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Snooth User: Philip James

Cheating while tasting

Posted by Philip James, May 7, 2007.

I taste a lot of wine, and over time I've gotten better at it. There's a downside to this - I know what to expect before the bottle is even opened. I consider this cheating, and I sometimes wish I could go back to the days when I lacked the ability to categorize a wine easily or the wine vocabulary to fall back on. [One way to avoid this is to decant the wines into neutral shaped bottles and taste blind].

For example someone puts down a bottle of Bordeaux in front of me. I already know its a blend of up to 8 grapes, although Merlot and Cab's Sauvignon and Franc are the most likely. Knowing this, I'm thinking medium tannins, good structure and some leather from the Cabernet's, jammy fruits from the Merlot etc.

Unsurprisingly, this is what I end up tasting. Of course, if the wine is very tannic, very fruity, or very anything, I'll notice the departure from the norm. But it does result in a lot of wines that just don't inspire me.

Most of these expectations come by tasting hundreds of wines from a region, but some are simple and can be remembered easily. I'll spill the beans tomorrow - if you don't want to read, skip ahead to Wednesday.


Reply by Philip James, May 7, 2007.

I'm not the only one talking about expectations today:

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