cjsiege


quality posts: 15 Private Messages cjsiege
ThunderThighs wrote:A little tidbit about me. My ex used to say that my favorite thing to make for dinner was reservations. I just took an inventory of my spice cabinet: cinnamon, vanilla, garlic, bacon salt (hickory), popcorn salt, and pepper. I don't think that's gonna be much help.


That's... just astonishingly sad.

If I chip in five bucks, will you be able to buy some nutmeg? Or a small bottle of marjoram (good, all purpose "herbal" scent)?

darlenee1


quality posts: 8 Private Messages darlenee1
cjsiege wrote:That's... just astonishingly sad.

If I chip in five bucks, will you be able to buy some nutmeg? Or a small bottle of marjoram (good, all purpose "herbal" scent)?



I say we all send TT assorted spices. Make a master list and volunteer for certain ones? BTW, love the idea of this thread!

Be the change you want to see in the world

ThunderThighs


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cjsiege wrote:That's... just astonishingly sad.

If I chip in five bucks, will you be able to buy some nutmeg? Or a small bottle of marjoram (good, all purpose "herbal" scent)?



Not really. Cooking isn't something I enjoy. I do it but I prefer quick simple meals.

What I need are some scratch and sniff aroma cards.


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polarbear22


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ThunderThighs wrote:What I need are some scratch and sniff aroma cards.


Great idea. Patent it.

ThunderThighs


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polarbear22 wrote:Great idea. Patent it.


Oooooh, this Australian kit has them.


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ThunderThighs


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Welcome to week two were I (and some of you other lurking newbies) learn about smell.

It’s probably a good time for me to reiterate that my goal in this endeavor is not to become a great wine taster. My goal is to learn about wine tasting, the process, and its vocabulary so I can understand the wine tasting information and discussions. I want to be able to understand what’s being said and relate that to my likes and dislikes in wine. That is, help me make wine selections online without having ever tasted the wine. And to learn what tannins mean to me. Still waiting on that one.



FLORAL: rose, violet, jasmine, lime tree

VEGGIES: grassy, peppers, pine, resin, bruised leaf, tea, mint, undergrowth…

FRUITY: orange, pear, apricot, apple, various berries, pineapple…

MINERAL: earthy, chalky, gravelly….

ANIMAL: gamey, musk, leather, cat’s pee

SPICE: pepper, clove, liquorice, vanilla….

NUTS & DRIED FRUIT: hazelnut, raisins, fig, jam

OTHER: tar, coffee, chocolate, butter, honey, smoky…



The Essential Winetasting book gives a nice description of smell and how it affects tastes. That part wasn’t really new to me. I think we can all agree that when something smells bad, it’s really hard to say that it tastes great. Beer was one thing for me that took a long time to get past the smell to decide that it tasted ok. Brussel sprouts are another.

I did play with tasting wine with my nose pinched and found it interesting at how much it did change the flavor. It’s these little things that we kinda always knew but when you learn more about it, it takes on a new level of awareness.

I chuckled over the part about giving a child medicine and telling them to pinch their nose. The fact that they’ll still taste it when they exhale all the aroma of the vile medicine. I could just picture my son’s face when he took some medication.

I found the parts on the influences of the smells pretty interesting and found some of that true with my Adventures in Wine Tasting yesterday. I tasted 17 wines in 4 hours. What I had just smelled definitely played a role. My nose, while always somewhat useless, was just an attachment to my face by the end of the day.

But I did follow the steps outlined in this section for most of the wines. I should probably mention here that my lifelong allergies and adult asthma have probably whittled away at my sense of smell. At least it sounds like a good excuse. Right?

So I spent the day sniffing, swirling, sniffing, tasting (no spitting!), and sniffing some more. The smell definitely changed as the wine had been in the glass for a bit and swirled around. This is the opening up that y’all talk about, right?

