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Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 5 of 21

Tasting: Comparing Whites with Oak


Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 5 of 21

Tasting: Comparing Whites with Oak


Lesson Info

Tasting: Comparing Whites with Oak

Let's taste the mere so first and what I want you to do also, and this is becomes more more meaningful with reds. But it's important to just always do the same exercise every single time is swish it around a little bit like think of it almost like that list Doreen moment. So I get it between the cheek and the gum and swallow a little bit of it. So you really feel it everywhere in your mouth. And this is not obviously how we're going to drink wine on a daily basis. But when we're really objectively trying to evaluate a wine, you have to put it everywhere to really exaggerate the feelings and get a good read on it on. I'm pulling line through I hear you doing it are pulling air through it. That's worthwhile when you have it in your mouth like suck a little air through it. Kind of all ties is everything, and it makes it actually easier to taste. You taste more stuff. Don't pay attention to the method for a minute. Tell me what you taste. Anything. Lemon rind, lemon, right, Great. Jessica,...

Anything. What's happening? Your mouth? Um, vanilla, vanilla lemon rind, vanilla. My mouth is watering. Yeah, definitely. I think this is This is important. You just have to just spit it out there. Doesn't have to come in this form. First. We'll make. We'll make pasta later. Right now, you just get a crack. The eggs. What else is happening about a little more alcohol and, um, acid than I thought it would have. Okay, Okay. More alcohol and more acid, Which is great. Okay. What else? Definitely asked. Definitely the acid. The terrible We're talking about the Which stones, That's what. Okay, take lots of wet stones. Exactly. An interwar Oregon. That's a word used a couple times today. And that's this French where it looks. It's terrier with the vowels flipped. So terroir and it's it's really ah, it's an idea that there were eyeing reflects the wine, reflects its place and its environs in its entirety, from the soil to the aspect of the slope, toe to the rainfall to the pig farm two miles away. If if that blows that direction, like anything that affects that site is expressed in this idea terroir. So good. Good for you for bringing that up. Are there other words, words people use besides Tara Wall. I use a new expression, sense of place. Okay, I think that's that's key. And that sense of place comes back to when we began this class. Um, that's the intellectual value and wine. Like when it has a sense of place, it transcends pure alcohol, right? It's not just about party time. It's it can be. And that's fine. But you're also getting smart at the same time. If you want to. It's all about sense of please. What else do we taste? Very dry. I taste woods some oak. OK, but remember, you're you're the detective. What are the signs of oak? Um, what is oak taste like? Oh, man, really brittle. I want to say toast all of that stuff. Yeah. Yeah, all that good stuff. Yeah, like I'm, like, horrible deciphering what it is that I'm tasting. But I definitely, um, some strong toast in their awesome. And now you have that relationship, right? So, you know. Okay, it tastes OK, but OK, right. Vanessa, what does that mean? And then you look means toasty in, like vanilla. And so now you have that, and it just becomes the whole exchange become much more right Quick, right? What do you tasting? Yeah, that's up. Citrus. Just like overall. It's about like Bruce Strong, acidic, like everybody said that my mouth is really watering compared to the other wine. Okay, so definitely days that, um spices, like not nothing strong, but some subtle spices. But okay, Which one? So subtle spices. That's great. That comes from the oak. And I think the fact that you say subtle, that's really important, right? It speaks to Yes, it's seen oak, but not a whole lot of new oak. Or maybe second use oak, right? So it's there, but it's just a It's a quiet piece of the whole Yeah, exactly. Anything to add? I think it it's not necessarily a taste this Muchas mouth feel and not the taste of pineapple, but the way that it feels after you eat fresh, like that fresh cut pineapple. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so that comes from the acid. Just cool, isn't it? So it almost like, strips your palate. Right? So you come back to your like you're pairing thing. You know what? What works together, you know, do you want to have this with, you know, something that also is gonna strip your palate? Probably not, but maybe a chicken might be a great idea, right? So, again, it's the bread and butter thing. You put things together that they're gonna make some sense. So that was good. Is really great to have that unhinged. Just throw it out there. It's easier that way than if I say, OK, give me the fruits and then given the earth, it's really important, Just like, you know, get it out. Okay. And now that it's out, let's go back to our list and make sure that we've covered everything. So, fruits, I heard a lot of lemon. What else did what else was on our fruit list? Pineapple. Exactly. That