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Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 15 of 21

Exploring Varietals: Tasting Reds with Lighter Skin


Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 15 of 21

Exploring Varietals: Tasting Reds with Lighter Skin


Lesson Info

Exploring Varietals: Tasting Reds with Lighter Skin

we're gonna explore varietals red dreidels with lighter skin via these three wines and importantly, at home. If you've got these wines and you can follow along great. If you don't have these exact wines, it's totally OK. You can use the grocery list, take it to your wine merchant and say These are things I need. If you don't have him, give me something similar So it doesn't have to be this exact by Resco. Just get something made of nebula, the same grape, and you're in the game and super easy. So with that, we're gonna use these three wines first to to explore what is light skin and dark skin and red wines, and then use the method to work through what makes them exactly what they are and why they can only be from where they are. It's really important. So, um, for you guys that were here yesterday, we're working with the method. We're developing your context, and we're really trying. Teoh tap into what I describe his intellectual value of wine, and that's everything that informs the win...

e everything about the place where it was made that makes the wine the way it is in the glass today. And so you, you know you can like, look at that, either forwards or backwards. We're working backwards, right? So taking this class and making observations and saying okay, based upon what I see, I can infer this about how it was made in where it was made when it was made and who made it and what it's made from. That's pretty interesting, right? And so it's a really cool way to learn about that place via drinking, essentially. So the first question I have for everyone is if you bite a red wine grape in half, it's whenever you bite it in half. What color is it in the middle? Clear what? What color? Gray. Quite gray. Yeah, you're right, it's white. Essentially, it's not red. So the middle of red wine grape from which we want to make a red grape from which we want to make wine is actually not read. All of the color in red wine comes from the skins. That's a really important thing to remember, and so we want to make white wine. We just take the grapes and you put him in the press and you press it right off. And if you let it stand the skins, it'll actually start to take up some of the color from the white one Scans meeting work Golden. What have you. But that's not the process of of white of red wine production, red wine production either. Smashing where you don't you do you take him off the stems or you don't. But the whole of this, the grape actually goes into, um, a tank where it soaks together and it ferments together. And you're extracting things from those skins you accept extracting flavors. You're extracting tannins, right that we felt in the last episode where we put the red wine up in here. Um, you're extracting color. You're extracting all a lot of structural elements, Many aromas and everything that you see is coming from the skins. And so when we think about that way, we can think about lighter skin varietals in darker skinned bridles, cause they're not all they're not all created equally or similar. They're actually quite different. And so what I'd like to do is start to just group those, like start to break apart. So when we look at tasting wines, the first part of the method is a visual inspection, right? So let's do it. Let's look at all three of these things and talk about the color. And so again, you pick it up. You look down through it and tell me what color is a right in the middle Middle. Say what you want to do is you want to look through it onto the white paper. Ah, like that's, like so better to tilted away from yourself to through the glass through. So look down through the wine at the white background. Until what color is it? Right in the middle. A cherry red. Okay, now, compared to be big Jerry, did you see how different those are? Yeah, I think of I tend to work. You work in whatever color spectrums you want. I think of things is falling more into the garnet spectrum. So the garnet red spectrum and the purple spectrum right? And so which either a or B one of these falls into one of those and one falls into the other Horrible A is more purple. You guys, actually, you guys air backwards to me. So here, let's do this. Yep. Okay. Let's make sure we get the right things here. Yes. So switch your A and C and now you have. What's up? It's awesome. Pain. See? Switch, switch A and C is arm or purple. OK, cool. All right, So my next It's like everyone's tapped into that like, Okay, it doesn't work. It is a good test. Your right not read. Definitely purple. OK, so who's more purple now? A. Exactly. Okay. Great. And so describe. Describe that to me. What is it? If you just take pick up a all on its own again Look down through what color is it in the middle? Light purple Dark, dark alone. Meaning dark. Okay, so darker. Welcome you guys to the method here This is all about objective observation and deductive blind tasting So darker is not an objective term That's a subject of once you make it personal, darker than what right? You know that doesn't say this is darker than that in the course of conversation, But when we're not comparing something, you have to make it an absolute So it's either you know, low, medium minus medium, medium plus or high or its light, medium or dark purple right this. So So we make the same observation every single time when you do the same thing every