Become a Great Wine Taster


Become a Great Wine Taster


Lesson Info

Tasting: Comparing Whites with Oak

I'm thirsty so let's taste and let's taste the mayor 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 to always do the same exercise every single time is swish it around a little bit like think of it almost like that list serene moment so get it between the cheek in the gum and swell 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 and 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 I'm pulling line threat I hear you doing it are pulling air through it it's worthwhile when you have it in your mouth like suck a little air through it and kind of all ties is everything and it makes it actually easier to taste you takes more stuff don't pay attention to the method for a minute tell me what you taste anything lemon ryan lemon right great...

jessica anything what's happening your mouth um vanilla, vanilla, lemon rind, vanilla my mouth is watering yeah, 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 postulator right now I just gotta crack the eggs what? What else is happening in mt? A little more alcohol and acid than I thought it would have. Ok okay more alcohol and more acid which is great. Okay, what else definitely asked definitely the acid the terror while we're talking about the white stones that's like okay take lots of wet stone's exactly into oregon that's the word used a couple times today and that's this french where looks terrier with the vowels flipped so terroir and it's it's really? Uh it's an idea that the ryan reflects the wine reflect its place and its environs in its entirety from the soil to the aspect of the slope too 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. Other other world words people use besides tara wall I used a neck sprechen sense of place okay I think that's that's key and that sense of place comes back to wei began this class 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 the same time if you want to it's all about sense of place what else do we taste? Very I taste words some coke 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 like I'm like horrible at deciphering what it is that I'm tasting but I definitely some strong toast in there awesome and then 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 means toasty and like vanilla and so now you have that and it just becomes the whole exchange we come much more right? Quick, right what? You're tasting? Yeah. That's upset just like overall I like a strong drinker acidic like everybody said, like my mouth is really watering compared to the other one. Okay, so definitely is that, um spices like not nothing strong but some subtle spices. Okay, so subtle spice is that's great that comes from the oak and I think the fact that you say subtle that's really important write it speaks to yes it's seen oak but not a whole lot of newark or maybe second use oak, right? So it's there but it's just it's a quiet season were whole battle exactly anything dad I think it's not necessarily taste this muchas mouthfeel but not the taste of pineapple but the way that it feels act you eat fresh like that fresh cut pineapple yeah yeah yeah and so that comes from the acid is cool, isn't it so it almost like stripped your palate right? So if you come back to your like your pairing thing you know what? What works together? You know do you want to have this with you know something that also is going to strip your palate and probably not but maybe a chicken might be a great idea so against the bread and butter thing you put things together that they're gonna make some sense so that was good is really great how that unhinged just throw it out there it's easier that way than if I say ok give me the fruits and then giving the earth it's really important just like you know get it out ok 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 what else was on our fruit list? Pineapple exactly that great fruit grapefruit great what color is the grapefruit in this case? Uh this one's a bit more sour okay, so maybe more white grapefruit then read I'm totally good with that so three fruits were good do we talk about earth? We did yeah, we all take 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 this place and wood we did we said subtle spices toast all these 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 taste the subtle spices those all go to the wood boxes say check yes it's seen oak and it's subtle tan his own apply it's not a red wine alcohol where's the alcohol here in if you want to check yourself on this um I think about how you can either taste it or think about how it relates to the napa chardonnay which you've already tasted in the previous medium and lower me exactly right. So now now you're getting the idea of how to how to build your context. So if the napa chardonnay was medium plus where is this? This is less okay now I'm goingto 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 super tragedies, but over time you're like, ok, I want to call that medium onions, but actually this is me and mine is so therefore this guy is medium just sitting right in the middle got it okay about acid remember this guy? We're going to 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 horrible. You won't taste high taste the middle glass tasted so you walk 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 context billion context building in context making right came and talk it's like so much acid salivating everyone feel this so we're good with medium plus asset here ok? And how about length? Long tie? Yeah, still there before we taste of the south block. Yeah, I agree. I agree there weren't feeling that yeah ok, so very, very long. High length and balance is it bounced right? 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 is a shrill I think I don't think so either yeah fits right in there, right? It's not what you were tell you where and where is it? Well, it's balanced okay, great. Do the exact same thing with the nap. Rashard megan yes, on the balance there are you balancing the acid with the fruit and the wood and the chair wall all of 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 I think the place where we see things fall out of balance sometimes will be there's, not enough acidity so something will feel too flabby. You'll just feel don't feel weighty and it's like you know it could it will feel like maple syrup for example like you know, people serves thick and heavy, but if you squeeze some lemon on that were 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 and 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 levin that's going to really shrill you know and it's not going to feel good and you feel like the enamels coming off of your teeth right? So it's just it's what sticks out right? You know the sugar stick out or does the acid stick out in the case of red lines is it 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 going to relate it tio to the mayor so as we go oh 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 ok great now let's teach okay great yeah it's good to give it a quick smell and now drink it it's not a whisper that's for sure spring it's definitely louder yeah yeah me it's like a meal on its own actually, you guys aren't spitting either I think that's good policy witness to it pardon me compared when you go from one to the other you then you kind of I feel like you chewed on would you do a little