Great fruit. Grapefruit. Great. What color is the grapefruit? In this case, this one's a bit more sour. Okay, so maybe more white grapefruit than red. I'm totally good with that. So three fruits were good. Do we talk about Earth? We did. Yep. We all taste that. Some sort of stony seaside. What trail? Great. Okay, so it is earthy. So, again, that reminds us. This is probably an old world wine, right? has a synergy with its place. And would we did we said subtle spices, toast all this maybe cinnamon. Exactly. So so see, once we spat it out, it's cool. You're like, OK, this is what I see. And then, like, how do you make sense of it? We're making sense of it. So we tasted the toast. We tasted the cinnamon we tasted Settle spices. Those all go to the wood box. A check? Yes, it's seen oak, and it's subtle. Tannins don't apply. It's not a red wine. Alcohol? Where's alcohol? Here. And if you want to check yourself on this, um, think about how it you can either taste it or think about how it relates to the Napa Chardonnay, which you've already tasted in the previous lower. Exactly. Right. So now, now you're getting the idea of how to how to build your context. So if the Napa Chard name is medium Plus, where is this? This is less okay. Now I'm gonna bracket you guys and bring you up a little bit, right? So this is actually medium right? So we haven't even tasted the bottom end yet. So that's what we're Context comes in and I'm supercharging years. But over time you're like, OK, I want to call that medium on its But actually, this is medium minus. So therefore, this guy is medium just sitting right in the middle. Got it? Okay. How about acid? Remember this guy and we're gonna do it again? We called it medium acid in the last episode relative to that. Does this have more or less or more? It has more. And how much more do you think? Just one level. You won't taste high. Taste the middle glass, taste the Soviet bloc ripping. Right. Okay, So you have a medium. You have a high. So where does the mayor so fall? Right. It's that easy, right? You just have to put these things together getting building your contacts, 1,000,000,000 context, building or context making, right? I came and talk. It's like so much acid salivating. Does everyone feel this? So we're good with medium plus asset here. Okay. And how about length long? Hi. Yeah, Still there. Before we tasted a sad blanc. Yeah, I agree. I agree. There was a feeling that ok, so very, very long, high length and balance is it bounced. It doesn't have a ton of material on the heavier side of the teeter totter, but it has some, and then it's got the acid. But is it too acidic? Isn't shrill? I don't think so. I don't think so, either. Yeah, it fits right in there, right? It's not what you wear. It's how you wear it. And where is it? Well, it's balanced. Okay, great. Do the exact same thing with the Napa Chardonnay. Gin? Yes, I'm balanced there. Are you balancing the acid with the fruit and the wood and the chair wall. All those things, Or how do you think of the bounce? I'm thinking, Does anything stick out? You know, And if it is, what is it, or does it all function together? So, um, I think a place where we see things fall out of balance sometimes will be There's not enough acidity, so something will feel too flabby. You just feel feel feel weighty. And it's like, you know it will feel like maple syrup, for example, like maple syrup is thick and heavy. But if you squeeze some lemon on that, we're like, you know, when you make bananas, Foster right, it's all that brown sugar and the banana and the alcohol, and it's all sweet. And then you put a limit on it in when you finish in the pan, and it actually brightens it up. So it's not just goopy, you know, it makes it stand up. However, if it's just lemon, that's gonna be really shrill, you know? And it's not gonna feel good. And you feel like the enamels coming off of your teeth, right? So it's just that's what sticks out, right? You know, it's a sugar stick out. Or does the asset stick out? In the case of red wines, it's also tannin that sticks out. Maybe, you know. So, um, it's important to just how does it feel, Right? Okay, good. Let's do the importantly, the same exercise again with the Lewis. And you really have to, you know, keep beating these things together to understand here. And I'm gonna relate it Teoh to the mayor. So as we go, so smell the fruits here. What do you smell relative to the last one? I want to say peach, but I don't know if I'm right. I'm good with that. Okay. Great. Now let's teach. Okay? great. Yep. It's good to give it a quick smell and now drink it. It's not a whisper, that's for sure. Mm spring. It's definitely louder. Yeah, yummy. It's like a meal in its own. Actually, you guys aren't spitting either. I think that's a good policy witness to it. Pardoning compared when you go from one to the other, you then you kind of feel like you chewed on. Would you do a little bit? You really dio Okay. Cool. Yes. So ignore this for a second. Let's just keep talking. So it tastes like you're chewing on wood. What else do you taste? Anything. All of you're gonna have to answer great red grapefruit so more right than the last one. That's important. Getting a bit of like a tart cherry tart cherry. Okay, so read or really or