Become a Great Wine Taster


Become a Great Wine Taster


Lesson Info

Exploring Varietals: Whites with Oak

So you ready to dive in pick up where we left off with the tasting method again and this time we're going to explore bridles with oak and really we're going to see first how again review how does oak feel in a wine? What is ok actually due to a wine then used two examples where we're going to keep some of the rebels constant and we let some of variables float to understand about really about the world of wine at large again via tasing s o u three wines you have louis charred day which faith in you is in glass a, um the last one on the list actually the geese and sauvignon blanc that doesn't have any oak and that's in glass piece that's a good reference point to keep between the two and in glass see we've mason laurey mayor so um, which is actually from from burgundy so white burgundy and again it said doesn't say actually back to jay's question it doesn't say chardonnay anywhere on the label says more so but you know, over time like after the segment you're gonna understand that they'r...

e so actually means you're drinking chardonnay from burgundy in france um so the first thing I'd like you to do is pick up and smell all three glasses okay? So louis chardonnay, which we also taste in the last segment has lots of this stuff right lots of vanilla, lots of cinnamon, lots of the toast, all of which comes from the oak barrel. Right? The missile marais also spends time in an oak barrel, but it's very actually, this is this brings me to an analogy I like to use. I think about I think about wines from the old world versus wines from the new world is almost the difference between going to the cinema and going to the movies? And I think these two one z that's, so smell these two. Well, well, I tell you this whole story the two book ends when you go to the cinema, you're you're really not in america and you go and it twists and turns and two hours later, just anything you know where it's going? Because somewhere completely different and the conclusions, you know, something that you didn't even imagine right when you go to the movies in america goes bam, right in the first sixty seconds, you know, you know, like, how the next eighty nine minutes or going to go on it's, big and loud and it's american it is what it is, and I think that that actually khun, you can see that generally speaking in the winds, of course exception solve rules, but I think that generally speaking that's a great idea for how to think about these winds and so on the two book ends you have two glasses of chardonnay one from france and went for america and I think you can feel that do you feel the difference is there so make sense and what do they have in common? Is this and do you feel that in both of these? Do you guys feel the oak? Ok, so with that said I want you to grab glass being c so glass be smell it. What does it smell like for tea and sweets for dnc? Looking great and floral? Exactly. Ok. And how about glass? See just so much more going on and be just from the smell. Okay, maybe it's more effusive maybe it's more about the movies new world people, right? Yeah, right as opposed to glass see what's what's the one thing that boss he has that b doesn't spice spice okay, great that's all we need to say where that spice come from barrel okay, great that's the important point and that's what I mean if you're doing this at home or when you do this at home it's really important to have that moment you have toe isolate the peace we understand what's his would contribute and where it's really obvious what it contributes in the case of the california chardonnay it's a bit more subtle here in the mirror so that's why I really want to do that exercise and when you do that does everyone find it's ice you work with me and don't don't see that's it you didn't find it you've got to find it when you find it then you own it then that's what would taste like that's what would does and you put that in your pocket and it's there it's yours forever that's a big part of your context when you understand what would actually taste like that's huge everyone feeling that ok great so we don't need the middle glass any longer other than for reference if you want to come back to it but what I want to d'oh is do glass a and c and work through the method again writes when you use the method we're gonna build your context we're going to understand if we if we say that these are both seen wood and we'll talk about how in a second you know what? How do we understand the world of wine by virtue of tasting so pick them both up and keep him straight and then look at him on the white background again and tell me about the color is one more deeply colored than the other ok? So which one's more deeply colored a and a is the california chardonnay something exactly and so what does that tell us think back to our last segment it talked with our client a warmer climate okay? And so that makes sense so the napa valley tends to be a very warm place or california does and then glass see which is the mayor so just from burgundy has less color so you might surmise what it's a cooler climate and in fact it is quite cool. I was there last week and it's downright cold right now s oh that's pretty cool, right? So just from looking at it you've learned something about the place you feeling that see how there's these little clues attached to actually you know why the wine is what it is and what the place is about? Okay, great. So the next thing we want to look at is the brightness is there anything to be learned here? Any observations you wanna make sees brighter? Okay think see his brighter, brighter pardon me catches the light which one does I'm sorry c c okay great. So see is perhaps a little bit brighter that's fine, which is which is the mayor? So then let's talk about it it's either one have sentiment great. We blow right by that we'll talk more about that in reds tomorrow is either one bubbling so neither champagne it's important and then the viscosity so let's let's do that louis california