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May 15, 2013 06:50 AM

Question for the Group . . .

If you are so inclined, please check out the following two articles:

1) "Wine tasting is bullish*t -- Here's why," written by Robert T. Gonzalez @

2) "Re: wine tasting is bullish*t," a response written by W. Blake Gray @

. . . and what do YOU think?

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    1. Engarde'...Riposte'.

      Wine tasting is subjective. As if that is a big surprise. And prior experience will influence future expectations. Wow. And East German judges score East German athletes highest. Another shocker.

      As stated before, I drink my wines based on availibility, fond memories, desire, price, and who is accompanying it. Not always in that order. I value other people's opinion, but I need a set of examples to show why a certain wine is better or worse than others.

      I enjoy wine. When out on the town, I do get put off by some who must criticise others' choices and how they can get the most enjoyment by swilling, slurping, etc. But to each their own. And zin, I would love to be taken to school by you, as well as a few others here, on the joys of Bordeaux.

      1. Rating systems are usually bullshit.

        Robert Parker's system, for example, would give a glass of boiling ammonia a score of at least 50.

        My 10-point scale:

        - finish the glass and order multiple cases
        - finish the glass and order a case
        - finish the glass and buy a bottle
        - finish the glass and order another glass
        - finish the glass
        - don't finish the glass
        - take a sip and spit it out
        - take one sip, spit it out, and rinse my mouth
        - take a sniff and decline to put it in my mouth
        - read the label and laugh

        3 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I love this scale, and will be sharing it with DH!

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            For a wine I'm tasting for the first time, or at least seriously for the first time, if it's past the "finish the 2+ glass stage" above, I'll add one of my own criteria: does this wine want to make me read more about it, or the varietal, or about wines of similar character (by region, subregion, varietal, etc). Or try other growers' iterations of it. The unexpected "Holy s...t, this is delicious, what's it all about?" reaction is still one of wine's joyous rewards, especially when it prods me to learn more about the pleasure I've just consumed.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Sort of like an interview with a specific wine retailer:

              1, Find the good stuff, and put it into my cellar.
              2. Find the bad stuff, write a great review, sell it to the unsuspecting, and finance #1.


            2. I found the first article abrasive and borderline obnoxious. I do think some so-called wine authorities come across as bloviators, but no one is making anyone read that stuff!

              I found the 2nd article much more thoughtful. And I agree. Wine is a food, and everyone has different opinions on all sorts of foods.

              Personally, I don't like to ascribe numbers to my wine evaluations, but I evaluate them all the same.

              1. Given the nature of this discussion Jason, I think sharing your own tasting "scale" would be most appropriate, if you so choose.



                5 Replies
                1. re: PolarBear

                  lol! OK . . . but let me put it into a larger context.

                  I agree that numerical systems are not worthy of the ink they waste -- ESPECIALLY the 100-point scale that a) resonates with most Americans from their time in elementary school, and b) implies, if only subconsciously, a level of specificity and exactitude that is impossible to attain.

                  On the other hand, the more wine one tastes, the more one needs some form of "shorthand" to quickly rank those wines that have been tasting in preference order. So while I often tell my student that the most important thing they could ever say about a wine is "Yum or Yuck," as soon as you taste more than three wines, some "classification system" becomes necessary.

                  When I was one of the corporate wine buyers for Liquor Barn (a 104-store chain that used to gross $330 million in annual sales), I came up with a 5-point scale of my own to rank the wines and decide which wines should be considered for purchase, versus which should be eliminated from such consideration. The scale was a series of TLA's (Three Letter Acronyms), as follows:

                  >>> IFC = in-f***ing-credible! (If anything was a "must buy," this was it!)

                  >>> GSM = Good $#|+, Maynard! (My homage to The Dobie Gillis Show, and Maynard G. Krebs; worthy of purchase, if we needed wine in this specific category)

                  >>> PGS = Pretty Good $#|+ (good, but had to exhibit great QPR [quality-price ration] to be considered for purchase)

                  >>> DNS = Does Not Suck (no faults, commercially acceptable, but nothing to get excited about)

                  >>> DNPIM = Danger! Danger! Warning, Will Robinson DO NOT PUT IN MOUTH! (applicable to bad bottles)

                  Then I realized that this didn't cover a wine that obviously started off with great potential but were horrible due to a winemaking mistake, and so was added

                  >>> STW = Shoot The Winemaker!

                  1. re: zin1953

                    "as soon as you taste more than three wines, some 'classification system' becomes necessary"

                    Depends on the wines. I've been to a lot of tastings where the wines ran the gamut from yecch to meh.

                    When tasting a lot of wines I have a shorthand for nose / palate / finish. xxx means no interest, ✓✓x means nice nose and tastes good but has little or no finish, and so on. For wines with ✓✓✓ I may add one or more ☆ if I really like it, one or more $ if I thought it wasn't a good value, or one or more ! if I want to buy some.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Oh, look! Robert has a classification system!


                      1. re: zin1953

                        It's more of a memory aid than a classification system. After I taste through whatever unholy number of wines are on offer I skim my notes and maybe revisit a few to decide if I want to buy them.