maybe OK, tart, cherry pie. Cool like that. They were on this red fruit thing. That's pretty cool. It's really cool. It's not. It's intuitive, but I think a lot of people's then like logical mind would step on their intuitions, and I can't taste like red fruits gets white wine, but of course it can. And that's what we're talking about, which is awesome. Okay, great. What else do we taste? The great fruit stands out for me because I do not like grapefruit. So Okay. And is it a little too bitter for me? So Oh, yeah, exactly. Yeah, it does have that sort of pithy moment. Great. What else? Well, I think I'm into the would the oak. But also it's the richness, the buttery nous and toast nous we talked about. What? Awesome. So, Butters, the diacetyl, the big malolactic conversion toast, Big oak contracting Quite a little more like substance to it. You have wait up. And so that's the alcohol. It actually gives it That viscosity, right? It feels like not oily, like some grapes will feel, but it relative to the last one, it feels more oily, like it's more textural. Right that you're describing. Yes. Cool. Jessica? Yeah. Ever since you said popcorn butter, it's now that all the only thing I can smell it taste in this. Do you like it? Seriously? It was a tangent. It's just different. Like I would never picked it up and know that I smell it. It's all I can smell. Taste. It's very cool. Anything else? Beyond that is a little bit of vanilla underneath. Okay. Underneath the butter. OK, so also starting to sound like a cake. But it's not a cake. It's not a king. It's definitely not a cake. Put it. But I like your thing. Yeah? What else do we taste? Some ginger. I'm good with that. That's exotic and fun. Yeah, Ginger, maybe some apple. Awesome. What kind of apple? Green, Golden? Delicious. Red. I want to say more green. Okay. So really tart. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, for sure. Awesome. Well done. What else? One last thing. Oh, just feel like overall is heavier. Like I'm just thinking bears of the other. It's a lot heavier. Like it's more stronger. I agree with you. Totally. 100%. So, cinema or movies? You're going to the movies? Yep. Exactly. Yep. Movies, popcorn. Hold it. Okay, cool. So now let's look at this and make sense of it. And at the same time related to the mayor. So So we really understand what we know what oak feels like. And why now? We're all good with that, right? So we're gonna talk about those flavor and second, but with that said fruits. Here are I heard Sour cherry. I heard apple. Her ginger. What else? Grapefruit parable. Okay, I think you said exotic right when you tasted it. It's more exotic, right? Right And right, Burr. Exactly. In raper passion fruit strong. I like that. It's really good. Okay, Cool. So more exotic, for sure. Um, And then again, that makes sense. Based on what? Where do you get those things? It's almost a warmer climate. Exactly as opposed to Marissa, which is cooler climate, so starting to make sense there. So if you feel those feel those riper fruits you can start to again make conclusions about the climate. Earthy. Now, I don't think I heard you say anything earthy. No, no, nothing earthy. I totally agree with you. So therefore, corroborating our idea that this is an new world wine. Exactly. Okay, great. Okay. We talked about lots that you said you were chewing on it and cinnamon and toast all these things. Okay, so we might understand what new barrels new barrels exactly. Which is a thing we tend to do a lot of Where? Napa. California Chardonnay. Exactly. Right. So, by picking out all these pieces you keep coming back to Okay. What is it? What is it? What is it then? You understand what happens in this place? You feeling that? OK, I'm feeling that tannins again. Don't apply. Alcohol is where medium plus I would be something like a 17% zinfandel or something like that. So that would, if you want to find your own book, end there. This is his medium. Plus for white. Is this stealing or do not grade whites vs Really? I tend not to. Okay, I tended not to. And as they say that I'm thinking that through Yeah, I tend not to Yeah, I think it also it all fits on pretty much the same scale. And what that said, whites are going to sit at the lower sort of 80% where Red's might sit at the upper 80% like you're very seldom legacy and 9% alcohol red. But it's pretty easy to find one on the white side. Yes, before white. It is for the method using the same thing every single time because that's that's the rigour of this thing. So we don't so we can't say Oh, well, it's high today. and then tomorrow it's It's medium plus. Well, then, then your data set doesn't work right. You always have to put it through the same wringer every single time. Right? Okay, so it's got lots of oak. New oak. Um, it's got meeting plus alcohol. Where's the acidity? Medium, medium and relative to the last one Relative to the mayor. So lower has less acidity. Right? And that speak to us again. About what place? Place? Exactly. Okay. And then how about the length? Has more lengthen lost? Well, does it or doesn't just have different, different, different, different. They're both really long, aren't they great? High length of the spoke that lingers more than the fruit and the other flavors, right? I agree with you that we feel mawr oak on this wine and in the finish, but that's because we're juxtaposing them. But is it just the oak that accounts for the long finish? Or there are other things happening in this one. I think for me it's the acidity that last longer. OK, it's making my mouth water. