Tasting Notes Composition 101
Jeff’s Corner 9-28-18
Hooo Wheee, Granny, and Aye Caramba!
Next Thursday is going to be one of those dreaded days at work when we feel most abused. I’m going to be held at corkscrewpoint and forced to sit down with Brian, Jennifer, Jason, Patrick, and Miguel to taste the new releases of our exclusive Owner’s Club wines. This will be brutal.
The purpose of our rendezvous is to write tasting notes for those of you lucky enough to be in our Estate Club and/or Heath Vineyards Club. Hint, you have to be in our traditional GCV Wine Club to be in either of these.
The Estate Club consists of wines made from fruit grown here at GCV and features our sparkling 2014 Euphoria and three vintages (2012, ’14, and ’16) of Epiphany, our Montelpuciano/Aglianico blend. The Heath wines are from our 22 acres in the Willow Creek AVA in Paso Robles. They include Captivating (an intense Sauvignon Blanc), a lush Pinot Noir, Absolution (3 btls of a Cab/Merlot blend), and a block-buster Syrah.
Those of you that have received earlier shipments of these clubs have found tasting notes, replete with serving temperatures, decanting times, and “when best to drink” suggestions. These are the results of this get together.
The six of us will evaluate each of these wines, and then share our thoughts and impressions with one another. I will write the descriptions, but they will be a collaboration of everyone’s opinion. These notes have to be brief yet packed with superlatives and flamboyant descriptors.
So, what goes into the anatomy of a wine description? When I write one (and I’ve written hundreds), they are pretty formulaic. They are also a delicate balance of objectivity and subjectivity and can be straightforward or verbose. The latter is designed to sell, the former to be direct and to the point.
First, I mention color, usually in term of its hue and intensity. This is very objective. Next, I’ll talk about aroma and flavor profiles. There are primary aromas (fruit and floral) from the grapes, and secondary aromas (mostly spice) from winemaking and oak. This has an undercurrent of objectivity, but for the most part is pretty subjective. (I know what peaches smell and taste like to me, but I’ll never know what they smell, and taste like to anyone else!) Finally, I’ll end with the wine’s texture, balance, and finish. This, for the most part, is fairly objective.
Always keep in mind, however, that wine tasting is a sensual and subjective experience. Our personal perception of a wine is unique to us, and that’s what makes it such a wonderful beverage!
See ya soon…
Photo Credit: Miguel Lecuona – Hill Country Light Photography