Monday, 26 January 2015

All a matter of taste

Many people are put off by the language associated with wine tasting which is hardly surprising when you hear the sometimes bizarre descriptions of aromas and tastes.  Of course, each person has a unique palate and some (me included) have an increased sensitivity to bitterness.  This means identifying flavours can vary quite a bit from person to person.

A distant bonfire!

However, that said, I was recently tasting (well, drinking actually) a Barbera D’Asti 2009 and looked up the tasting notes online.  One contributor mentioned "notes of a distant bonfire" which, unsurprisingly, wasn’t on my list at all.

Whilst I realise that they were probably referring to the smoky nature of the wine, due to oak ageing, such vocabulary can seem confusing to beginners.

As a start point you might like to look at these resources online from the fantastic WSET.

They have devised something called the systematic approach to wine tasting.  It might sound a bit like hard work at first, however, it does give you the basics in identifying aromas and flavour characteristics as well as checking the appearance, body and other useful things.

Give it a try and if you don’t know what apricots, elderflower and wet hay smells like – find a greengrocer or local farm and have a good sniff around.   Here’s another useful site:

Wine Diary
Oh and before I go, I’ve been on an Aldi tasting spree and here are a couple worth investigating:

Philippe Michel Cremant du Jura 2011
From the East of Burgundy and made using the ‘traditional method’ (like champagne… look it up!)  A lovely sparkling wine, which has had some fantastic reviews.  Apple and almost peachy fruit flavours with a soft fine mousse.  Great as an aperitif and made just from Chardonnay.  A bargain at around £7!

The Exquisite Collection New Zealand Pinot Noir 2011
If you haven’t tried much in the way of NZ Pinot’s then this is a good one to see if you like the style.  Very typical red fruit flavours (raspberry, cherry), light in body, juicy and refreshing.  Excellent value for money at £6.99.  A good match with pork or duck.

See you next time...

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