Something to Contemplate During Group Tastings regarding Tasting Notes

Thought folks here would enjoy reading this - and perhaps this explains a bit better why we all get ‘something different’ when tasting wines and why one person’s notes really should not imply someone else is going to get those same notes.


Thanks for sharing!
It’s a very interesting article that serves as a reinforcement for quiet a few ideas about wine tasting that were lingering in my mind for some time. Personally, when I read a tasting note, I really don’t pay much attention to the specific aromas or flavors descriptors as I do to the general impression of the taster about that wine in particular.

BTW, Am I misreading this or she compared Meiomi Pinot Noir with Caymus Special Select Cabernet? Not a fan of Caymus, but I think that we are talking about 2 different leagues. newhere

I believe she was trying to make that point that one of the reasons Meiomi an Caymus Special Select are very popular with many consumers is because they contain a bit of RS. Though I’m not sure where her conclusion of them being “serious” wines comes from.

Obviously, she doesn’t read posts from the experts on WB. [wink.gif]

The mysterious wonder of wine journalism [scratch.gif]

Nice! That’s a walk off homer!

I think the writer must have meant “serious priced” wines!

‘Serious’ is a relative term . . .

Not if you don’t take your relatives seriously [snort.gif]

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I thought there was a little bait and switch to the article. It started with the idea that different people have different sensitivity to the compounds in wine that make up how wines taste, therefore when tasting the same wines people can have very differing experiences. (I’m all in.) But then it morphed into how the wine industry are a bunch of jerks for not excepting that people liking sweeter wines, which is just false. If this were true how could one explain that even the finest of wine shops have selves full of Barefoot, Yellowtail, New Zealand Sauv Blanc and yes Meiomi.

To that the author may point to snobbier Somms and Aficionados who are the ones looking down their collective noses at others for liking sweeter wines. To this, I first would like to admit snobby wine culture has many sins to atone for but this may be the least of their crimes. Just because I don’t want a glass of Meiomi doesn’t mean I am judging you or don’t like sweet wines, it means, I am more interested in wines that are good representatives of what they are i.e. variety, place, tradition so Vouvray, Lambrusco, Riesling a little sweet all good. What I have an issue with are wines represented and marketed as one thing dry, that are in fact something very different, since when does asking for honesty equal oppression. Lastly just to point out the obvious hypocrisy a little here, why is it ok for some to like wine with sweetness but somehow if you don’t you are a bad person?

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“I have seen so many couples struggle in their marriage over wine preferences,” Lovelace observes. “It’s more common for a couple to have different tastes than the same.”

Choose your battles wisely. If I’m going to pick a fight, it’s not going to be over f’ing Merlot.

I think the author is claiming that these are marketed as “serious, dry wines”

Your point is a valid one, but just because shops carry certain wines does not mean that the stigmas talked about don’t exist. Yes, there are plenty of ‘snobby’ somms and aficionados, but there are plenty of ‘regular’ wine drinkers who believe certain wines are not only ‘below them’ but are ‘abominable’ - and make that point known to others.

Look - I don’t ‘like’ country music, but I will never call it ‘bad’ because 1) it is simply not my preference and 2) why should I make someone feel ‘inferior’ for liking something?

I know that many on this board feel that what I day may be going overboard but I deal with all kinds of consumers every day and I see these situations arise often.


I do think consumers are behind the sweet-wine-isn’t-good snobbiness more than people in the business, but that it has historically come from people in the business and still does exist there to an extent. Even in the article, someone in the business uses the term “gateway wines”, which I think is offensive to some people. What if someone never moves past wines with residual sugar and “graduates” to dry wines? The term has long been used to imply that’s the logical progression as someone gains a greater understanding of wine. That belittles people who can’t appreciate dry wines because of their taste sensitivities. Thus we end up with off-dry wines being called dry and the vast majority of wine consumers not even knowing what the word means, among other confusion and issues. The wine trade as a whole could still be more welcoming and understanding, even though it’s come a LONG way from past generations.

…and despite all that evidence, most tasting notes on Cellartracker, almost all tasting notes on Instagramm and Vivino and some tasting notes in this forum still read like a recipe for a fruit salad. I would wish more tasters would include more about the characteristics, the structure, how the wine does compare to other vintages, wines what was missing for perfection, etc. in their notes. Those are the helpful information.

True, but aren’t those “gateway notes”? neener

We need to be careful. Someone joyfully expressing their pleasure in a wine is just that. They’re likely writing notes for themselves only or for themselves first. It may be an early step in their progression with wine, or it may be where they’re happy staying. Learning to describe a wine in a meaningful way that will be helpful to others takes a lot of experience and skill…and wanting to do so requires intent.

One of my older friends is a lifelong wine drinker. She can tell if a wine is flawed, good, very good, really good. She’s unable and uninterested in describing a wine beyond that and descriptors make no sense to her. But, she’s spot on with the quality level and appreciates great wine. That may sound bizarre to us wine geeks, but there are a lot of people like that. Some will find a specific wine from a specific producer they like more than other wines they’ve tried and…just buy that one wine for the rest of their lives. No need or desire to look further, since their experience is everything (at least reasonably priced and readily available) they’ve had wasn’t as good.

Part of it is that I think many people believe they aren’t supposed to like and to say they like sweet tasting wine, but do in fact like it, so “marketed as dry but tastes sweet” is a great combo for those producers.

Music is that way. Most people like pop music (hence, it’s called “pop” for popular), but many don’t like to think of themselves as pop music fans, and would rather identify as fans of alt rock, country, hip hop or something like that. So one big seller is performers who have an image and audience as being one of those things, but the music is pop.

I remember when the Goo Goo Dolls were a big hit. Had the name and the look of being an alt rock band, but were crooning these down-the-middle pop songs. Perfect formula: “I’m into alternative and indie rock, I’ve been to see The Goo Goo Dolls and Sugar Ray this summer.”

Watch the various country music award shows – a lot of pop music, performed with a twang, a cowboy hat and a belt buckle. 80s hair rock bands were like that; you could still be a dude with a Camaro and a mullet, but listen to the sweet pop tunes those bands churned out.