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Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 18 of 21

Exploring Varietals: Tasting Reds with Darker Skin


Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 18 of 21

Exploring Varietals: Tasting Reds with Darker Skin


Lesson Info

Exploring Varietals: Tasting Reds with Darker Skin

to refresh all the color in a red wine comes from what part of the grape from the skin. Exactly. And as we just looked at red wines with lighter skins such as Pino Noir, Neb YOLO and Ganache, we're now gonna look a red wines with darker skins and see what those look like and what they smell like, what they taste like. And we're gonna work through the method again, using these three wines. So you have three in front of you and they're all fall into the dark skin. Camp got cabernet, got Bandel, which is in this case, made from move Edra in every case, and you have Shiraz or syrup. And so what we want to do is use the method and understand okay, where these things similar, where they different and how does that reflect upon the way they were made in a place they're made. Good. All right, so let's just get right into it and let's look at all three. So when you have three of the same color or any number of more than one of the same color wine, you want to look at him all the same time and y...

ou want to smell them all before you dive in, you pick one to work on. So you start to triangulate, start to get little pieces of what the others are about, right? It's a good mall, quick sniffing in this and then look at him or vice versa. All right. Did everybody do that? Yes. Awesome. So, which one do you want to start with? A You want Start with a Let's do it. Okay. So work with me. How do we have that? All right. How do we What do we do when we want to look at wine? Right. So we hold down the white. We're looking at the center. Yep. So right in the center with center color is is what on this very purple purple. Okay. And very is a relative term, right? Very to you is not the same as very to her. So it's high. You can do that, or you can say it's light. Medium or dark. Dark. Okay. So dark purple in the center. Can you read through it? Can you see that? A Through it. Negative. Okay, So it's opaque purple. Really right? Yeah. Okay. And so it fades toe what at the rim? Well, it's turned over, so the far northern entered the glass. That's where we look for a different color. What color is that? Ah, or doesn't have be different. Just what is it? It's still it's still purple. Okay, great. And that's when we learned in the last lesson. What does that tell us? If it's still purple there, it's still the primary color, and it hasn't begun to oxidize in turn, brown or orange. What does it say to us? Um, you need a reminder. No oxidation, no oxidation. Therefore, no. No age, Exactly. No age or not, an oxidative winemaking environment. It's already, you know, this is a dark skinned red varietal and its young nice right? Yes. Okay, cool. And then how about the Clearwater Band? So if you go out to the edge and then go off to either nine o'clock or three, how big is that band? It's very tiny, very small. It's very small, which tells us what that was. Relative. Um, he was smaller band. You have mawr concentration of color, which comes from riper skins, which comes from a warmer temperature. Warmer climate, right, so young dark skin varietal. Warm climate, wine just from looking at it. Yeah, telling us it's story. Okay, cool. So how bright is it clouding del Brighter star break? It feels right, right? Yeah, I think it's bright. That's very fair. Is there any sediment? Okay, so also a sign of youth. If it hasn't begun to precipitate out color, that's good. I za bubbling. That's good news. And let's talk about the viscosity. So get it going here and put a piece of something white behind it if you can, because that's really this shows. It's a real difference between the light skin or red light skin red varietals and this you can see the legs. The tears have really color riel staining there asked and love to color. That's so what do we think about the viscosity here that's medium low, maybe low, low. It would just be sheeting and speak to very low alcohol medium. So medium, I think mediums good. Maybe even the high side of medium. That's fair. Okay, great. And what does that tell us? What's a sugar high in our poll? Medium to medium plus alcohol? Yep. So when we were always and so good for you. I'm gonna start keeping it in. The book ends, you know, are the guardrails, if you will. So, yes, it's elevated. But how high is it? Actually says medium to medium. Plus, um dis Kasey and therefore alcohol. Corroborating what we said about a small Clearwater band and potentially a warmer climate. Everyone got that feeling. Good. Yeah. Great. Let's smell it. And again, Don't read this just yet. Just talk. What do you smell? Dark black Like Mary's Dark blackberries. Pardon? Concord. Grape. Concord. Grape. Awesome. Raspberry raspberry. Get the boys and Berries. Yeah. Yeah, well, dark and juicy. Spicy, too. Yeah. What kind of space? Definitely. Simmons. Even like black pepper to black pepper. Good. All right. I'm totally good with that. What else? Working ahead. Cheating tastings. What else do you smell? Still small alcohol vapour on top. Okay, great. So some of the high tone stuff. That's good. Anything else? This has a camel flare, like sent to it as well. I agree. What do you think that might come from? The same places. Is her cinnamon? Exactly. The oak? A French French oak. I totally agree with you. Yep. Completely and totally. Okay, so Now let's look at this. We've talked about black raspberry, raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries mostly. Read your apartment. Black fruits. We've talked about cinnamon. We talked about caramel spices that come from what Look woke. Exactly. So that's evidence of oak ageing. And what kind of open said it? French oak. Exactly. Because of the absence of dill, it all adds up, right? We didn't talk about Earth. That's a good thing to note. So what does this