chardonnay again after chardonnay just like we didn't last episode and get it going and talk about the viscosity how slow those tears fall it's slow isn't it ok so we've decided that this equals what viscosity medium medium plus eighteen plus viscosity which corresponds to an elevated alcohol level right which again come back to color also speaks to a warmer place right so more alcohol more color warmer climate now the valley so let's do the viscosity on the mirror so to get that going again and how quickly does that fall relative to the last one and how thicker those tears it's faster exactly ok so if they fall faster it's how does that relate to viscosity lower viscosity exactly faster they fall the lower the viscosity and so we would then surmise it has lower viscosity has what lower something else all lower alcohol exactly it has lower alcohol you had less sugar and less rightness exactly because it's from a what kind of climate cool climate that cool that's pretty that's pretty cool I think that's pretty amazing you could just look at that and say ok I know because when you're done with this you're gonna this pocketful of context I know based on my context that even without the things next to it when I picked this up and I look at it and it doesn't have a lot of color and it does have medium viscosity this is probably from a cooler climate so already you can begin to tap in and understand what this place is all about just from looking at it any questions on the visual you company with it okay great let's keep going let's smell them both so let's start with the lewis and enlist the california chardonnay again unless what we smell terms of fruit peaches, pears paris citrus citrus what kind of citrus orange ok great any other fruits you would add to the list sure absolutely if anything you smell is actually there it's true there is they're the only right answer is the one that relates to you really it's true it's really important just to just to talk when we related to our lives it becomes meaningful to our lives because meaning to our lives and in which is our life and that's the whole point isn't it? I think it is so there's grapefruit what color is the grapefruit but think about it last time he had a really red grapefruit versus like that gross white grapefruit not that I have an opinion about this really read it is right right so which one's more ripe the red one yeah and that's what's happening here isn't it it's cool okay great so now let's go there so what do you smell here just in the way of fruit raspberry I love that apple what color is the apple re green? I couldn't agree more right and green apples versus red apples that's a big difference right I would add lemon lime lemon lime great okay we've lemon lime we raspberry which I love I think that's really cool that you actually we can smell red fruits in white wine it's really interesting thing that happens I love it so let's describe the fruits on the lewis you would say just related back to this where there's more exotic or more a little on the california chardonnay not the one we just smelled the one before more exotic right more right right so here and the one we just smelled them there so we just don't got than smelling is where is more so exactly so you're heading this direction right? Sorry it's during toe make sense we all feel good about that okay great so now let's smell for earth back to the louis anything earthy now it's it's pretty it's got a lot of fruit in a lot of wood and here's where it gets tough so back to the missing lori or so anything earthy I think it's definitely earth here yeah so that's the first thing to do is say in a really good way like it's just diligence on your part is a taster because again this is this is the stickiest piece for people is like an order smell like the first thing is is there more than just fruit and oak ok and if it's floor ok that's fine just keep going is there more is there more and if you find something more maybe that you said like I know I like it I don't know how to name it yet but you do like it maybe that's the earthy thing there is something there and you've said yeah it smells earthy so that's great so you take the first step is yes it's earthy in the second step is what is the earth smelling what's the tertiary element here I don't like rocks rocks exactly peachy beachy ok I agree with that totally yeah it's kind of like a limestone or oceanic or seashells I totally get that how about for yourself in the wrong part okay any other earthy things you want to add that everyone sand sand ok cool but it definitely has an earthy quality to it that's neat and so if you remember from the last lesson we talked about this a synergy generally speaking between the grape in the place so should this case chardonnay and bergen e where sha're knees from where it does best arguably and because it has that affinity for the place it's able to express the place and that's why we get this this earthy thing that's pretty cool, isn't it right? I think that's pretty amazing okay so if you didn't know what these were and you were working with the two of them in the case of the napa chardonnay the ok it's got a lot of fruit it's got a lot a lot of wood to try and talk about but there's no earthsea would begin to surmise that its new world or old world new new world and in this case it has more subtle fruits and it does have earth so you're going to begin to surmise it's from the old world the old world says pretty interesting isn't it so it is a story to make sense you feel it okay great so let's talk about wood back to the lewis we're always going to go in this order a c a c have even heavy vanilla I agree lots of lots its host yeah you guys get this host thing you know not really so let's talk about butter too but like just think about smokey here okay let's talk about smoke also so for me the toast is actually like the toasting of it where you're taking something it's almost a criminalization of it so it becomes a toasty if it's smoky that's enough that's another flavor but these are the actual chips that do