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Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 19 of 21

Tasting Method - Darker Skin Reds Conclusion


Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 19 of 21

Tasting Method - Darker Skin Reds Conclusion


Lesson Info

Tasting Method - Darker Skin Reds Conclusion

all right, the last wine, which is Glass B. It's worth looking at this color and then referring it to either a or C because there are some subtle differences that I think are worth worth noting. What do you see? There's some It looks like a little more browning. Yeah. Yeah, it's orangy towards. Okay, great. Outside. OK, but still within, within the dark skin skin area, but definitely more on the garnet side. Okay, that's great to know. What does that tell us either? Older. Yeah, well, there are more oxidative winemaking style. Great. You're all over it. And it's actually quite dark, isn't it? There? Yes. This is this a really opaque varietal Are more more so than many. Um, I can actually I cannot read through it right through the center, but it does have that little bit of Garnett tension. Good for you for picking that up. That's really smart. Um, okay. What do we look at next? What's the next piece we look at, right? We can look at brightness. Yeah, while it's tipped over. What color ...

is it at the rim? Still pretty red. It's a little areas. Plenty and more pink. I think there's a slight bit of brick click creepy in on this. Yeah. So what does that tell us? It's good to find that it's subtle, but it is there. And if you make that real observation, don't Don't talk yourself out of something. You see, like, you hear agreement with me guys like, yeah, it's there. So it's starting to experience a little bit of oxidation. Right? Everybody see that? Yeah. Great. And is there a clear water band? Perry's? Um, it's small. It is? Yes, smaller. Almost. Exactly. What does that tell us? You own this by now. Okay. Um, so that has to do with the temperature? Yes. Yes. You're bad with a full count man. You got to get it right. That is the temperature of the mawr. There is the warmer it is right. That means there's little monitor cooler, temperature switch. Son of a it comes. The wider is the cooler. More moderate is exactly so this is warmer temperature. Exactly. And why? Why would it have a larger band if it were a cooler temperature climate? Just think about think about just rightness. Yeah, so yet it's Where does color in red wine come from the skin. Okay, Great. And if the skins air less ripe is in a cool climate, what's the band gonna look like? It's It's going to be, um, ask your friend to write. What's it gonna be, John? Uh, the skin there, there. The color is gonna be more prevalent. It's not gonna grading this as much. Right? So if the Skins Air riper, you know more color, and it's gonna push to the edges. And the Clearwater ban will be smaller writes in a cooler climate, the skins air less ripe. So there's less color, so the band will be larger. Exactly. Got it. Got it. Yeah, it's I hope I get inverse relationship that you gotta grasp. It's actually very easy. It's not. I'm not saying one plus one plus one equals eight. Yeah, same one plus one equals plus one is three. Right? That's really all it is. Just cost you add it up. It's like all of this. It's very, very simple. If you just do all the steps. Totally. Okay, cool. So this is a dark skinned red wine. Um, that may have seen a little age, right? How bright or not bright is it? Bright, dull, cloudy? I don't think it's like the other two. It's a little more dull. It's dull. I totally agree with that. It's definitely it's definitely dull. Is there any sediment? Yes. No, there's no. Do you see particulates in your glass? I did. Yeah. John, we verify for us. Just I don't see any of my neither does anybody else have any sediment. Okay, cool. How about risk, Casady? What's the viscosity here? Exactly Right. It is medium. Plus, they really hang in there. They're thick, they're gooey. It's not quite like import again. Or some 18% you know, alcohol, red one. But they're definitely medium plus. Which tells us what. Okay. Great. And what else does that tell us? I sugar, Let's say medium plus alcohol, which comes from the sugar. So you don't need to say that the sugars all been converted. There's no there's no sugar left. The sugar became alcohol, which is meeting plus. And where do we get that? You get in the same place that you get the small Clearwater band. Oh, from the O Brien something. You set me up here. Uh, you get a small Clearwater band in the same place. Get elevated alcohol. What kind of climate is that? Warmer. Exactly. Ok, yeah. It's actually that easy yet. Right on. Okay. Questions. Do you feel good about it? Okay. Jessica, will you please walk us through the nose? Sure. What do you smell? Hold on. Oh, it was very different in the last two. It ought to Yeah. Is that fine? Yeah, it is. Because they look the same. We're similar. That doesn't mean they are the same. I'm smelling spicy, Spicy cinnamon e. I think you have something. Maybe some banana, maybe some vanilla to the earth. One of the hardest for me. Okay, So the earth one is the hardest for you. That the best way to answer that question is ask yourself, Is it just about fruit or fruit and oak cars or something? Or is there something else there? I feel like there's something else there. Okay, Great. So then it's not just about fruit and oak, So therefore, there probably is an earthy things here, right? So that's that's the first step, Flu. Just get into the idea that getting comfortable with the idea that yeah, Okay. There's something else there and then we can go on like, search for and try to name it. But just even getting to the place for you like okay, I'm really comfortable with the idea that, yeah, there's something else going on just beyond grape and oak, right? So what else we snow, all of us is that pretty typical for, like, somebody to be able to pick up like the earthy tones