likely say to us? New World, New World? Exactly. So you're feeling to start to add up. Great. Is there anything else you want to say about the nose? Let's go. The palate. Okay. So again, ignore this for a second. Do the list. Serene dance. Get it all in between your cheeks and gums, just like jumping through. Is there a pretty prevalent? Okay, the tans are pretty prevalent. That's a great subjective observation to start with. It's like a medium. It's more than the last one side of the medium plus meeting. Plus exactly. Is it as much as the nebula was the Barbaresco? Uh, no, no, no, no, it's not right. So it's That was high. Yeah, so but this is more than the Pino, which is medium. See where we are. We found our spot in this medium. Plus, everybody feel that this is a great you know. Put this in your pocket. This is your context for this is what meeting plus tan and feels like awesome. How about the alcohol? How warm does it feel? It feels warm. Doesn't Yeah, Yeah, I think this probably medium plus alcohol and the acidity. Medium medium place. Yeah, I agree. It's one of those two medium, more medium. Exactly. So you guys were all starting to feel this. Now this is cool that you know, several of these winds in your starting to start to feel it. So are you seeing that your own context is starting to grow? It's pretty awesome. Okay, so medium acid meeting plus alcohol meeting plus tannin. How about the length? Like medium? That's definitely the shortest so far, is it? I'm getting a lot of that spice pepper tannins, air hanging. Totally. We're in the Skittles just now. I guess I could take back my tongue like yeah, I just spoke to Okay. Okay. So where you gonna put the length? Still there as the M plus R. I really Okay, great. Awesome. Now let's go back to the top. What? What flavors? Air. We tasting, tasting slash Really smelling the jammer? Baked free. The big, very great. Very pie are very compote. Yeah. Yeah. Cobbler. And what kind of Berries? All the blackberries. Okay, maybe even blueberry, blackberry, blueberry. And had boysenberry to that. Yeah, they're they're black and they're juicy and current current. Okay, cool. What else do we taste? That cinnamon. The greatest. Talatou, cinnamon, vanilla, tons of it. Or some of it. It's more subtle, but there is, like a spice and still black peppers. Definitely in that absolutely, very spicy. Okay, what, like brown spices like baking spices or pepper like pecan spices, Things like cayenne. Or like that kind of cap season. Okay, great. That's a really good thing to know. And it actually has to do with the grape itself with the varietal. That's very, really cool. Well done. Okay, so we have some vital clues. We talked about some fruits. We have some evidence of oak, but not a ton of oak. It's more subtle. Nothing earthy. Okay, great. So we're sticking by it, then the world was this big, right? This is a red wine. What else do we know about it? Dark skinned new world. What kind of climate? Warmer, warmer. Great. Can you can you remind me that anything the climate again is the clear out The climate is were arriving there via a number of different pieces. And so in an earlier segment, I talked about how very seldom does one factor tipped the scales to a definitive idea of a piece of the wine like, Oh, this is definitely this because of that. There, there, little feathers and you drop him and they float and they land. And where you have a congress of them, they do tip the scales. And so when we talk about a warmer climate, it's a warmer climate because we have a small Clearwater banned for one. Not just because it because you have saturation of color because you have an elevated viscosity and therefore elevated alcohol, which came from elevated sugar, which you could only get if it were warm. Right. So all these little factors add up to the fact that yeah, this is probably a warm climate. White. Yeah. Fantastic. Cool. Cool. Okay, great. Got so new world. Dark skinned, red varietal young warm climate. Pretty good. Short list, right? Then we have to say OK, what has elevated tannins meeting plus tannin and lives alongside medium acidity. Right, So we're gonna borrow my context. Answer this question. Does this feel like the peanut? Who are you had in the last segment? No, absolutely. Doesn't. Aside from the color being wrong, it doesn't have that structure. And does it feel like the never YOLO you had in the last segment? Aside from the color being wrong, the structure is also wrong. That had elevated tannins like this does, but that also had elevated acidity. So every one of these grapes has a unique combination of these elements that make it exactly what it's what it is. And so you're tapping into that that DNA of the grapes in the winemaking to understand the place. And in this case, um, if you were to do this go red wine. Black fruits doesn't have oak. Yes, it's French oak, right? Is it earthy? No. So this is where you're working in petite syrah Syrah Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon from the U. S. So Merlo tends to be little plummy and softer and doesn't often. Times have meeting plus tannins, so that's a good rate way to throw this off the list. Petite Surat tends to be really, really black in color tends to have a lot of structure, maybe more so than what we've got here. Karen A. Tends to be put in different choke, tends to have elevated tan instance. Have medium acid, tends to have the caps. Come thing the peppery stuff that you've been talking about. Does that feel like it fits? It does fit, doesn't it? It does fit in so thes air the subtle pieces to take you to a place where it's not gonna be particularly earthy, like California and you have, in fact, is my essential cabernet sauvignon. Um, from the Santa Barbara area, right? And when you're in Santa Barbara, it's actually if you're like, Hey, I really dug that Pino and this caps kind of interesting that come from the same place that we describe different climates. That's an awesome moment. Then go and Jake in and learn about that place. And in fact, they're really warm areas and really cold