I had never done this. Before me were 6 glasses of white wine, all different. But all the same grape variety – chardonnay. This wine tasting lesson was another great moment. I would never do this at home. Who would ever buy 6 different bottles and open them all at once? (Don’t answer that!) Anyway, the point was to show us all that the same grape can taste so so different when the soil, climate, aspect of the vineyard (“Terroir” the French call it) varies. Plus the fermenting and ageing techniques can be different too.
The second thing we all did was to taste different wines with apple, cheese, sausage and chocolate. Wow! It IS true that some things just don’t go – and taste horrible together. So the rules (which you are free to break whenever you like by the way) do have some basis in fact.
Thirdly, and the best thing perhaps, was the wise teacher said, “Tasting wine is about learning to taste. It is not about your own preferences but learning to be objective. If you would take a wine home and have it with your dinner then fine, but that’s not the purpose.” He’s right. Say you wanted to study music. You’d need to know about classical, rock, pop, country, garage, hip-hop, punk etc. What you listen to at home isn’t relevant to the exercise.
Indeed. So this whole subject should be an endless source of extending your knowledge, appreciating new things, meeting characters and eccentrics along the way, and discovering that making wine is complicated. The growing of grapes is farming – back breaking work. The fermentation process is risky and stressful, but the pleasure from the end result justifies everything.
If you would be interested in participating in a live online tasting, let us know at VineLives. Could be fun.