Become a Great Wine Taster


Become a Great Wine Taster


Lesson Info

Exploring Varietals: Whites without Oak

We're going to jump back in and use the method again. We're going to keep doing over and over and over again, and this time we're gonna explore bridles of white bridles without oak. So we just spent the last lesson talking about looking at two different chardonnays for different parts of the world and really understanding how first, how wind carries oak, and then how the place where it's made really matters again as we just saw it, we're going to do the exact same thing with winds without okay, except this time, or use three wines, we're gonna count more on you guys, tow your candor to throw it out there and work through these things. The first thing we're going to take each one all the way through the whole method, then go back and started again and do the second line. The first thing I want you to do is that when you have three whites or three reds, or any number of more than one of any color wine, first thing to do is look at them all together like that that's the first piece of inf...

ormation when when you just have something on its own, all you have is this, but when you get to compared to something, then you can begin to triangulate, right? So when we look at something, what do we dio we pick it up, turn it over and look down through it with a white background, right? And right now it looks like just a white wine and I we've developed your context over the morning so you can begin to describe it, but let's make it easier let's, pick up another one and stick it next to it, right? And then then you actually can start to see differences and pick up the third and look at it next to it as well. Do you notice anything the color change? Yeah, because ok, and what happens as they had the clothes on? Which one where does it become darker? See? Ok, great! And where is the middle one fall? Is that also middle in terms of color? Goes through the first okay, close the first I agree with that. Yeah, I agree with that totally and it is brighter say ok, great is definitely ok cool, so but they're they're they're different, but they're also pretty close, right? It's not is like like we had in the last one where the lewes chardonnay was so dark and if they're still there variations on a theme okay, now pick them all up and smell them all one after the other what do you smell do they know all the same? No not at all is that amazing? So one of the big things I see people do when I teach tasting is they don't use this opportunity to juxtapose but you just pick up the first class and go for it if you just pick up the first class and you go for it you're going down the whole describing something but maybe you're veering into territory you wouldn't describe if you smell the other wines and you actually find guardrails right it's just like when we talked about with the city coming like oh it's high acid well it feels high but taste the one next to it that's actually what high is so you got to come all the way back here and you know so you're finding the guard wheels right at the beginning so with that said which which one do you want to start with that's what I would pick too because man it's singing it's got a lot to say on and I think the others are actually maybe a little little more subtle and going to be a little harder to dio so let's begin with b which is the geese and sauvignon blanc so what color is it right in the middle? What color is it? Pale pale review and what and pale wet though light its pale but what color are we talking about? It still a yellow yellow really means a little silvery and maybe has a little a little yeah and has little flecks of what green do you see the green tint to it it's a slight green tint do you see this like this like green tender sort what's green and plants chlorophyll chlorophylls the green part of a plan and what we're seeing when you see that in a grape did you see did we see any green tents in the warm climate napa valley chardonnay? No, because that comes from a warm place and the grapes are really developed there really mature so all the green element he's gone it's actually become more gold because it's it's warming right? So this is a really important visual clue did like taken put in your pocket because you see little bits of that green. What does it tell you that it's what kind of climate cooler? So just from picking it up, you know that this is very likely from a cooler climate that's pretty cool, isn't it? Ok? Skipping colored the rim doesn't matter how bright is it? Apparently bryant fairly is not a word because it doesn't relate to something other than to you right? We have to be its objective writes you gotta pick one of those stops every single time out of that, the little bright, maybe even more remember we called that I think we called the louis chardonnay bright that never chardonnay but this is brighter than that, isn't it? Ok so that puts us where starbright awesome so developing contact this is what starbright looks like ok that's cool and so it gets that way very likely because he's been fined and filtered and there's a lot of stuff done to it so it has this this luminosity almost and typically that happens toe wines generally destined for america but we don't want things that air cloudy and their cloudy we're certain that there's something wrong with it so it becomes a lot about process so you can start to think ok where is this from you like likely new world tends to be a new world practice tends to be okay um is it is a sentiment nope is a bubbling nope and how about the viscosity? I think that's a good call well done you're learning is great it's great. Okay cool now let's smell it and just talk for a second to look at the slide just talk what he smell lemon lime lemon lime good for a woman's to me floral there's paris cool good with that thing great proof again like more bitter definitely better great food I'm going through something out there how about jalapeno? You're finding that now that cool that's a that's a banker factor for for this great from this place the kind of jalapeno green thing asparagus asparagus I'll take it that's awesome yeah really good you're super charging her context again that's really good really good yet has that green burden thing right grassy yeah grassy okay what else do we smell? I'm kind of good with that list that's awesome I'm going to stop you there and now we're going to actually use the grid and make sense of this wine okay, so the fruits give me your list of fruit again lemon lemon lime pair grapefruit what