time you actually have, you know, a meaningful way to compare winds to one another from day to day, week to week, year to year, right over the course of your lifetime. So that's how this thing actually works. So now compare it to be what is be, look like more orange. Okay, so when you mix orange and red, you get this different spectrum, which I described, which is garnet. Exactly. So you start to see the difference between the purple spectrum and the Garnick spectrum and which would you surmise? Based on these two varietals? Which one's the dark skinned bridal which was light skinned? Rydell A. Is the dark skin for vital? Yeah, absolutely. And so with that said, that's this. This is Shiraz or syrah, which are the same grape. It's worth noting there spelled differently in case of Shiraz. It's s h I r a Z in Sierra s y r a h and same grape. It depends on the hemisphere, right? And so, um, potentially originally from Persia, which point it was called Shiraz in the Northern Hemisphere really through France became syrah. Same thing in North America. But in the Southern Hemisphere, such as Australia, it's Shiraz and it's a It's a great example of a darker skinned varietal, right, and it tends to play more in the purple spectrum. And just because it's darker doesn't mean it has more to say. It's just darker. And so we'll start to separate these two things, Um, in the middle and on the right. How do you feel? Let's compare those two B and C light. See is definitely lighter than be cool. I agree with that. But do you think that these both fall into the lighter than Shiraz? Yes, great. So these are the two light skin varietals we're gonna work with today, and they are, um Barbaresco, which is not the varietal. This. This brings back another point we talked about yesterday. It's good to keep rehashing it. Barbaresco is not the varietal. Barbaresco is the place, and in the old world, mainly Europe winds are named typically for the place, as opposed to the bridle that's in them. And in this case of Rydell in Barbaresco is never YOLO, right, and it's a light skinned bridal that has a whole lot of information we're gonna dig into in a second and then also light skin varietal is Pino Noir and in this case from Oban Climate in Santa Barbara. Here in California, also light skinned bridal. But I think we'll find it's actually quite a bit different than the Barbaresco. So what? That said, let's set the elder Tin Shiraz aside for the moment and let's jump in with C. The peanut are going in blind. Taste this and so to refresh. To be a great blind taster, you need a method, which is what we're gonna work through. And this will be the first time through it for you guys in great review for them. But you also have to have the context that I told you about. Remember last episode I told you, your homework is a drink. All the wines in the world that that's the good homework for today. I'm gonna give you I'm gonna lend you my context. I'm gonna give it to, and the cool thing to do is then take those nuggets, put him in your pocket and supercharge your own context. So instead of saying okay to drink a whole line, All the winds of the world that you get What is medium acid? We're going to show you today, right? So it's really important. Do you need to get the wines that are on the shopping list from a particular region Or, you know, I guess moving forward. Will they taste differently? No. Do you recommend? I recommend if you can. If you get the exact line. Great. I mean, the way the world works these days, you probably haven't shipped to your door. Um, if you can't get those exact wines or your favorite wine merchant can't get them, just have them recommend something similar in any wine store worth. Its salt will be able to say he You know what? I don't have this Shiraz, but I have one that's gonna be just like it, right? Yeah. These are actually these air. All aside from being great, they're actually pretty widely distributed brands. So you should be able to find something similar easily accessible exactly by design. Okay, so the first thing we dio is we look at it, so we're gonna jump in work through the method with wine, see which is this guy here? Good. So what do you see in the middle? Jessica? What color is it? This is a little different in the white wines you did yesterday. Right? So it's It's a new definitely on the skinny on the garden outside. Okay, um, you say it's light. Medium or dark? Garnet. Medium. Okay, medium Garnett. And then this is We didn't use this second piece yesterday, but now we start to introduce us. What's the color of the rim? And so I've asked you in. The first question is, what color is it? Right in the middle. You turn it over, you look down through it. It's that medium Garnett you described. And now follow the liquid all the way out to the far end, right where it gets the most thin. And tell me, What color is it there? It's awful. It's, like, almost pink. Exactly. Exactly. Right. Okay, so let's make little conclusion here. The world the world of wine is this big. This is a red wine. It just got smaller, right? It's a lighter colored, probably light skin varietal. It just got smaller at the rim. You said it's pink. What does that tell us so let's think back. Now, I'm gonna tell you. Let's think back. Go ahead. Not a lot of extraction or not. A lot of, um what happens to that avocado when we cut it? Not a lot of oxygen. Not a lot of oxidation. Yeah, exactly. So it's still fresh. It's still young. So you went from this huge wine world to This is a young light skin red. Rydell, like the world, just got this small. I mean, that's pretty cool. The possibilities of what? This could be our very small right now, that's That's