So this last week I found myself attending a seminar about blind wine tasting. Having been doing this professionally for over 15 years, you'd think that I would have had my share of doing just that. But when I was thinking about whether I should attend or not I realized that most, if not all, of my tastings and reviews are conducted with me knowing what the wine is that I'm drinking. In most cases, I also had read reviews from others that did use this blind tasting method to evaluate wines. I think the closest I ever came was my last blog post about the Whispering Angel Rosé. Other than knowing its popularity, I hadn't read anything on it prior to writing the review.
Now you might think that after 15 years in retail and my new position as the wine steward at the restaurant (more on that to come in an upcoming blog), I'd have used this method. That's even what I thought when I saw the announcement for the seminar. When I sat back and thought about it for a while, I came to the conclusion that indeed I did not taste most, if any, wines blind. So calling to secure my attendance at the seminar, I sat and looked forward to attending and learning one more piece of the wine trade.
Boy and did I!
As our wine educator took us from step to step to properly ascertain all the various attributes of each wine, I started to understand why I hadn't used this method in all those years in the biz. It was easier to let someone else do it and then piggyback off their research. How Ghastly! Plagiarism! No, just using what others have done, and in most cases, get paid to do so people like me can use that information to assist in wine selections.
Let me be clear. I do taste the wines that I review, or comment on if you prefer that terminology. And the work of others can, and do, influence what wines I might choose to review. Looking at the years in the business, I can't remember a time when I didn't know what I was tasting. So, once again, the knowledge and reviews by others, is a way to help me confirm what I think I'm tasting. It's not that I don't trust my own palate, it's that it can be a confirmation on what I taste. Sounds to me more like a win - win situation.
Do I ever disagree with the "pros?" Of course. Even reviewers don't always agree. Can't tell you how many times I've seen reviews with extreme differences of opinion. That's mostly our own palate and preferences coming out, and why one person may love a wine while another thinks much less of it. It's also why I love this business.
While my jobs have been bringing people together with wine, a bigger issue with me has always been to bring "different" wine to those who imbibe. There is such a diverse world of wine out there, and someone has to drink as much as they can in order to bring it to the rest. ME!
So while all the professional reviewers are out there sipping away and deciding and decoding all the nuances of a particular wine, I'll be at my computer reading that information and, more accurately, drinking some of it, and not being "Blinded by Wine."