areas. And in mile stretch, the temperature could be 30 degrees different, right? It's pretty cool. Let's keep going. Um, I think it could be worth doing. See next. Let's do see. And I'll reel this back already. What color is it? Right in the middle. Very dark, purple like closest to black. I think we've seen I think it's less I see my letter through. Can you read through it? I was maybe holding. Can you read through it, huh? Yes. Can you see a work out? Really? Well, it's a yes or no. It's not about the level of work. Can you read through it? Yeah. OK, great. So it's not opaque, but it is purple deep, purple and it fades. Toe What? At the rim? No bargain Me. Go still Purple? Uh, yeah. Is there any orange ing? No. Which tells us what Oxidation. Exactly. You know, oxidation. Therefore, it's young. Cool. Got it. Okay. Cool. And then how about a Clearwater band? Yes, I got the wrong one. Small Clearwater brand is kind of medium. Medium small. Okay. Great. And so what does that tell us? Low, exactly. Medium minus Clearwater Band. It's the inverse when it comes to the climate, right? Yeah. Smaller. The band, the colder or warmer? I meant when I really miss. I know. Yeah, warmer. The climate? Exactly. Yes. And why is that? Because Boesch, that's the sugars you get. Sure you're getting rightness. Yeah. You're getting riper skins with more pigment to go into the wine to push the Clearwater band out of the way and make it smaller, smaller, smaller. They were in good with that. I think I have the wrong line on. I see you, dio. Yeah, definitely, completely different. We'll hear support out, you know? Yeah. This better orange pardon. That is no longer orange. That's good news. Awesome. Okay, great. So how bright is this one? Not as bright. Okay as the last one. So what are we gonna call it? The last one was bright is still in the bright spectrum. Are you going to take it all the way to dough? It's still braid. I'm good with that as well. Okay, Great. And any sediment? No. Therefore it's young. Any gas? No. Awesome viscosity. Medium. I think it's more than that. IHS medium plus finesses all over this. Well done getting it. Yeah, you are. It's working right. Eso medium plus viscosity. Which tells us what more sugar which became what? Alcohol. Exactly. Right. So more alcohol. Which tells us what kind of climate warmer Does that agree with what you observed with the Clearwater Band? Yes, it's working thistles. The idea. So what do you smell? Anything at all? Uh, more of that vanilla. Maybe coconut told sweeter coconut? Definitely. And is there toaster? Buttery creaminess? Yeah, it does have this sort of toasty creaminess. Your mother Tobacco kind of smell to leather. Tobacco. Awesome. I want the cinnamon is definitely there. And the coconuts definitely there. And the coconut occurs with something else That generally makes me break out in a rash. Still still finding the deals like a pickle barrel? Yeah. Yeah, it's there. OK, so what do we know about that American? Some American oaks? Exactly. Yep. It's American. Oh, Okay. Cool. So that's a good thing. What else do we smell? What kind of fruits? Sure. No, it's totally fine. Yesterday. We're talking about red fruits and white wines. Right. Right. So it's a pineapple is exotic. It's ripe. Tropical probably happens in a place. You get those types of aromas and then. Great to really right, right? Right. So we might surmise this is a warm climate. What else do we smell? Chocolate to a little bit. Jog lit. Awesome. What kind of chocolate? Dark chocolate. Okay, great. Like it's more red fruit than black fruit. What? I'm smelling like a cherry or ah, maybe a raspberry. So what is it as red fruited as the peanut? Nor and the nebula? Where? I don't think so. Okay, so that's where you start to have to divide that. I mean, there's rainier Cherries, and there's black Cherries and red Cherries. I agree with there is a chili cherry element, but to me, it's more of the darker side of that Blueberries. Pardon? Blueberries, Blueberries, for sure. And that's a really banker factor for this particular grape, right? This great generally has that that element. What else is main go crazy? Cause I'm getting crazy. Crazy that pineapple is good right now. Of course, the mangoes great. The mangoes. Great, because it's a little, um, like kick to it as well. Like it has sweet but little peppery. Or it's definitely peppery. That also comes with this grape. That's good. Okay, so let's look at. Look at the method here for a second. We talked about fruits. We have Cherries, black Cherries. Very good with their great blueberries. Some tropical fruits that really speak toe brightness. Um, I didn't hear you talk about anything earthy, so no worth. I'm good with that. I totally agree with that. How about the wood? What was the evidence of the oak? Exactly. Deal the coconut. Also the cinnamon. Right. The toast. All those things come from the oaken. In this case is a great example of what American oak smells like. Really important. Stick that in your pocket. Don't lose that. If you don't find the deal right away it. But you do find the coconut. Start looking for it. Right? Because they generally happen together. So do the swishy thing. Blueberries are coming through their singing. Yep. Definitely. It's really tasty. Yeah. Okay, So you like it? That's good. Right? So you can play in this vein. You can play in the black fruits, American oak? No earth vein. Right? Stand tannins are like medium, medium law. Awesome. Right. So this is That's great. So you really triangulating off of the last one. So they're probably like medium to medium minus tannins. Yeah, And then how about the acidity teddies out there? Because sometimes, you know a lot. Remember the Barbaresco? Uh, right? Yeah. Even the peanut or right. So those were meeting plus acid. So where is this relative to that problem? Maybe, um, yeah, medium or medium minus. Okay, So medium tannins, media mean a medium minus acid. How about the length and the alcohol? Let's answer both of those questions. While we're here, length is still there. I say it's meeting