color? Grapefruit more white more way I totally agree with you totally um we've vegetable asparagus will take that to earth did you guys say anything earthy you didn't know isn't that cool grassy nut that's more vegetative isn't than earth yeah it's glad you asked questions really it's good to separate those two things that green and living right so yeah I'm not the soil not the soil not the dirt not this stuff but it's actually the grass yeah so so there's the distinction made but so we didn't say anything earthy so what does that say to us? Based on what we've learned already it tends to be a new world thing okay well in fact we know it is not tasting is blind but it's good adding up and you guys came to that organically by just not saying anything I think that's really good how about wood it's almost the same conclusion no signs of great no none because it's just not there so this was good surmise this has been vilified and aged if it all in stainless steel or some other neutral vessel that would not contribute any flavor right ok anything else you want to say about the nose? Anything else that all the smell cool so it's pretty straightforward isn't it it's gonna be it's good to like ruminate that in that for a minute just like ok I guess that's really what this is about is the grass the asparagus, the peppers the's fruits we mentioned and it's kind of the wine right so you know he starts breaking down and there's there's not a lot of mystery there so let's keep going palate means we get to drink it wow totally his break rolling you're watching everybody do this like yeah yeah definitely ok so that's the first thing is striking everyone is the acid our mouths are watering was drooling so let's start with assets that's the first thing that striking us third up from the bottom what is it? Low media minus media meeting plus her high winner totally definitely heights high asking great from cool place which only elevates this city now let's go back to the top and work through the rest of it what fruits you taste that rind grapefruit great what else? Lemon lemon is awesome I think you'll read a lot people say gooseberries about this I don't even know what that is I mean we don't eat gooseberries in america we don't I mean I've been other parts of world where they d'oh and it's a funny descriptor that you'll hear a lot with sauvignon blanc and I want you just like forget it like whenever you read that are here it like pretend it doesn't matter because it's really not really have any of you have ever had a gooseberry you have ok one and visit part of like your regular diet that was like less than ten so probably okay so it's pretty rare and the point that I want to make there is that I'm encouraging you to use your own vocabulary in your own language and what's with that said what does it taste like? What else you taste? We've got grapefruit do you taste these various vegetative nous to it? Yeah it's very it's kind of green just like what is that quote I think we can use the flavor green that's fair I think it's very fair I actually taste a little like the jalapeno green bell pepper anything a little bit it is isn't it? Do you taste your parents were yeah no it's not it's not real at all in fact that's what this is all about it's in fact quite grassy green apple yep yeah it's not a real lush like golden delicious it's definitely green green I mean what else do we taste I'm getting some like cranberry before you make cranberry sauce on at all the sugar you know, maybe that sort of spirit like I like it yeah which is like really yeah it starts snappy goodbye like tired yeah yeah that's good and fresh and crunchy right it's a big tackle thing definitely what else? Okay, so that's good way train your brain enough I think that's what I think that I actually think that's pretty much all the wine has to say it doesn't have a ton to say um but you know it is what it is so fruits we just did our list earthy did we say anything earthy? No. So that corroborates our idea that this is what a this is one is from where new world awesome oak yes or no no oak you got to be you've got to ask yourself you know that there's no oak in these wines because this is the set up of the lesson but it's important to always ask yourself that question and when you do that then you own the lesson you put the put the nugget in your pocket a little bit of knowledge iq oh yeah there's no oak because it doesn't have all of this stuff right that's important so keep keep with that rigor tan his own apply let's talk about alcohol where is it where you get the taste it and tell me how it feels you mind okay I think media minus we need to find the guard rails again yeah I think we're going to get more medium it's medium yeah a little bit of winging it is yes it's right the middle it's not as high or medium plus as the napa valley chardonnay was but it's probably about the same as the as the marceau was that we had in the last lesson the white burgundy and check it is the same twelve and a half percent so just like right in the middle and so it's important I mean I know you guys drink a lot of wine and is your tasting really really think about that so you can you can start to put the brackets on it and then you know over time it just becomes natural because you know where the guard rails are right so you have this is medium so what does that tell us if we take this is medium alcohol we can also make an inference again about the climate which would tell us what is a cool temperature or hot cool yeah cool the temperate right because if it were warmer you would have more alcohol right everyone's adding that math up right more warmth more sugar, more sugar, more alcohol cool let's keep going acidity totally off the charts high that's a function of great and place right so beyond block is a high acid grape on dh in fact in new zealand in marlborough where this is from it's a cool temperate climate so it's going to exaggerate that if we grew the same grapes in napa it would have more acid than the chardonnay we drank in the last lesson but it would have a whole lot less than this you good with that? Okay cool length. Where are we weighed iam I'm coming the medium spot yeah yeah it just kind of like it feels like a pounder yeah, it doesn't feel like it's not that it's unserious but she's like this is great just like wash it down sort of thing right? Good iced tea alternative e I mean like not despairing sense but in a casual sense like this is great just casual table wine right and it's gonna make your mouth water to make you want to eat and drink and eat and drink me