What I found was if they told me what I was supposed to smell, I could sometimes pick it out. Now don’t get me wrong, most of the wines had a unique smell that I could distinguish. I just couldn’t name it. After a lifetime of mostly being happy with the definition of smells bad or good, I think I have a long road ahead of me. But honestly, I may not need to really worry about honing this smell. If my goal is to understand what others say about wines, maybe I can just be dependent on someone else’s great sense of smell.

Did you know they sell huge kits to train yourself on wine sniffing? This blew me away. I mean, we’re talking hundreds of dollars for bottles of various aromas!



I’m thinking I might be more of the scratch-n-sniff kind of gal. I think there may be a market there. I was only able to find one kit with scratch-n-sniff cards! WD, you can take my million dollar idea and run with it! Just give me a cut if it takes off.

As I read through the different descriptors for smells and aroma, one question came to mind. Who came up with the “cat’s pee” descriptor? It was right there in the book! Is that really used? Are they pulling my leg? Or is it a just a saying kinda like “it tastes like crap”. We know the person probably hasn’t tasted crap and is just using the phrase for exaggeration. Is cat’s pee like that or do serious wine tasters really learn the smell of cat’s pee. And how do they learn it? Wait, maybe I don’t want to know.


Thus ends my adventures in smelling wine. Experienced people, lend your guidance to the rest of us. Newbies, ask questions.


Next week is on actually tasting the wines. Woohoo! I may be recovered from yesterday’s wine tasting overload.


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LaVikinga


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TT! Have you given any thought to perhaps picking a commonly found wine in the $10-$13 range for all of us to purchase/taste/make notes? It would be wine.woot homework. We could drink it on our own time, and/or we could all sample it "together," although a chat room would work better for a virtual wine tasting.

By the way, cooking can be more fun if you have more flavors & spices to work with. It actually gets easier. I promise, hand to helmet!

Wine may not heal all things, but it sure will make you feel a whole lot better.

ThunderThighs


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LaVikinga wrote:TT! Have you given any thought to perhaps picking a commonly found wine in the $10-$13 range for all of us to purchase/taste/make notes? It would be wine.woot homework. We could drink it on our own time, and/or we could all sample it "together," although a chat room would work better for a virtual wine tasting.

By the way, cooking can be more fun if you have more flavors & spices to work with. It actually gets easier. I promise, hand to helmet!


That's a great idea. Perhaps someone from the wine.woot community can suggest an easy-to-find wine.


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MarkDaSpark


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ThunderThighs wrote:

Welcome to week two were I (and some of you other lurking newbies) learn about smell.

.... And to learn what tannins mean to me. Still waiting on that one.



You mean face-smashing tannins?



That's actually part of Taste, not smell. Tannins add two characteristics to red wine character, astringency (the dryness or roughness on your tongue) and bitterness.

Tannins will soften over time, thus why you want to age some wines, since they will change over time, giving you a new flavor profile. But the wine has to be properly made for aging.

There are no Tannins in White wine, contrary to what some people believe.

More on Tannins when we get to Taste!!


ThunderThighs wrote:
... I’m thinking I might be more of the scratch-n-sniff kind of gal.



Hubba Hubba!!!!


       x20             
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*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

MarkDaSpark


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ThunderThighs wrote:That's a great idea. Perhaps someone from the wine.woot community can suggest an easy-to-find wine.




Bogle Petite Sirah. Usually in the $9 to $12 range, IIRC. Good starter PS. Not usually too tannic.

Can be found most wine shops, supermarkets (Vons/Safeway, Ralphs/Krogers, etc.) or at Trader Joe's.


Also be aware that when a wine is too cold, the coldness will mask aromas and taste. When they say serve at "room temperature", that doesn't mean 65° to 70°. It usually means different temps for different wines. This blog shows most varietals, while this page shows the styles (red/white/etc) in general.