have a smoky quality because you char the barrel it's not just raw oak when they build the barrel they charge the inside of it and sometimes they do so more heavily than others but that does contribute that smoky flavor right it's pretty interesting also a warm smell because the toast is kind of you know it's kind of one yeah yeah but it is it does have that one you know, it speaks to us that we tend to when we smell thing things we don't we tend to extrapolate beyond the actual smell like you said in the last lesson it's no sweet well we can't we can't actually feel whether it's sweeter dry based on smell but you smell something that then we extrapolate is going to be sweet reminds is something that we've had which is sweet and that's pretty interesting so you're you're taking it to that place of one aiken smell toast and I know what toast is warm yes yeah ok so not everybody puts butter on their toast but you said you smell something butter? Is that correct? Yeah. When I think of the toast smell like butter your kind of creamy ok. And you smell that on this california chardonnay? I think I do. I definitely detailing butter that's used on popcorn exactly. Ok, cool. So that that's a really great point and it's very much worth noting do you smell it on the other one? No. No. Okay, great. So that come that's actually called diacetyl and that's that's the compound that actually is often used in fake butter flavoring on popcorn and may remind you of the toast and it happens there's a secondary fermentation that happens in certain lines and it's you elect to do it or not and it's a malolactic fermentation so malolactic and you're turning the acid like malic acid that you'd find in a green apple into lactic acid like you get in milk and when that secondary fermentation happens after alcoholic fermentation it produces death a deal it's a by product and it smells like the buttered popcorn and that's where you get it there right and so when you smell that that tends to happen in certain places that smell the levels of dasa deal where you get your actually perceiving that buttery smell that happens in certain places more than than in others even though the conversion still happens you know if it happens in burgundy for example it's not as strong as it happens when you're in california which is pretty cool so there's a great nuggets six oh my god smells like butter smells better popcorn therefore it's the malolactic fermentation that conversion that makes sid acid hell so therefore it's a big piece of what happens with california chardonnay isn't that cool and what if you don't like the tacit deal don't drink the chardonnay for simple right? Okay, so feeling good about this and sense of place right? Okay, great you're taking notes I like that good ok cool so let's talk about we've got lots of oak on the louis let's see if we find it on mason laurie more so there is a right way discussed this the second going compared to this so we know it's there. What does it smell like? Yes, cinnamon exactly. Is it as forward as it was in the california chardonnay? It's not it's, not it's much more subtle, but it is their inspects the key. So the first step again, just like the earth is like, is that there, isn't it? Well, it is there. But then, like, how big is it? Like how egregious is it then? We're here it's screaming here, it's whispering. And so I know that this is done mostly in brand new oak barrels and in a barrel and barely has so much to say when his brand new it has the most to say at that point the first one you put in there is going to extract the most from the barrel and all those flavors are the volumes turned all the way up. I know that this has put into a barrel, so it does, of course take on the slavers, but that has already been used once. So there was wine in the barrel the wine came out and then they use it again for this and so a lot of those those really primary big flavors have been taken out already, and so it becomes it becomes much more subtle as I think you're seeing and that brings up a really important point it's like why would you to choose to do that any ideas to use a new barrel I mean not like why did you choose to wear that scarf today it's not what you wear it's how you wear it right and so if yeah totally I think that you know if we put this wine in and a less a less forward barrel barrel that hard even used the fruit would maybe feel bit ungainly but because it's so big it can wear the barrel really really well and in this case where everything's very subtle and we talked about it he said I don't really know what's there just no I like it and its earthy but it's not screaming you know all those little subtle things if we put that in a new barrel it would all be covered up and tasting takes nothing but the oak and then what's the point right if you lose that sense of place here the wine making then you know then we can just drink margaritas you know there's no point yes mellow out over time so as the wine ages in the bottle does that does that change the taste of the wound does does time change the taste of the word cracked? It does it doesn't like go away but because the whole wines changing you know where is it differently right? So today where the fresh fruits interact with the wood in a certain fashion you know in five years the you know, the hazelnut honey and the secondary romans that happened on levy a patina they'll interacting with the wood in different way as well even those in the bottle it exactly well sure but it's in the bottle but remember this is a piece of tree bark and so there is an exchange of oxygen that happens and that's why that patina happens right makes sense yes what if you don't taste any alcohol does I mean that it's a different kind of barrow are its means great question it means that it was either made in very, very old wood so nobody makes okey riesling for example and we'll take some reason in the next segment but frequently reasoning is asian would but those barrels they're fifty years old or seven years old, you know and they probably totally coated with tart eric acid