there there it goes okay is it balanced? This is we really have to separate I can see you guys I can see it's being they have to separate ok, that doesn't have anything that's it's over exactly that's a that's a great answer despite big acid its balance yeah you guys all agree with that jessica you look like you're still moments I'm not sure about balance it so importantly we want to we really want to detach ourselves from this and remember it's objective and not subjective this isn't my okay with that personally that level acid it's like does it really stick out in the end on the finish tickets all lanky right now I don't think it does I think yeah it's bright but then he like does this job I guess I think I need to compare though not balance hoping you didn't bring I didn't bring it definitely did bring is that you are defined I'm sure you find one awesome so once we run through this we're going to run it against the next one so we know this is which why now let's turn back to you why why is it new world number term out of nothing doesn't have the other thing is exactly that's a great reason okay and the cult the climate is what he called a temper cool the temperate why because it was uh hi awesome now that's part of it part of the acid part of it's the color of part of its remember what we're looking for here out the viscosity which is an indication of how much alcohol are exactly right so because it's medium you're in the temperate spot age is a matter for now grapes or blends you know what else could this be? You know other white grapes that aren't aged in oak well includes pino grigio which we're going to taste and reasoning which we're gonna taste and gruner veltliner and all these other things and just like you asked the last lesson why is that chardonnay? By the time we're done with all three of these wines, you'll really be able to say like ok, why is this soviet bloc right? So we're gonna hold that in reserve until the very, very end so let's go back to the beginning and which one do we want to do next? You have any questions about this so far? Vanessa? Um so just so I understand correctly the balance so if something is imbalanced is that just the definition of bad wine um or a can something not be balanced but still be good wine but not really right qualitatively start to pull off of that yeah, yeah got it. Yeah, yeah imbalances it's everything balance and sent the place right you can have a sense of place and not be balanced but and then the wheels fell off. I mean, ultimately what is one supposed to do is supposed be drinkable that xp your function is to refresh and drink and back when you know the roman armies with poison the water you drink the wine because it was safe I think that's that's how it went and and so I think it's important to to never let it become divorced from that that it's supposed to be refreshing the beverage on dh when we do that, then ok, so you fundamentally start with is it bounced? Do you want to drink it? Right? Is balanced? One of the things that also could depend on the glass? Because if I go to a bar that's more of a whiskey bar and it seems like they just fill it to the rim of the wine, it always tastes pretty mucky no matter what it is. And I don't know if that's just equality or and I should have been put in, like two glasses. That's a great question, there's, I never want to discourage you from drinking, but if you're in a west zebari probably shouldn't order the wine, you know when in rome, right? Um but that is a side on my perfect whiskey. Maybe, but we're working on that where they have a book for you. So, it's a great question. A lot of times. And as I talked about the wine culture in america is still very young. The service of wine is, you know, is part in parcel with that so it's oftentimes not well done, so yes, it's definitely. A little bit of party foul to fill it all the way up you know unless you're at a party and getting back to the bar is going to be hard and you're just trying to cop one right but apart from that it makes it less easy to enjoy but it won't change the balance you know you really don't feel balance until it's in your mouth and it doesn't matter how it got there you know you could do it out of a test tube turkey baster you know out of a can whatever you know anything but it is how it got in there doesn't matter it's what's happening once it's in there right mean it will certainly affect the romas but that's not where we're determing balance I was comparing it tio a lot of times if I go too just like a local italian restaurant sometimes we'll even put the wine in a little cup and it's always very inexpensive like five or six dollars and that's usually good yeah it's great totally well and there you know it's in tying restaurant where they have you know hopefully generally a riel idea of how food and wine are you know they're in cm either meant they're meant to be together and so there's a sensibility and the winds probably from italy and you know what grows together goes together and that whole thing's your just set up for a success in that instance, right? Yeah at the whiskey bar is probably something like you know, some brand I won't mention that is comes in a great big jug or out of a box you know it you're not set up for six part right in particular yeah your odds of success are much lower than other questions so if you were to go toe not a wine specialized restaurant or anything like that, where would you be able to find good wine that's accessible to just kind of the average person you know going just to get a drink with their girlfriends or yeah, I mean a cheaper scale yeah, the good news? Well, no, you can definitely be affordable. Yeah, right and affordable that's relative term but I mean it's never been a better time to drink wine anywhere in the world particularly here in america mean there's just so every year there's more and more great wine there more, more great choices it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg so for sure it's a better time than ever before for sure it's also still really easy to make a mistake like you can go to paris and it's really easy to get bad food you know it's it's a reason to do the same to same thing here you know it's really easy to get bad wine at every turn but it's also never been easier to get good wine so, depending on where you are, I mean francisco it's, it's, super easy. I'm staying downtown. You can walk in any direction, you know, two blocks and find something great. Yeah, yeah, it's be encouraged, not discourage.

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.