wines make you jump for joy or cry in agony? If the former, drink all the Sauvignon Blancs you can find and figure out which ones you like best. If the latter, steer clear of Sauvignon Blanc and head towards Chardonnay.
- High Tannins or Low Tannins? Tannins are vital for red wine character and quality. But they give you a puckering sensation that can be very unpleasant for some wine drinkers. If you are one such person, you will be better served by drinking lower tannin wines such as Pinot Noirs or older high-tannin wines. Tannins are most pronounced in young wines made from thick-skinned grapes such as Cabernet and Syrah. If you drink an older vintage of these wines, you’re less likely to get hit over the head with the puckering sensation.
These questions are just a starting point for helping you determine what wines you are likely to enjoy. When working with someone on your next wine purchase, sharing these notes will enable that person to find the wines best suited to your tastes.
Cheers to the resolution that we simplify wine tasting!