taking wine tasting too seriously?

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.

taking wine tasting too seriously?

Postby Joshua London » Wed May 09, 2012 6:22 pm

Hi all,

Here's something I thought might be interesting to post for the forum. I got to thinking about wine tasting notes, and about the philosophic side of tasting -- that is to say, evaluating -- wines. In catching up on reading one of my favorite wine blogs, I came across an interesting post that touches on this well and that I thought might be a good to start some discussion here. Here is the blog post (from Andrew Jefford's Decanter blog - a personal favorite): http://www.decanter.com/news/blogs/expert/529850/jefford-on-monday-taste-wine-just-like-person.

In it he talks about wine appreciation in China, and how the cultural divide can be rather dramatic, and yet it does not dampen enthusiasm because of an entirely different cultural attitude to tasting. To grab from Jeffords:

...Chinese wine drinkers are not in any way fazed by the shopping list approach to tasting notes, even if they aren’t on intimate terms with a hedgerow, a boysenberry or ‘liquid minerals’. They just move on. It doesn’t matter. 品酒如品人 is the greater challenge: the appreciation, in Tai-Ran’s words, of wine “for its personality, moods and expressiveness”.

I like the notion that there might be a playfulness to tasting itself; it has often struck me that the process is taken too seriously and ponderously by those hungry to log their opinion and their score as the definitive one, to pronounce judgment on or find a fault in a wine before anyone else does, or to avoid the opprobrium of liking something which might be unfashionable among their peer group.

Coining descriptions for wines is not like discovering new chemical elements or producing an accurate survey of the Flow Country of Caithness. It’s more like describing the weather or the cherry blossom: what you are describing is changing ceaselessly, and your description, moreover, is entirely conditional on your perspective. Playfulness might indeed be an asset. (Indeed it is one of the things which makes Michael Broadbent’s notes such a pleasure to read.)

Rogov's TNs are obviously a familiar baseline to folks here, so with all due respect to his memory and life's work, and with the premise that serious engagement is sufficient genuflection to permit real critique (consistent with his own expressed views, btw). So, whether referencing Rogov's (or anyones) TNs by name, what do folks think?

What sorts of ideas or descriptors do you dislike or find unhelpful in a tasting note? More to the point, what do you try to express or would like to see expressed in a tasting note?

Food for thought, at least -- I hope.

All best,
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Joshua London
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Re: taking wine tasting too seriously?

Postby Andrew B » Wed May 09, 2012 6:49 pm

Interesting post. Reminds me of this thread about "grocery list" and other TN styles: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=42514&hilit=grocery+list#p347728
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Re: taking wine tasting too seriously?

Postby YoelA » Wed May 09, 2012 8:06 pm

I awreddy done expressed my ree-marks on dis subject in da tread just mentioned by Andrew.
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