So when tasting, it's always a good idea to taste over time, especially since the wine will change due to oxygen (decanting) and temp.

       x20             
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ThunderThighs


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MarkDaSpark wrote:Bogle Petite Sirah. Usually in the $9 to $12 range, IIRC. Good starter PS. Not usually too tannic.

Can be found most wine shops, supermarkets (Vons/Safeway, Ralphs/Krogers, etc.) or at Trader Joe's.


Also be aware that when a wine is too cold, the coldness will mask aromas and taste. When they say serve at "room temperature", that doesn't mean 65° to 70°. It usually means different temps for different wines. This blog shows most varietals, while this page shows the styles (red/white/etc) in general.


So when tasting, it's always a good idea to taste over time, especially since the wine will change due to oxygen (decanting) and temp.


Oh man! I was just wondering about serving temperatures when I was at the wine tasting adventure. Sweet link!


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darlenee1


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The cat pee smell is a real thing. Sauvignon Blanc may have this characteristic. I've only experienced it twice, but when it's there, you'll definitely know it.

Be the change you want to see in the world

MarkDaSpark


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Your sense of Smell (IIRC) can be tied to your memories. Thus, the main reason why some people smell different things (I still remember one Wooter reporting "dirty diaper" as a smell).

Which is why you can smell (and/or taste) things differently than someone else at the same tasting. Especially when your memory is strongly related to that smell.


Also, when tasting wines, eating plain bread, crackers, or olives not only refreshes your palate (not pallet (shipping) or palette (painting)), but your sense of smell as well. Good suggestions on cleansing Palate.


Oh, and when you are tasting more than 3 or 4 wines, you should always "spit". Too much alcohol will dull your senses, and you won't properly taste the later wines.

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ThunderThighs


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A lady does not spit in public.


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sanity


quality posts: 5 Private Messages sanity

TT, great thread and discussion. Your goals are realistic, and may change over time as you exercise and develop your taste and smell.

A few comments:
Acidity, bitterness, tannins and astringency are often difficult for many people to differentiate. Don't despair!

Acid is desirable, in balance, because it's part of what makes wine taste good with food. You'll enjoy the lessons that have you taste wine first before food, then with food, and what an amazing difference that can be. The cool thing for you, even if you are unable to differentiate many flavours, you can sometimes feel the difference on your tongue.

I am one of those cat pee/dirty diaper smellers, lol (yah, go ahead and have fun with that!). andyduncan and aces are, too, and a few others here. Hence the title of the thread rpm suggested.

Just know that many of us are lurking, and enjoying this thread!

ThunderThighs


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sanity wrote:TT, great thread and discussion. Your goals are realistic, and may change over time as you exercise and develop your taste and smell.

A few comments:
Acidity, bitterness, tannins and astringency are often difficult for many people to differentiate. Don't despair!

Acid is desirable, in balance, because it's part of what makes wine taste good with food. You'll enjoy the lessons that have you taste wine first before food, then with food, and what an amazing difference that can be. The cool thing for you, even if you are unable to differentiate many flavours, you can sometimes feel the difference on your tongue.

I am one of those cat pee/dirty diaper smellers, lol (yah, go ahead and have fun with that!). andyduncan and aces are, too, and a few others here. Hence the title of the thread rpm suggested.

Just know that many of us are lurking, and enjoying this thread!

Thanks for the info. I'm hoping it will sink in at some point. Right now, it's one step at a time.

And I'm hoping there are some lurkers and I'm not spinning my wheels here.


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MarkDaSpark


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ThunderThighs wrote:A lady does not spit in public.



Really?



Okay, that one was too easy!!! So tempted to cross the line, but not my birthday anymore.

       x20             
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ThunderThighs


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MarkDaSpark wrote:Really?



Okay, that one was too easy!!! So tempted to cross the line, but not my birthday anymore.




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chemvictim


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I ran across this article today. It mentions cat pee wine. Cat pee: A green, herbaceous aroma in white wine that many find intriguing. I have cats, and I don't find their pee to be green, herbaceous, or intriguing. It's a weird descriptor, to me.

rpm


quality posts: 210 Private Messages rpm
ThunderThighs wrote:A lady does not spit in public.