pluses. Well, blueberry, great. Medium plus length. Could you Are you still tasting it? Are you still tasting it? Me to argue it feel it leaves surely thereafter, but doesn't leave completely. OK, so it's Yes, No question. Right. So are you still tasting it? Yes. Yes. Thank you. You're welcome. But that's that's the rigor that we have to have for ourselves when we start to get wishy washy and we want to, like, start parsing it out like, No, it's not really there. Well, it is not really there. Then it means that kind of is there. So then the answer is yes. Right? So that's that's what you do. And so it's just like the earthy question. Well, you know, there's just a little than the answer is yes. If there's just a little there is some. And when you do that, then this method will serve you really well, right? So don't muddy it. Do the same thing every single time. Okay, great. So the length is medium. Plus, what is the alcohol? I mean, I'm still feeling Yeah, medium. Plus, I think of, like, you know, 17 18% zinfandels or vintage ports. Things like this. Is this that high? Okay, so back off a stop. And it would be what medium plus. Okay, great. There's would you say there's a correlation between high 10 and content and also length? No, I would not correlate those two things. No, I would correlate quality and balance toe length and just causes well, balances me. It's gonna be long, You know, you're talking about intensity. Overall, it doesn't have to be big. Just, you know, has toe have presence. Um, and you can have presence. A lot of ways like this is not ah, high tannin wine. But as I'm talking to, I'm still tasting it. Like there is, there is an intensity of flavor. If it's quiet, it's intense enough to still to still be here and still present, right? And so that depends on lots of factors. Not anyone in particular, right? So, to the balance point, is this balanced? It is, isn't it need to begin to get your head around balance in the one that has actually very low tannin or media minus In this case, compared to balance in the Neb YOLO Barbaresco that had extremely high panic. It's cool. So it's not about what you have, it's how you wear. It, comes back to. That's not what you wear. It's how you wear it. So you know, if anything sticks out and it's odd and you're wearing it poorly, you're gonna be out of balance. You can still have more or less of some things. As long as it all comes back to the center of being balance with that, let's make a conclusion. Why don't you do it for us? Is this old world a new world? A new world? We're thinking about that deal. Okay, so that's American Oak. But they use American oak in Spain, and that is where Oh, well, not exactly, world, right? Exactly. So point being That's not enough of a factor to say this is a new world wine. So the earth equality was more old world. And this doesn't really have those qualities. Exactly. Great. So that's the great Why? I'm gonna ask you a question. Then there's the why. So you've answered the why. Therefore, it is New World. Yes. Okay, great. What kind of climate is this likely from? Uh, warm. And why? What did we observe as great tasters collecting evidence? What did we observe that would let us know that the high viscosity and the high alcohol great. Exactly. Correlated in fact. Okay, good. I'm all cool. That How about an age range this younger or older? Let's just think about it. That younger, older, younger, okay? And why, when we're looking at the banding? Exactly. And it was what color? Um, near the banding, you mean? Yep. Still red? Yeah, exactly. Not showing signs of oxidation. Right? Right. OK, good. What grapes could this be? Well, let's let's work through here to get it. So I put on the red fruits or black fruits black. Great. So I went to black. And did this have oak? Yes. Does have oak. And what kind of oak didn't have America has American oak. And was it earthy? No. No. Okay, well, then you might be drinking cabernet from Australia, for example. Or you might be drinking Saraya k Shiraz from Australia. So those air two likely possibilities that have the things we've talked about now, you just had a cabernet. How are those tannins relative to these tannins? Was that a That was a dual side by side comparison. Yeah. Please, Dio That's what this is all about. Your triangulating, these things blowing piece off the other comparing tenants. Yep. Well, there's definitely some in there. This is a feather. This is one of those feathers I'm asking you, like, refined, refined that feather before you drop it and see what side of the scale is gonna fall on things less. This definitely has less tannin in the classic example of cabernet sauvignon and gave you so the next time you have something you're going to like. You know what? This doesn't have enough tannin to be cab. Do you follow me right there? Really feel this, right? So this is tan. And that's Mawr commensurate with the idea of Shiraz, which is in fact, exactly what it is. What we have here. This is the elder 10 Barossa Valley Shiraz when we also looked at to compare color where versus lighter reds versus darker reds. People feel good about this. Do you see how, Based on these few pieces of the pieces of information we collect, there's only one conclusion. Other questions. You guys are pros. Okay, You're good. Yeah, I'm learning Wash. Yeah, it does help. I mean, you know when when I was working on this method and I was working through the quartermasters only a program that I was a runner and it would just be my mantra. And I just go through it in my head like I can't remember how many thousands of times it must have been. You just like what you look for next we look for next we look for next, and it sounds kind of unromantic and strange and weird. Um, and it kind of is all those things, but, you know, that was for a very specific application. You know, when you do it like this, the that extreme example shows you that when you do it the same way every single time and as you're seeing just working through this course, it starts to stick, right? You just learn how to look at something, right school.