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, but I'm with you. Definitely. It does. It really does. It makes it makes an impression. Pardon me? The alcohol, the alcohol. So you feel the warmth? Yeah, I think the Citrus makes the other one last longer. Makes which one? The other mere. So So So the Burgundy feels more feels its length by virtue of the Citrus and for me, the minerality in the forest floor, you think. And here in in the Napa Valley Chardonnay, it's more the exotic fruits in the oak that's pushing the length, but I think some Citrus on the on the finish. But can we agree that they're both long? Yeah, I'm saying that it's wind bringing bad wines. Didn't know there's the oak on the on the Napa, but there's still Citrus there that yeah, together. So the studio, like the orange peel, totally like on your back part of your tongue. Awesome. So I give that, like, a good vote of confidence. That's like a big check that, like it's not just oak, right? Right. So therefore, it's pushing the quality, which I'd say is higher, higher than many. And then how about balance? Is it balanced? It is and isn't. This is the cool thing. Like we think about these two wines, both with, but actually both very different from one another. However, they can both be long. They can both be balanced again. Back to it's not what you wear. It's how you wear it. Hey, you make some sense, doesn't it? Is the balance change over the age of a wine survey of age? These two wines longer? Yes, they start in balance. They necessarily stay in balance over the life of it. Yes, yes, they do. Generally, I mean yes and no. There apogee of anyone's really personal. And so we might feel like something begins to stick out over time. Um, but where you might feel that I might feel that it doesn't. So it's a closed system almost in once it's in the bottle and particularly for the screw top. So it's like you can't say, Well, the acidity goes away. Where does it go? It doesn't go anywhere. It's still in there. But the way other pieces evolve and change will affect their relationship to the acidity. So your perception of the acidity may grow, or it may decrease right. Based on how the other things have changed. Its it's a complex system where's not just like It's not just one and one facing. It was like, You know, it's a Rubik's Cube with a zillion sides and you tweak this one will. That one now looks different. Tweak that one. And that one looks different, right? Even if it's all still in there, you know, it says This is little. It's the relationships. Okay, we're getting a lot of online engagement. I just want really quickly answer some of their questions. One of our viewers says, I've heard people categorised wines by price, saying that $5 range is aged in metal barrels, while higher price ranges are aged in wood. Is this true? Um, generally, yes and no. Yeah, so wood barrels are expensive, and we're gonna talk about that later this afternoon. But, you know, brand new, really high quality French Oak Barrel, which holds the equivalent 25 cases, calls anywhere from 12 to $1500. That's a lot of money, but you get to spread it out over 25 cases of wine, but it's still still costs. Um, if you want to make a $5 bottle of wine, you have to figure out Well, you know, can you afford to do that. And so it figures in that math. Generally speaking, a $5 bottle of wine did not spend time in a brand new French oak barrel. But it doesn't mean that they didn't put it in stainless steel and use a bunch of these things which are just, you know, wood chips that get toasted And you can Stearman to the to the stainless steel that and it will take on the oaky flavour so it sounds like Yes and no. Yes and no. Okay, um and I have another question is Well, it says so. Oak from Europe is used in the USA. Is that correct? Is American ever used in the old World? It is actually predominantly not well, it's used in America for sure. It's there's a really long and meaningful tradition of using American oak in Spain. Um, so Rio, huh? It's, you know, I don't have asked that question a lot. Like, how did you first get there? I don't know if it went back on the Pinto in Santa Maria, but for sure, American Oak has been in Spain for a really long time, and Rio has traditionally has used it So, um, as I mentioned a couple segments ago, I don't drink a lot of Rio. How? Because it has a lot of deal, which comes from the American oak, which they've been using their for centuries. Yeah, right. And I think that's it for right now, but we're definitely getting a lot of engagement. So great. Stick around for more on that. Okay, So our last slide, just to wrap it all up between these two wines, so do you pick them both up and let's just talk through this. Do we understand why one is Old World and why one is not based on what you've smelled? Yes, What is it? What's what's the nugget that you're gonna take away that lets you different? J two glasses of chardonnay. They've both been aged in oak. Why is one old