There is an interesting post on The Drinks Business website about how to become a better wine taster in just four hours and 10 steps. The post relates to research done by Alex Russell, an Australian PhD candidate, who looked into how people smell and taste wine.
Whether or not one can really become an wine tasting expert in four hours is clearly up for debate. Some readers had very strong reactions to the idea of becoming an “expert” so quickly. Regardless of where one stands on that question Russell has come up with some very good suggestions on how to hone your tasting skills. Take a look at his findings … you have nothing to loose.
What really interested us about the article was the comment by Liam Young that suggested that being a skilled taster is more important when drinking wines by artisanal producers (think Long Island wineries) than when drinking mass-produced wines (whose names we will be kind enough not to mention). We think that Mr. Young is on to something here.
We feel comfortable saying that, without exception, Long Island wines are not manipulated. No one is putting oak chips into their barrels. The tastes that you get when you open the bottle are from the quality of the fruit and the careful vinification from caring winemakers. The better you are able to identify the fragrances and tastes in the wines the more you will be able to appreciate the work, both in the field and in the barrel room, that goes into making all of the fine wines from the East End.
So take a few hours this summer and practice your tasting skills. This doesn’t have to be a solitary pursuit. Invite some friends over; have a tasting party. You will have some fun and you’ll find that your tasting skills get a little better. And drink more Long Island wine.