Class Description

Do you cower when presented with the wine list? Feel at a loss while walking the wine aisle? You are not alone! Many of us struggle to differentiate between the subtleties of the world’s oldest beverage. But wine is not destined to be difficult! Join Master Sommelier Richard Betts for a fun and informative guide to buying, tasting, and enjoying wine.

Become a Great Wine Taster is your guide to wine varietals, trends, and tastes. You’ll learn Richard’s “wine is a grocery, not a luxury” approach to wine while exploring the differences between regions and the history behind them. Richard will teach a simple method for looking at, smelling, and tasting each wine so you understand the nuances and the provenance of the drink in your glass. You’ll study the important factors and features of winemaking by exploring ideas through related varietals. Richard will discuss:

  • Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc – the impact of climate and oak
  • Riesling, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Zinfandel – balance, sweetness, and alcohol content
  • Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio, Gruner Veltliner, and Chenin Blanc – important grapes, small subtleties
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and it’s subjects – regional expression of the ubiquitous reds
  • Pinot Noir – temperamental grapes and growing in France, California, Oregon and Australia
  • Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo – wine production in Italy and Spain
  • Syrah/Shiraz, Grenache and friends – blends and winemaker’s intent

You’ll also learn about the unique ways we modify wine, like making it sparkle, heating it, turning it into Port, and so much more! This class will help you get more comfortable with wine, remove much of it’s mystery, and show you how to integrate it into your everyday life.

Pair your appreciation for wine with knowledge in this accessible and educational class. Join Richard for Become a Great Wine Taster and never fumble over wine selection again.


a Creativelive Student

This course was amazing. As someone who felt really intimidated by wine before, I finished the course feeling a lot more confident and excited to try out my new wine knowledge. Great instructor with great content. Would definitely recommend!


Good course, needs to identify wines to set up tasting. It was fun to do with friends. Perfect to watch in the segments.


Fabulous! I've passed the Introductory Exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers, but, never ginned up (pun intended) the deductive tasting. This did it. There are several of us who purchased this course and are doing out best to re-create the tastings and memorize the map. Thanks so much for the class and for Richard Betts.