world and one not What did you smell? The rightness? That's a part of it. That's part of the nugget. Absolutely, because it's climate. But there are also, in some parts of the Old World, warmer climates. What's it? What's the other little nugget? And importantly, it's not. It's not one thing. It's not like, Oh, this is it This is exactly the reason why it's old world there, there. It's when you when you gather all these clues that we've been gathering and the closer the things you've just spat out when I ask you to talk their little feathers and you drop him and they fall on one side of the scale or the other. And while one feather may not tip the scale in the direction of Old World or not, it's a it's the Congress of Feathers. So in this case, one of those feathers was the fact that it's it's not his ripe. It's more subtle fruits. Another feather you mentioned is the sense of earthy nous, the forest floor, the stones that everyone's haste, ID, that's another feather. And together those to sit on the scale and push the mayor so wind to the old world. Where is the lack of those has the California chardonnay sitting in the New World right? You know what the winds are today, but pretend you don't right, and that's that's the whole key is understanding. What are the pieces in the wine that take you to the place? I feel comfortable with that right? That's the nugget. That's the rial bit of genius. Right? Climate? What were the climatic clues that took you one place or another? Viscosity. Viscosity was one absolutely, which is a reflection of what, uh, how warm. It was okay of alcohol and alcohol by way of warmth and ripeness. Right? And so which one had more? Um A. So the Napa Valley Chardonnay had more because it's a warmer, riper place, right? And the mayor so had less because it's what this is. Cooler. It's just a cooler place, right? So therefore less sugar there for less alcohol. It doesn't have anything do with grape, so it's just the climate. It's just the climate Isn't that cool? That's very cool. It's pretty cool. So right you were backing into what's the wine world of wine about? By virtue of being a good taster age range, we could skip that for now. Grapes. We know they're both chardonnay. Isn't that crazy? They're both chardonnay. Could they be more different? Not really, but really they're pretty different, and but they're both high quality. So there you have it. I mean, ultimately, I want you to feel like you've come away understanding what the little nuggets are through using this method that help you understand why something has oak. Why some things new worldwide? Something's old World questions you mentioned talked about climate warm versus cold, the different fruit skin from based on warm weather and cold it true across different grapes. So chardonnay grape persons another grape in the same latitude grow in the same area. Really guess. Oh yeah, absolutely. So in the Napa Valley they also Grove Union, for example, and one of the banker factors, or one of those nuggets that tells you it's viognier, um, sort of honeysuckle or white flowers or orange blossom. That's a really impeach and Africa. Those air riel view nya things, um, that you only associate with that grape. And so that's again another nugget that you'll discover through your tasting by using this method, right. So again, use the method used it the same way every single time you make your observations you like. OK, I get it. That that that's unique to the union for me. Um, I might also say that Atlanta Lynn and Bees wax speaking of other white wines at Sea Oak, um, are are really unique to semi own. And so when I get those things, like, okay, that's definitely a semi on benchmark. Or, in the case of diverse manner with with no woke, it always has a leaching that thing. Right, So so, you know, you think about all those little things. Every grape has its unique signatures. All right. Question. Yeah. I'm just thinking more about climate. Um, cooler in the old world. Same grape. If it was the same temperature, they would still taste differently, though, right? Like if it was as warm. Where the Old World same grape, Yes. Different lines would still taste. Still taste different again there. Yeah, the terroir. So it's the earth plus plus. Plus it's the earth. It's the rainfall. It's the wind direction aspect to the sonnets. That pig farm again down the road, like all that matter, everything matter. I mean, it really matters many great examples. It was a few years ago here in the north coast of California. There is that the fires, the big fires, and so smoke taint was like a big thing with the winds because the smoke got all over the grapes and it makes the great smoky like Well, How does that happen? It does. It really matters. Um, there's a great example of Bacchus Vineyard. Cabernet is one of the famous vineyards of North in Napa and and, uh, been through a variety of ownership. But at one point he was 84. 