I will say dogmatically and authoritatively - not to mention didactically - that if you don't learn and use the "swish and spit" technique, you will not be able to competently taste wine.

Your senses will dull as you taste wines regardless of the precautions you take, but the rate at which they dull can be reduced from immediatamento from the first wine you swallow a slug of, to a leisurely stroll down unmemory lane.

The ways to do it involve reducing the amount of alcohol you actually ingest -- which is why you don't want to swallow a mouthful of a wine -- and cleansing your palate between wines with bread and/or water. That cleans your taste buds and reduces the rate at which the alcohol is absorbed for some reason.

When you take a smaller mouthful you know you will not swallow, but will spit into a bucket, you can be far more attentive to what's going on in the wine.

And, when you spit out, you'll have just enough left in your mouth that, when you then swallow, you can evaluate the finish.

All of this is more complicated to describe than to do. You can get the hang of it. Just don't wear white silk jackets, blouses, dresses, skirts or trousers while wine tasting.

Wine-tasting in 8 words:
Pull lots of corks!
Remember what you taste!

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 236 Private Messages MarkDaSpark

Quickly (have to run) ...

UC Davis Wine Aroma Wheel -- Highly recommended, developed by Ann Noble of UC Davis. About $6 online.


DeLong Wine Tasting Notebook (softbound) -- Helps to write down your notes on different wines. Useful for the additional items included (How to take Tasting Notes, Wine Tasting Terms). $8 online.

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ThunderThighs


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chemvictim wrote:I ran across this article today. It mentions cat pee wine. Cat pee: A green, herbaceous aroma in white wine that many find intriguing. I have cats, and I don't find their pee to be green, herbaceous, or intriguing. It's a weird descriptor, to me.


I finally got to read this article and I loved it. It was a nice simple explanation about the smells in wine. I liked how they acknowledge that wine tasting can have all levels of participants from the curious to the keenly interested.

Thanks for sharing it!


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SonomaBouliste


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MarkDaSpark wrote:That's actually part of Taste, not smell. Tannins add two characteristics to red wine character, astringency (the dryness or roughness on your tongue) and bitterness.

Tannins will soften over time, thus why you want to age some wines, since they will change over time, giving you a new flavor profile. But the wine has to be properly made for aging.

There are no Tannins in White wine, contrary to what some people believe.

More on Tannins when we get to Taste!!


Hubba Hubba!!!!



Actually, there indeed are tannins in white wine. When grapes are pressed pre-fermentation, only 10% +/- of the tannins are extracted, so most white wines and blush wines have relatively low tannin levels. If one ferments whites on the skins (e.g. the "orange wine" from Don Sebastiani & Sons and the Pinot Gris from Old World Winery that were both featured on w00t) the wines can be quite tannic.
Excess tannins in whites can be an issue, so most premium wineries prefer to whole cluster press cold fruit, which minimizes tannin extraction. Many wineries will fine either juice or wine with proteins such as casein or isinglass to remove excess tannin.

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 273 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
chemvictim wrote:I ran across this article today. It mentions cat pee wine. Cat pee: A green, herbaceous aroma in white wine that many find intriguing. I have cats, and I don't find their pee to be green, herbaceous, or intriguing. It's a weird descriptor, to me.



A number of wine grape varieties owe their distinctive aromas in part to organo-sulfur compounds known as thiols or mercatans. Thiols are responsible for grapefruit, cantaloupe and gooseberry aromas, and are also one component of tomcat piss. If you've ever been attacked by your cat while eating cantaloupe, you now know why.

polarbear22


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SonomaBouliste wrote: If you've ever been attacked by your cat while eating cantaloupe, you now know why.


Good information. And a great laugh for the morning.

inkycatz


quality posts: 105 Private Messages inkycatz
SonomaBouliste wrote: If you've ever been attacked by your cat while eating cantaloupe, you now know why.


