A Lesson in Blind Tasting

Wine Tasting with Master Sommelier Guy Stout

The information being provided here is to help those wanting to become better wine tasters. The goal is to follow a logical process in identifying basic elements in wine, such as; acid, fruits, sugar, alcohol, tannins and earth components. By learning how to interpret these elements, one can become a better taster.

The process used in deductive tasting on this site is similar to the method used by the Master Sommelier in preparation for Master Sommelier certification. The tasting “Grid” as it is called, is available on the Court of Master Sommelier website, and is the sole property of the Court of Master Sommelier. http://www.mastersommeliers.org/

It is a form of this process I will use to help you learn how to become a better taster. This post is my attempt to help those who are practicing for their next level of exams in the MS program, WSET and Certified Wine Educator (CWE) exams, requiring blind tasting. I have several groups around the country who I taste with on a regular basis, as my travel schedule allows. It is perplexing, not to be able to help as often as I would like, especially in the weeks prior to an upcoming exam. So, this site will hopefully be of use to them. For those people wanting to just taste wine for the fun of it – Have Fun.

This may help you understand why you like certain wines and dislike others.

Caution – To be able to fully use this system, you must have a very developed tasting range. It is difficult to draw a conclusion on a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc if you have never had one. You may opt for one of the Varietal sets. They are designed to help study the grape or blend in question.

We will be tasting wines in groups of 3
Each tasting will be designed to challenge your ability to discern key elements and deduce the origin of the wine. This will be explained in the tasting sets The audio Podcast for each set of 3 wines will last approximately 25 minutes from start to finish. Each wine should be tasted in 4 minutes, using the tasting grid. You may need to purchase a cooks timer and set it to 4 minutes. My tasting of the same wine will be 4 minutes, with additional comments. For the candidate. You will need for someone to set up the tasting for you if you are trying to conduct a true Blind Tasting. They need to review the wine list and make a selection. You need to stay unaware of all aspects of the wines. Do Not review the list of wines that are offered on the site. Have someone you trust do it. If you are out there by yourself, have someone, they don’t need to be wine salve, make the selections for you. It can be anyone at your office, anyone with access to a computer. I recommend someone at a wine shop that you frequent. They can then pull the selections and sell you the wines. The retailer can brown bag and number the wines for you, so when you get home, you are ready to go.

If a friend is your assistant, have them mark the bags 1-3 on the outside and do the pouring for you. They can also taste along and keep the clock. If you are alone, have the merchant bag and number to prevent you knowing anything. When opening the wines, be sure not to look at the capsule and cork when opening.

This sounds trivial, but if you are serious about learning to blind taste, it is imperative that you know nothing about the wine being tasted. The shape of the bottle, the length of the cork, the color of the glass bottle all can distract you. I have yet to establish a cost to download the audio. I am interested in covering my cost of the site. It is not designed to be a moneymaker. You may choose not to download the audio. As your tastings progress, you may want to taste the standard 3 whites and 3 reds, on a 25 minute clock. This is the system used for the Advanced and Master level of the MS program exams.
. Good Luck and Good Tasting……….. Guy

Wines for Blind tasting  

Session # 1 Un-oaked whites
Ch. Bonnet – Entre deaux Mers – Bordeaux Blanc
Ch de Sancerre
San Angelo Pinot Grigio

Session # 2 light skined reds
Montecillo Rioja Reserve
Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages Reserve
Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva


Session # 3 MS whites 1
Trimbach Pinot Gris
Morgadio Albarino
Ch Moncontour  Vouvray

Session # 4 MS reds 1
King Estate Pinot Noir
Gigal Hermitage
Wolf Blass Presidents Shiraz

Session # 5 Study in Sauvignon 1
Cloudy Bay  Sauvignon Blanc
Ch du Cruzeau, Pessac Leognan, Graves Blanc
Delaporte Sancerre

Session # 6 Study in Cabernet Sauvignon 1
Casillero Diablo Cab Sav. By Concho Y Toro
Newton  Cab Sav Napa
Ch. Larose Trintaudon



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