bit you really do okay cool yes so ignore this you're saying let's just keep talking so it takes like you're chewing on wood what else do you taste anything all of you gonna have to answer that great red grapefruit so more right than the last one that's important letting a bit of like a tart cherry tart cherry ok so and around your mary okay 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 than 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 food stands out for me because I do not like grapefruit so ok and is a little too bitter for me so yeah exactly yeah does have that sort of pity moment great what else? Well I think I mean to the word the oak but also it's that richness the buttery nous and toast this we talked about what awesome! So butters 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 you can 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 but it's now that all of the only thing I can smell it taste in this do you like it scarcely a tangent just different like I would never picked it up and know that I smell it it's all I can smell taste very cool but remember anything else beyond that is a little bit of vanilla okay underneath the butter okay, 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 thinking. What else do we taste some ginger I'm good with that that's exotic and fun yeah, ginger me with some apple awesome. What kind of apple? Huh? Green golden delicious red I want to say more green. Okay, so really tart? Yeah, ok. Yeah, for sure. Awesome. Well done what else? One last thing I would just like overall is heavier like I'm just thinking it's a lot heavier like a more stronger I agree with you totally hundred percent so cinema or movies you go into the movies? Yes, yeah, exactly yeah movies popcorn hold it ok 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 going talk about those flavor and second but with that said fruits here are I heard sour cherry I heard apple her ginger what grapefruit parable ok I think you said exotic right when you tasted it more exotic right from right and right burn exactly in raper passionfruit strong like that that's really good ok cool so more exotic for sure um ended them again that makes sense based on what where do you get those things? Tom foreman warmer climate exactly as opposed to marissa which is cooler climate so start to make sense there so if you feel this 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 nothing I think I totally agree with you so therefore corroborating our idea that this is and you know new world wine exactly. Ok great oak we talked about lots of you said you were chewing on it and cinnamon and toast all these things okay, so we might understand what new barrels exactly which is the thing we tend to do a lot of where yeah 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? Okay, I'm feeling that tens again don't apply alcohol is where medium plus I would be something like a seventeen percent zinfandel or something like that so that would if you want to find your own book and they're this's medium plus for a white is this stilling or do not grade whites versus really I just I tend not to okay I tended not to and as they say that I'm thinking that through you know I tend not to yeah I think it also it all fits on pretty much the same scale on what that said whites are going to sit at the lower sort of eighty percent we're reds might sit at the upper eighty percent like you very seldom urgency and nine percent alcohol red but it's pretty easy to find one on the white side right are you thinking this is high for away? Yes before away it is for the method using the same thing every single time because that's that's the rigor of this thing so we don't so we can't say 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? Ok. So it's got lots of oak. New oak. Um, it's got meeting plus alcohol where's, the acidity medium and relative to the last one relative to the mayor. So lower has less acidity, right? And that speech was again. About what place? Place? Exactly. Ok. And then how about the length has more length? Well, does it? I would just just having different. Different, different. Different. They're both really long, aren't they great. Highlight oak that lingers more than the fruit and the other flavors, right? I agree with you that we feel mohr oak on this one and in the finish, but that's because we're juxtaposing them. But is it just the yolk that accounts with a long finish? Or there are other things happening in this one, I think for me, the acidity that last longer. Okay, just making a 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, see feel the warmth. Yeah, I think the citrus makes the other one last longer. Makes which one? The other more so, marcel. So the burgundy feels more feels. Its length by virtue of the citrus and for me the minerality in the force for 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 that's um citrus on the on the finish but can we agree that they're both long yeah I don't say it's that I would bring you bad ones you know there's the oak on the on the napa but there's still citrus there that yeah yeah there's a deal to cities 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 oak but actually both very different from one another however they can both be long they can both be balanced again back to not what you were tell you where it makes some sense doesn't it? Does the balance change over the age of a wine survey of age thes to one's longer yes they started balanced they necessarily stay in balance over the life of it yes yes they do generally I mean yes and no the 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 with screw top so it's like you can't say, well, the acidity goes away well, 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. So it's 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 you tweak this one well, that one that looks different tweet that one and that one looks different, right? Even if it's all still in there, you know it, says it's a little it's the relationships 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 categorize wines by price, saying that five dollars range is aged and metal barrels, while higher price ranges are aged in wood is this true? Generally yes and no ok yeah so would barrels are expensive and we're going to talk about that later this afternoon but you know brand new really high quality french oak barrel which holds the equivalent twenty five cases cost anywhere from twelve to fifteen hundred dollars that's a lot of money but you get to spread it out over twenty five cases of wine but it's still still costs um if you want to make a five dollars 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 five dollars 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 there's a bunch of these things which are just you know, wood chips they could toasted and you consider min to the to the stainless steel that and it'll take on the okie flavor right? So it sounds like yes and no yes and no ok andi I have another question is well it says so oak from europe is used in the u s a is that correct is american ever use an 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 so rio ha it's you know I don't I've 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 how traditionally has used it. So 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 there for centuries. Yeah, all 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 going to take away