Crossing that off the shopping list now...

I'm just hanging out, really.

ThunderThighs


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SonomaBouliste wrote:Actually, there indeed are tannins in white wine. When grapes are pressed pre-fermentation, only 10% +/- of the tannins are extracted, so most white wines and blush wines have relatively low tannin levels. If one ferments whites on the skins (e.g. the "orange wine" from Don Sebastiani & Sons and the Pinot Gris from Old World Winery that were both featured on w00t) the wines can be quite tannic.
Excess tannins in whites can be an issue, so most premium wineries prefer to whole cluster press cold fruit, which minimizes tannin extraction. Many wineries will fine either juice or wine with proteins such as casein or isinglass to remove excess tannin.


Ah, I'm learning more about this elusive tannin. Thanks for popping in my little thread of wine education and frustration. LOL.


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chemvictim


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Here is a little info about different sulfur-containing compounds found in wine and the "sensory impact" associated with each of them. Some are good, some...not so good.

cjsiege


quality posts: 15 Private Messages cjsiege

If you think "cat pee" is interesting -- just wait until you get your first nosefull of "barnyard funk". There is a varietal that's known for that, but my brain is failing me. Must be the heat wave. All I know is... I have a lot of cousins who are dairy farmers. I know "barnyard funk". I grew up with aroma-de-barnyard every summer. And yes, there are wines that are that "funky" out there.

I don't think it's PN - that's normally just twigs and leaves.

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My new phrase.... "Sniffy sniff"


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So finally, we get to the heart of the matter – tasting. I’ve observed the wine and done the sniffy sniff (yes, I said it). Now, I can finally understand the tasting! Or so I thought….

Now, as I understand it, the mostly proper technique to taste wine is:

1. Take a small amount in your mouth (a teaspoonful or so)
2. Swish it around all parts of your mouth because different parts of your mouth taste things differently
3. Aerate it a bit by sucking air in your mouth but without gagging and choking (not cool)
4. Spit (if you’re tasting more than one)
5. Swallow a little (as in don’t spit it all out)

During all this, you’re gathering information on taste and feel. The book I’m using gives some categories to consider while tasting so I’m just going to follow that.

I decided to try my tasting techniques out on two wines:

Scheid Vineyards 2007 Pinot Noir (PN)
Scheid Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (CS)


Yesterday, I did some initial tasting (including splitting, rpm, just for you) and wrote down some pretty useless notes since I have no idea what I’m tasting beyond the all-encompassing “good” or “yuck” or “grapey”.

Before I proceed, I’d like to share an unfortunate encounter I had with some grapes when I was in about second grade that pretty much influenced my association with them ever since. I was at a friend’s house and we snacked on some grapes. They were quite yummy but about 10 minutes later I got an intense sore throat that really hurt. I remember doing that thing where you rub the back of your mouth with your tongue to try and relieve the pain. I finally went to my friend’s mother. For some reason I was given a popsicle which actually did relieve the pain. From that date, I never ate another grape. Drinking wine in the 90s after we moved to WA state was the first I can recall that I ever digested pure grape product. That’s about a 30 year gap. I think the reason I stuck with white wines is that they’re less “grapey” to me. FWIW, I finally bought and ate some grapes last year. I’m pleased to note that I didn’t pass out on the floor gasping for air.

My adult self says there was probably some chemical on those grapes those many years ago that caused my reaction. My kid self still isn’t fond of the grape.


Move forward to tonight. I’m sitting at my computer with a small glass of each in front of me to taste again as I write this. And yes, I have a bottle of water to clear out the residue lingering in my oral cavity between tastes. I’m taking a new sip of wine with each category. One wine at a time. Wish me luck. Oh, the quotes and numbers were added after I did the tastings just for comparison for my benefit.