precipitous out of the wind so they're like glass and they have they have almost nothing to say in terms of in oak flavor but it's just it's a place where there's a little oxygen exchange and very, very little so in the case of very, very old wood has nothing to say or if it was a maid and aged in cement or as it's more common stainless steel it's also gonna have nothing to say cement name but but you're talking about basically in nerve vessels vessels that are going to contribute any flavor and then you're like ok, so for example if you come back to this guy he's a seven block this is made of stainless steel which doesn't flavor it at all and therefore we don't taste any of the things we do taste here cool right? So we feel good about the levels of oak and why you would choose one thing versus another makes sense doesn't it okay cool anything else we snow I want I want a few few pieces from both from all of you I have a fourth floor acceptable were terrible on the organ ok cool I'm good with that so fourth floor which means you're on a hike and it's the fallen leaves and sampas dampness exactly that's pretty neat all right, so again that gets back to sense of place what else do you smell? But this one was tough for me because I don't smell a lot it z very noses barely smell much ok, I know this pretty strong to know it's subtle it is definitely settled especially relative to the other one when we when you juxtapose things right you know if the bright lights come on right, so yeah this feels really selflessly serve it to on its own you might be like oh, okay, I really get it. I still think there's some parent, this one. Okay. Great. I'm totally good with that spicing us to it like a cinnamon and nutmeg kind of. Yeah. And that again comes from the wood. Yeah. Yeah, but it's. Not as much as it's. The capital. Yeah. I like your whisper. That's. My new favorite wine words to whisper. Is that cool? Not man. Yeah. Use whatever words you want. I'm still in it, it's all yours, that's all yours, it's yours forever. What else do you smell in either one? And he views anything personal. Like, um, I thought maybe, you know, you reveal your personal life. Yes, but no, I mean, this one does remind me of flowers a little bit like e t o to a rose park. And so it wasn't really strong smelling the roses unless you got close, but there is just like this kind of more subtle, like, you know, you're in a flowery area. Yeah, I love that. I'm in with you totally. I go sticking my nose into all kinds of things and including rested. But you know that it is sort of a subtle, quiet it's almost peaceful feeling yeah yeah yeah that's neat what else do you smell and that's very personal right away which is great and that's exactly the way to approach it yeah it's kind of fun right so now you're back in the rose garden that's need please for the california probably a little extra like song would that's been freshly sawed by a freshly son would I totally agree with that? Yeah in that cool that until you said it but it definitely I need a list I think because every time he says something like yes that's awesome but then just keep it put it right you're talking like now he's building your context and vice versa yeah, I got the buttered popcorn now is like a light bulb thank you smell like I think what you said in the california yeah, definitely it's definitely tropical fruited it's warm here, right? Yeah. Like if you have a context to go to like with the butt popcorn I mean that's how I like I always smell it now because I see myself at a at a theater when that when they're pumping it on their aiken totally well no one on the data and see austin yeah that I can pick that up that's pretty cool that's awesome and you last thing may so in this one a smell like raspberries and strawberries going weird it's not weird at all that's great. Now I think it's great and speaks to really the rightness of one. Yeah, like when you get that I frequently in reasoning, which will take the next segment, do find red fruit flavors where the fruits or just really exaggerated when there's a lot of it. So, you know, I think that makes great sense. Yeah, and hear more citrus like like lemons or lemons, so less right? Yeah, okay, so again, we're starting to you know that the whole thing here is that as we keep smelling, we keep gathering evidence that it continues to corroborate our previous our previous observations. So when we just looked at the two wines, we thought, ok, the mayor so looks like it has less alcohol unlikely comes from a cooler place. The napa chardonnay looks like it comes from a warmer place and has more alcohol in here now that we've smelled them. Our observations say the exact same things right says that the napa chardonnay has more exotic fruits, right? You're starting to head this direction on dh it's, probably due to coming from a warmer place. Where is the mayor? So as you just pointed out his lemons a little bit less and less right and more subtle thank you said pair also so more subtle fruits and you're starting to head this direction I had a couple votes on this. One particular question. Does the detergent you use when washington the glasses have an impact on the tears? Kind of like what we were going through. Yeah, it can definitely have an impact on it. Like the whole cascade. No streaking thing. I have no idea what they put in that stuff to make it not streak, but then you're like drinking it, too, which, you know, I mean, we're using nice wine glasses. I use these at home. These actually is also there's no nicer wine glass. This is like helium. Do you like them? Yeah, they're pretty nice. Um, we have two rules in the house. One andi goes for anybody who comes over is that you never wash him the same night that you drink out of him because, you know, we all feel like we can do it, but you really ought not do it. You're going to break them. But to I just use just like a regular, just soap and sponge. So or even just water. Try to use this little is possible because it definitely will flavor.

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.