that let's see different jake, two glasses of chardonnay they've both been asian oak. Why is one old roland when 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 it's 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 they're there it's when you when you gather all these clues that we've been gathering and the closure of the things you've just spat out when I asked you to talk their little feathers and you drop him and they fall on one side of the scale or the other and why one feather may not tipped the scale in the direction of old world or not it's it's the congress of feathers so in this case one of those feathers was the fact that it's it's not is ripe you know it's more subtle fruits another feather you mentioned is the sense of earthy nous the forest floor the stones that everyone's tasted that's another feather and together those two 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 write 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? How warm it was ok of alcohol and alcohol by way of warmth and rightness, right? And so which one had more? Um 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 the grape so it's just the climate it's just the climate is is that cool? That's michael it's pretty cool so right you were backing into what's the white world of wine about by virtue of being a good taster age range we'll skip that for now braves we knows they're both chardonnay is not crazy they're both chardonnay could they be more different? Not really not 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 come away understanding what the little nuggets are through using this method that help you understand why something has oak. Why something's new worldwide something's old world questions you mentioned talked about climate warm versus called the different fruits come from based on warm weather and call it a true across different grapes so chardonnay grape persons another great in the same latitude on growing 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 of one of those nuggets that tells you it's of union serve honeysuckle or white flowers or orange blossom that's a really peach and apricot there's a real view gna things that you on ly associate with that grape and so that's again another nugget that you'll discover through your tasting by using this method all right, so again use the method used it the same way every single time you make your observations like ok, I get it that that's unique to vienna for me I might also say that atlanta lynn in 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 ok that's definitely a seminal benchmark or in the case of diverse demeanor with with no woke it always has a leeching that thing all right, so so you know, you think about all those little things every great has its unique signatures 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, going like if it was as warm where the old world same grape yes, different lines would still taste still taste different again. Has the earth yeah, the terroir today so it's the earth plus plus plus it's the earth, it's the rainfall it's the wind direction aspect to the sun it's that pig farm again down the road, like all that matter, everything that I mean, it really matters many great examples. It was a few years ago. Here in the north coast of california. There is the fires, the big fires and so smoke team. It was like a big thing with the winds, because the smoke got all over the graves and it makes the great smoky and well, how does that happen? It does. It really matters. There's a great example of bacchus vineyard cabernet is one of the famous vineyards up north of napa and and, uh, been to a variety of ownership. But at one point he was eighty four. Eighty five was the last vintage where it had this pronounced eucalyptus thing to it always had this eucalyptus quality to the wine and then the new winemaker and and I think it was an eighty five to said, you know what? I hate that thing so they cut down the stand 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 this urbi flavor it's like you not like that's getting it from the ground is getting it from all the stuff that's in the vineyard interplanetary then you're just blowing around in the air it really makes a difference a 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 it tastes 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 physiological whatever is happening in your mouth all that acidity your brain has to process it then you're your tongue starts watering right your mouth starts water in the case of red wine tens it's going to drive you out and 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 words it's all there but it's its relationship to one another it's interesting how the middle one you and like really smell the acid so I wasn't expecting that in comparison but right in that crazy but that's also need because you're smelling something in already making the leap to what you expected it's once you understand the your brain actually does that it's it's a pretty cool linked understand do you think as you try more winds that lessons I d'oh d'oh I think about my own journey and I think about my preference is 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 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 thieves to sessions working through the method you understand that why the method matters yes and understand why we need context do you feel like your context has grown? Yes you feel like you can continue to apply the method to more winds and understand what makes them what they are in there for what the place like where they're from? Sure cool then we've done our job this is great this is going to question more like a comment I just feel like it's fascinating how like both chardonnays but there is so different there I didn't know that they were chardonnays I would never guess that this one from the old world was 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 charred name think that's a great question and 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 the union but if I put it the union from the old world in here even though that might be cooler place it has more exotic fruits and so you're going toe if the napa valley chardonnay pushes this way towards exotic the viewing is also going to push this way towards exotic and then it gets money 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 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 deducted point tasting the world's this large it's white wine is this largest not sparkling it's 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 exactly it's earthy so its old world so you're following me so far so he 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 going to help you here that's so did to get to the answer the possible graves are if it's old world and it's it's cool climate and it's seen oak there are not very many possibilities. It could be chardonnay. It could be seven block and simeon blended together like they do in bordeaux. Ah, you know we're going I'm asking for three so I would probably throw in vienna just for sport or marshawn 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 that the unions out did it taste like land elin and bees wax? Nope so the semi on soviet bloc's out. So what do you left with that's? How you know that's the beauty of this method cool that's how it works it's so cool, isn't it great

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.