Dryness/Sweetness – bone dry, dry, off dry, medium dry, medium sweet, sweet, intensely sweet, cloying


The good news is that I can finally remember that dry means not sweet so I am making strides. I should note that I have an undying sweet tooth so that may affect my perception.

PN – I didn’t get any sense of sweetness on this.
CS – Again, not a sweet wine at all, at least to me. Which was odd to me because it smelled very sweet, almost like a dark hard candy.


Acidity
Not enough: flat, flabby (not enough)
Good: soft, fresh, lively, crisp, mouthwatering, firm, vigorous
Excessive: tart, sharp, green, biting, acid


PN – I guess I’d describe this as crisp. It kinda popped in my mouth with a good feeling. (pH: 3.58)
CS – Pretty much the same as the PN to me. It had a nice feel but not quite the same level of pop. (pH 3.58)


Bitterness – quinine bitterness, slightly bitter, bitter, very bitter.


PN – I didn’t get any notes of bitterness with this wine at all.
CS – I got a sense of a bit of bitterness. Not much but it seemed less pleasant than the PN in this category.


Alcohol
Too little: weak, thin, watery
Mid Range: light, medium-bodied, full-bodied, ample, generous, potent
Too much: heavy, hot, alcoholic, fierce, spirity


PN – I could smell the alcohol before I even took the first sip. It had a bite to it and a bit of an after burn. It wasn’t uncomfortable but noticeable. (13.5%)
CS – Again, I could smell the alcohol and it was there from the get go. Didn’t seem to have quite the bite that the PN did but still present. (13.5%)

Huh, strange. Both wines had the same alcohol content. Tasted different though.


Astrigency
Quantity: lightly, moderately, very or abundantly tannic
Quality: soft, silky, matt, dry, firm, chewy, rich, savory, green, coarse, aggressive


Finally, I get to meet the elusive tannin! The book describes astringency as the drying, furring, puckering sensation you get when your tongue and gums no longer ‘slip’ against each other smoothly.

PN –If that’s a good description to work from then I would describe this as pretty smooth or I guess soft. It flowed gently around the mouth.
CS – This one was definitely more of the dry feeling in the mouth. Yesterday, I found it unpleasant. After aerating yesterday and letting it sit today, it’s not so bad. I prefer the smoother feeling of the PN though.


Flavor – Completely subjective and personal.


The book really let me down here but I guess it’s all up to what each person perceives. It appears, I can perceive diddly squat.

PN – Not too grapey tasting which I consider a positve. There’s some dark flavor, maybe a berry of some sort. The winery describes it as “cherry, strawberry and raspberry fusing perfectly with an exotic undertone of licorice and spice notes”. I can sense some berry but I’m not getting licorice. I don’t like licorice so I think I’d pick that out… maybe. Maybe I’m hopeless.
CS – This one has a more grapey taste to me but with the added dark berry flavors. I didn’t like it as much as PN. The winery describes it as “a rich, concentrated core of black currant and blackberry fruit, complemented by spicy notes of cedar and mint”. It could be the cedar is that dark taste I’m getting. Maybe the currant. Don’t think I’ve ever tasted a currant. I could see drinking it with a heavy meal maybe.


PN Conclusion: Nice wine. Smooth to drink. Tasty. I should note that yesterday I poured some through my Houdini aerator and that really smoothed this wine out. Those things really make a difference! Anyway, I could see drinking this Pinot Noir with some food or snacks. Not sure I would consider it a solo sipper though like I do some whites.

CS Conclusion: Seems like a good wine but not my cup of tea. Too something… maybe heavy? It just didn’t set well in my mouth. I wanted a drink of water after each sip. Aerating it yesterday helped with that somewhat but it really brought out the alcohol smell.



Well, that’s it. How did I do? Did I meet the tannin finally? Is that the cotton that’s still hanging around in my mouth?

And for grins, here’s a picture. CS is on the left; PN is on the right. First is with flash; next without.