the magic of this thing. So you very quickly can dive into, like, Okay, where is this from? What is this all about? It's pretty name. So if this were if this worldwide that had been made in a more oxidative style or were in older wine, you would start to see more and more of a garnet color brick color at the edge. Like more browning, Right? Just like your avocado are cut apple. Okay, so how bright is it? We did this yesterday with the white lines. Medium brightness, I think mediums exact right, right thing. So in this case, you can call it just bright, plain old, just good. And then how about the Clearwater Band? This is another area. This is a little obtuse and probably the hardest thing we do on the visual. Turn it back over. Go from the middle to the end, right? And so where Jessica described the color at the rim, This is where the color stops, but the liquid keeps going. Do you see that separation? There actually is a separation there where the color stops, but the liquids not done. That's called the Clearwater Band. And that band, it's larger and larger and larger in cooler and cooler climates. Right. So if you think about that all color comes from the skins and the skin, they're going to be more and more ripe in warmer places. There, we're gonna have more color to put into the wine and where it's cooler in the skins or less right, you're gonna have less colored put into the wind. And that Clearwater band is gonna grow. So in this case, having never looked at it, I'm gonna supercharger context here. In the case of this Pino noir, I'm gonna say this is actually a medium plus Clearwater band. So it's actually in terms of size on the medium plus side. So that's inversely related to the climate. So it's probably a cool to temperate climate that makes sense. So the world just got smaller again, right? It's red wine. It's a light skin red wine. It's a young, light skinned red wine from a cool climate. E mean there. Handful of places on the planet. Listen, come from now. It's not very many. So next question. Is there any sediment? Great. So, apart from being unfound unfiltered, we get, um, sediment in red wines via how remembering aging? Exactly so in absence of sediment would say it had its not old. Therefore, it's young, and that's corroborated by what we saw at the rim, which is pink. It also said its young. So it's basically all this like triangulation of checking your work and checking work. And is it the same thing? Every at every observation? And if he keeps coming up? Yes, then it's ago, right? You know, you keep you keep pushing on, Um, how about is it bubbling? Great. So it's not fault here. It's not sparkling Shiraz and then viscosity And that's the legs you were talking about when you asked. So get it going in the glass and then watch the tears follow. Watch the legs and to review. The slower they fall, the higher the viscosity, and the viscosity is generally apart from sugar. It's correlated to alcohol, so the higher the alcohol level, the higher the viscosity and the higher alcohol levels come from riper grapes. Riper grapes come from warmer places, right warm place more sugar in the grapes. Therefore, mawr alcohol in the wine and therefore higher viscosity. Yeah, and your subjective opinion is at a quality base, too. Oh gosh, no, absolutely not. No alcohol. It's never about how much of something it has. It's always about how it wears it, how balanced it is. Okay, if I'm looking at the legs and I, I will tell nothing with legs but the quality of the wine by the legs, no nothing, and then importantly, with red wines, it's worth looking at the legs with a white background. So, to me, this is sort of medium. This got not sort of This is medium viscosity. It's everyone feel good about that, so that would speak to a medium alcohol level and again a temperate climate. And it corroborates what we said, um, about the climate with the Clearwater band, right? Okay. And importantly, when you look at the tears with a white background, you don't really see a lot here, right? Let's do this. Let's grab the Shiraz glass again. Do this and look at the legs with the white background and you can actually have color there. Wouldn't see that. It's pretty cool, isn't it? So, again, if you didn't know this was Shiraz, you could pick it up, give it a swirl, see that there's actually staining in the tears, and from that begin to infer that this is likely a dark skin varietal, right, and see if it's worth comparing for you guys also and for everybody, see how slowly these fall relative to the peanut or working with. So it's higher risk Casati and therefore higher alcohol. Warmer climate, everyone feeling good about this. Okay, so let's just make some quick conclusions again to review based on color and based on part me what we see. It's medium Garnett in the center. It fades to pink at the rim, which tells us. What? It's young. Exactly. We decided it's bright, We decided, has a Medium Plus Clearwater band. Which tells us what So medium level alcohol. Um, tell the Clearwater bands Clearwater Bouncing and legs. Yeah, cooler climate. So cool. The temperate climate is that clear? Water ban. So the color the rim is the age the band is the climate. Okay, um, seven presence. There is none. So it corroborates what we said about it being young, right? It's not bubbling. That's fine. In the viscosity, we said his medium. So there for medium alcohol, therefore likely a temperate to cool climate. And that corroborates what we said based on the Clearwater band. So everything has checked out here. You feeling good about this?

Class Description

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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.