Becoming a really good wine taster

By John ~ April 4th, 2008.

Right now, you may be one of those persons who is somewhat uncomfortable when opening a wine menu at a restaurant (especially in front of others whom you wish to impress), accepting an invitation to attend a wine tasting dinner (because you don’t believe that you are a sophisticated enough taster), or even walking the aisles in a wine shop.

20080404_tasting.jpgReading this blog on a regular basis should be much like studying a good road map. It is necessary to get you where you are going if you are not familiar with the territory; it will help you avoid some pitfalls and give you some shortcuts, but you will not get there just reading the map. You have to get in the car and go. It is the same with wine. You cannot just read about it and think about it and visualize it. You have to experience it.

The only way to become a really good wine taster is to taste, taste, and taste some more. I read that the novelist Kurt Vonnegut once asked the painter Jasper Johns how you could tell a good painting. Johns said, “First, look at a million pictures.” And so we believe it is with wine. As the late Emile Peynaud, France’s legendary wine authority, said:

“Practically anyone can learn to taste well if he or she is prepared to make the effort: a few years of regular practice are all that is required.”

That’s encouraging, isn’t it?

Wine comes in many flavors, among many brands, representing many different varietals. They can taste dramatically different. We’ll give you some shortcuts to finding good wines and some pitfalls to avoid in this blog…we’ve already given you some. But to discover what you like best, you need to taste a wide variety of wines yourself. You’ll learn something new every time you taste, and we bet the vast majority of your tastings will give you great pleasure.

Also, remember that no one knows all there is to know about wine; a taster’s learning curve lasts a lifetime. There are always new wines to learn about and experience. We hope that you enjoy the journey as much as we do.

“Anyone who tries to make you believe that he knows all about wines is obviously a fake.” –Leon Adams

Some tips for improving your tasting skills:
1. Taste at least one new wine a month.
2. Join a regular wine tasting group.
3. Attend wine tasting events at wine shops, wine bars, restaurants, etc.
4. Host a wine tasting dinner.
5. Visit wine country.
6. And most importantly, have fun!

Filed under: General Wine Information

Reader's Comments

  1. Dale Cruse | April 19th, 2008 at 6:49 am

    A woman once said to me, “I may not be a wine expert, but I know what I like.” That’s exactly what makes you an expert!