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ThunderThighs


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Staff

In looking at the next two sections (Quality & Value), it seems like those are more of a read for information than something derived from tasting.

I'm thinking this has taken me to the point I want for wine tasting although I'm going to continue reading the book as I'm interested in the parts on the actual wine making.

Are there other things you think I should explore? Keeping in mind, I'm interested in a basic understanding of wine and wine tasting. I don't see this is something I'd pursue as a hobby or interest. I'm glad to have a better understanding of some of the terminology that I've seen in the forums and want to continue to grow in that area.

Now genealogy, there's something you can get me to shut up about.


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rjquillin


quality posts: 289 Private Messages rjquillin
ThunderThighs wrote:In looking at the next two sections (Quality & Value), it seems like those are more of a read for information than something derived from tasting.

I'm thinking this has taken me to the point I want for wine tasting although I'm going to continue reading the book as I'm interested in the parts on the actual wine making.

Are there other things you think I should explore? Keeping in mind, I'm interested in a basic understanding of wine and wine tasting. I don't see this is something I'd pursue as a hobby or interest. I'm glad to have a better understanding of some of the terminology that I've seen in the forums and want to continue to grow in that area.

Now genealogy, there's something you can get me to shut up about.

I commend your efforts. I too am attempting to understand more than just what I like, and hopefully be able to describe it in terms other than "I like it, or not".

I think I got this from rpm's reading list, a rather modest ~250 page hardback. The Taste of Wine: The Art and Science of Wine Appreciation used from Amazon for under $10. Pretty much covers all the basics, as well as deep tech-geek stuff; really is an interesting and informative read, so far.

Great "QPR" for a book.

CT

darlenee1


quality posts: 8 Private Messages darlenee1
SonomaBouliste wrote:. Thiols are responsible for grapefruit, cantaloupe and gooseberry aromas, and are also one component of tomcat piss. If you've ever been attacked by your cat while eating cantaloupe, you now know why.



This cracked me up this morning

Be the change you want to see in the world

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 236 Private Messages MarkDaSpark

This was so good, and I ran across this article and wanted to add it.

The Trick to Identifying Wine Tastes.

Internal link takes you to his previous article on "Three steps to becoming a wine aroma expert."

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MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 236 Private Messages MarkDaSpark
ThunderThighs wrote:


So finally, we get to the heart of the matter – tasting. I’ve observed the wine and done the sniffy sniff (yes, I said it). Now, I can finally understand the tasting! Or so I thought….

Now, as I understand it, the mostly proper technique to taste wine is:

1. Take a small amount in your mouth (a teaspoonful or so)
2. Swish it around all parts of your mouth because different parts of your mouth taste things differently
3. Aerate it a bit by sucking air in your mouth but without gagging and choking (not cool)
4. Spit (if you’re tasting more than one)
5. Swallow a little (as in don’t spit it all out)

During all this, you’re gathering information on taste and feel. The book I’m using gives some categories to consider while tasting so I’m just going to follow that.

I decided to try my tasting techniques out on two wines:

Scheid Vineyards 2007 Pinot Noir (PN)
Scheid Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (CS)


Yesterday, I did some initial tasting (including splitting, rpm, just for you) and wrote down some pretty useless notes since I have no idea what I’m tasting beyond the all-encompassing “good” or “yuck” or “grapey”.

Before I proceed, I’d like to share an unfortunate encounter I had with some grapes when I was in about second grade that pretty much influenced my association with them ever since. I was at a friend’s house and we snacked on some grapes. They were quite yummy but about 10 minutes later I got an intense sore throat that really hurt. I remember doing that thing where you rub the back of your mouth with your tongue to try and relieve the pain. I finally went to my friend’s mother. For some reason I was given a popsicle which actually did relieve the pain. From that date, I never ate another grape. Drinking wine in the 90s after we moved to WA state was the first I can recall that I ever digested pure grape product. That’s about a 30 year gap. I think the reason I stuck with white wines is that they’re less “grapey” to me. FWIW, I finally bought and ate some grapes last year. I’m pleased to note that I didn’t pass out on the floor gasping for air.

