Friday, June 02, 2006

Describing Wine – Without the Mystery

Wine lovers, or winos like me, often want to have an indication of what the quality of the wine will be before purchasing the wine itself. I buy books, check the Internet for other’s indications and go to the producer’s site to get their opinion of this year’s production. That is when the act of faith begins. Descriptions like “characteristic flavor”, “variations from medium and fresh to full and unctuous are obtainable”, “firm backbone”, “intense grapey aromas”, and “fat, dark and powerful” can be difficult to understand if not misleading.

I fully respect the Sommelier. Their education goes way beyond “Is this a good wine or not?” and “Which foods go with this wine?” They are professionals and their opinion should be highly regarded. Their job is to help the wine industry understand which products will be most widely accepted over time. They look at things like:

From the grape to the wine: physical characteristics
- Color
- Aroma
- Taste
Tecniche di vinificazione
- Red
- White
- Rose'
- Bubbly
Aging
- Changes in Color
- Changes in Aroma
- Changes in Taste

These are very important things if you are setting up your cellar or perhaps you work in the food industry and need to continuously source new product. This is not me, I want something I can drink now and maybe in a few years. I am not selecting my cellar as an investment instead I intend to drink everything I have so I want a description that gives me a good idea about the wine now in a way that is easy for me to understand. This is how I describe the wines on my site.

Recently Italian Wine Guy sent me a link to Micahel Bauer's Between Meals. Michael describes, very well, the context that I use when describing wines. It is easy to understand and generally a very down to earth way of looking at wines. Please let me know your thoughts on this topic.

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