85 was the last vintage where it had this pronounced eucalyptus thing to it. It always had this eucalyptus quality to the wine and then the new winemaker, and I think it was in 85 to said it. You know what? I hate that thing. So they cut down the stands of eucalyptus trees at the end of the Vineyard, and there's no more eucalyptus in the wine. Yeah, it's crazy. It's really crazy, you know, in the south of France and the Reds, you talk. You hear them talk about this thing, Garrigues, which is, you know, all the herbs and and this Urbi flavor. It's like it's not like that's getting it from the ground. It's getting it from all the stuff that's in the Vineyard Inter planet. With the vineyard just blowing around in the air, it really makes a difference. Question. Um, I'm wondering why sometimes when I'm smelling the wine. I'm expecting it to, um, taste a certain way. And like if taste is tied to send and everything, why, it seems so much different once I'm tasting it because you're adding the physiological peace, right? So they're the aromas, but then very quickly, that's that's what you get on the nose. But then those you get distracted, your body gets distracted by the physiologic hole. Whatever is happening in your mouth, all that acidity, your brain has to process it. Then your tongue starts watering, right. Your mouth starts watering. In the case of red wine and tannins, it's gonna dry you out in your mouth waters in a different way. So it's so it becomes when you add that element to it again, it's It's that Rubik's Cube, where it's it's all there, but its its relationship to one another. All right, it's interesting how the middle one, um, you and like, really smell the acid. So I wasn't expecting that in comparison, but right in that crazy. But But that's also need because you're smelling something in already making the leap to what you expect it, that it's once you understand your brain actually does that it's It's a pretty cool linked to understand. Do you think as you try more winds that lessons I dio I dio I think about my own journey and I think about my preferences, how they've changed. I would also say I make those assumptions less and less and less and less now. Yeah, that's a great question. Yeah, I've even thought of that. But thank you for the insight being ableto think about that for myself. It's very cool. So you feel like through these thes two sessions working through the method, you understand that Why the method matters? Yes, And understand why we need context. Yes. Do you feel like you're context has grown? Yes. You feel like you can continue to apply the method to more wines and understand what makes them what they are. And therefore what the place like were there from sure. Cool. Then we've done our job. This is great. This is great going. Okay. Question. Um, more like a comment. I just feel like it's fascinating. How did like both chardonnays? But it's there, so different. But I didn't know that they were chardonnays. I would never guess that this one from the Old World with a chardonnay because I expected to be more look stronger and sweeter. So I guess the question is, how would I know that it's chardonnay from tasting? That's a great question, and it also brings a great point. I really this becomes so meaningful and you find all those all the little nuggets we found today because we kept the great, constant other grapes. That CEO could be Vienna. But if I put of union from the Old World in here, even though that might be a cooler place, it has more exotic fruits. And so you're gonna If the Napa Valley Chardonnay pushes this way towards exotic, the Vienna is also gonna push this way towards exotic, and then it gets muddy. It's It's harder for us to see the differences, so we want to use in these these tastings. At certain points you make him, you make it hard for yourself. In this case, we want to make it pretty easy, so these things begin to diverge right away, right? So that's why we take two chardonnays with distinctly different personalities due to place, which is the whole point right? And then to answer a question. How do you know it's chardonnay? If you're talking about deductive blind tasting, the world's this large. It's white wine. It's this largest not sparkling into that large. It's wearing oak. It's this big and it's subtle. So you're definitely in the cinema, right? Not in the movies. So if you're in the cinema, where are you? In the old world, you follow me because it takes the earth. Yeah, exactly. Its earthy. So its old world. So you follow me So far. So So you've gone old world. And what's the climate? It's cool, right? You know, it's young. That's fine. What are the possible grapes? And so you This is I'm gonna help you here. That's so to get to the answer. The possible grapes are if its old world in its in its cool climate and it's seen oak. There are not very many possibilities. It could be chardonnay. It could be sauvignon blanc and semillon blended together like they do in Bordeaux. Ah, you know, we're gonna I'm asking for three. So I would probably throw in Vienna just for sport or Martian roussanne, one of these Rhone Valley grapes, right? But that's That's the whole list. And then you go through it. Is deductive tasting again? So how do you rule things out? You're like, OK? Did it taste like white flowers? Orange blossom in peaches? No. So the unions out, Did it taste like Landel in? And bees wax? Nope. So the same Yann Sylvian blocks out. So what do you left with? That's how you know that's the beauty of this method. That's how it works. It's so cool, isn't it?

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.