My adult self says there was probably some chemical on those grapes those many years ago that caused my reaction. My kid self still isn’t fond of the grape.


Move forward to tonight. I’m sitting at my computer with a small glass of each in front of me to taste again as I write this. And yes, I have a bottle of water to clear out the residue lingering in my oral cavity between tastes. I’m taking a new sip of wine with each category. One wine at a time. Wish me luck. Oh, the quotes and numbers were added after I did the tastings just for comparison for my benefit.


The book really let me down here but I guess it’s all up to what each person perceives. It appears, I can perceive diddly squat.

PN – Not too grapey tasting which I consider a positve. There’s some dark flavor, maybe a berry of some sort. The winery describes it as “cherry, strawberry and raspberry fusing perfectly with an exotic undertone of licorice and spice notes”. I can sense some berry but I’m not getting licorice. I don’t like licorice so I think I’d pick that out… maybe. Maybe I’m hopeless.
CS – This one has a more grapey taste to me but with the added dark berry flavors. I didn’t like it as much as PN. The winery describes it as “a rich, concentrated core of black currant and blackberry fruit, complemented by spicy notes of cedar and mint”. It could be the cedar is that dark taste I’m getting. Maybe the currant. Don’t think I’ve ever tasted a currant. I could see drinking it with a heavy meal maybe.


PN Conclusion: Nice wine. Smooth to drink. Tasty. I should note that yesterday I poured some through my Houdini aerator and that really smoothed this wine out. Those things really make a difference! Anyway, I could see drinking this Pinot Noir with some food or snacks. Not sure I would consider it a solo sipper though like I do some whites.

CS Conclusion: Seems like a good wine but not my cup of tea. Too something… maybe heavy? It just didn’t set well in my mouth. I wanted a drink of water after each sip. Aerating it yesterday helped with that somewhat but it really brought out the alcohol smell.



Well, that’s it. How did I do? Did I meet the tannin finally? Is that the cotton that’s still hanging around in my mouth?

And for grins, here’s a picture. CS is on the left; PN is on the right. First is with flash; next without.






Excellent job on tasting and reporting. I should do so well.

Yes, tannins (like tea) can cause that "cottony" mouth-feel.

And if a wine isn't balanced, the alcohol can be more noticeable longer.

The pH can tell you if a wine is more a food wine or a drink on it's own wine. Scott Harvey has a blog on that, IIRC. In fact, on many of his bottles, he now shows where on the range it is from New World style to Old World style.

IIRC, PN's are nice with Thanksgiving Turkey.

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MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 236 Private Messages MarkDaSpark

How To Deal With a Wine Snob ... "Here are some tricks to shut that jerk up, open the floor to everyone’s tasting experiences, and most importantly: not be a wine snob yourself."


Also, they have some nice links on Characterize Types of White Wine by Color and Types of Red Wine. Although the white wine is much better than the red wine one.

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Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
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MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 236 Private Messages MarkDaSpark

New tip ... 6 tips about Orange Wine


Edit: Wow! It's been over a year since a new tip was added!

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Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
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InFrom


quality posts: 48 Private Messages InFrom

TT, thought of you when I saw this in the NYT:

To Study: Read About Wines With Your Eyes and Nose

The master sommelier Richard Betts’s clever new scratch-and-sniff book is likely to broaden the novice’s appreciation of wine, explaining how aromas relate to different varietals. The nose is the connoisseur’s best piece of equipment, and the book takes you through the range of grassy, citrusy, fruity, flowery and woody scents you will find, grouping them by wine categories. Some of the scents emerge better than others, and he did not include the hint of cigar box that red wines may display. A useful chart that ties bouquets to wines is tucked inside: “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert” by Richard Betts (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.95).

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 236 Private Messages MarkDaSpark

Bump

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Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
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