a lot better than they are to pick up the fruit in the oak or the everyone's different, like so thistle is meant to be very self referential, and that's what makes it meaningful to us. So, you know, I might smell my grandmother's ginger snaps in a certain wine, and to me, that's just awesome, like, you don't know what those smell like, But that's OK, you know. And so certain people say, Oh, you know, I'm all over the earthy thing it reminds me of this vacation reminds me that time, you know, whatever, it maybe that's the joy of wine. So we remind all of us of different things independently, Um, and that's cool. And so, for some people, they'll they'll be more in tune with those tertiary aromas and other people will be more in tune with the fruity aromas. Yeah, cool. I think that's why it's so hard. Okay, great. Does this feel like California? No. There you go. So that's your path. That is your path is to say, Okay, this isn't like the thing. I know. That's That's the beacon. That's the lighthouse for you. Like, OK, I know what that is over there. This isn't like dials. Therefore, it's something else, right? And so now what we've done last cold day that you put other little lighthouses out there and you can triangulate off of these things to figure out where we are, right? Makes sense. Yeah. Okay. Awesome. So, what else do we smell? Everybody. What's your laundry list? Like clay or something? Very earthy or mossy? Totally. I agree with all that. Vanessa, what do you smelling? Very earthy. Um, I want to say black licorice. Even though we're not talking about. Take it. Yeah, it's great. We're talking about whatever you want to say. That's that's the joy of this thing. I'm gonna add leather like saddle leather. Yeah, it's in there, isn't it? It's definitely older Leather. Pretty cool. What else is in there? They have some plum. Plum. Great. What kind of club? Red plum. Red plum. Like a dark red plum. Yep. That's right. I'm out with. Yeah, it's definitely dark. Dark. Definitely dark to me. I get a lot of fruits that are not fresh. They're cooked. It's like figs, prunes, black plums. But they've all been there cooked. They're not fresh and crunchy. Do you feel that? Yeah. Yeah, that was pretty interesting. It speaks to to climate. Speaks to age, speaks toe, speaks to winemaking. Couldn't get any fruit, though. So that was part of my Yeah, I think no fruit. All Yeah. Yeah. Almost Onley Smell the earth stuffed with Michael? Almost like pine to in there? Yep. Yep, Definitely. I think that that that you guys are experiencing that I couldn't have asked for better results. Like, that's really cool. Mean, it shows you a that there is diversity here. Be you're doing objectively, and then see when you take it home with you. You know, aside from being able to do this better, understand better you you know, like what you like. Okay. I don't really like the pretty stuff. So I want to go Think, Tink! Tink! Tink! Tink! And drink this. That's why I asked that question. I was like, I don't smell any fruit in here. I'm afraid I don't know how to smell. The difference in for is totally, Totally. Yeah. Yep. Yeah. Everybody knows how to smell. It's all about using your language. What else? Ready to taste it? My mouth is watering. That smells really good to me. Oh, everyone do the tanning thing. Yeah. Wow. Right. Wow. It's got quite a lot. Okay. What do you taste? Yeah, child or your lips? Yeah, that's Yep. And you definitely get the cooked fruit. Okay. After the tannins. Yep. Yeah. Like you baked plums. Yeah. So let's do this way. All just stuck it up in here. Let's qualify those tannins. And then I want you to take another drink and not stick it up in there. Right? So what are the tannins? Medium costs high. Yeah, They feel sort of like the nebula tan from the light skin red bridal. Right. And that crazy. So again, here's tannins, like same tannins, totally different grapes. Totally different expressions in every other way. But that piece they actually have in common, right? So it's a medium plus toe. High tannin. There were good with that. Let's drink it again. What do you taste? That's good. I taste the leather. I taste your licorice taste earthy. What? Levi? What leaves? Dirt Stone? Yeah. It tastes more like the fruits to me or more like the cook fruits we talked about. Like composts like fig and plum prune sorts of things. What else are you tasting? I don't know how to describe this, but it hits on more of, like, the comfort food area. You know, like more. Um, I definitely getting a warm sense. A warm sense, Like physical or or mental. That, but also just stuff. Flavors of it are more like comforting. Okay, so in those flavors might be things like brown spices. Or, um, I don't find its that spicy, mean picante, but like aromatic Lee Spacey. Yeah. Okay. I don't know. I don't know how. Just what's comfort food for you? Um, you know, it might be more kind of like a steak or a fatty or something with more substance. Okay, great. So back to the food wine pairing thing. You probably want to pair it with something like that, right? I mean, I want to eat Castle A when I taste this or leg of lamb or something like that. Yeah. How about OECD? We taste any flavors that would indicate oak ageing, maybe Like a little sentiment, but yeah, some vanilla. So this is great. This is We're making some of these examples difficult than others. So the answer is yes. They're just really subtle. That's important. It's important to find that you don't be like, Oh, no, it didn't hit me over the head. So it's not there like, No, we're better than that. You know, we're smarter than that. There were better detectives and that we're gonna find it if it's there. And you have found it, right? A little bit of seven. A little bit of analysis is okay. It's seen oak. What kind of oak? It's a French Franchot. Okay, Great. And how much of it was a whole bunch of new wood or very subtle? Maybe an older barrel used barrel. Subtle. Yeah, exactly. So you start to think about that. Yesterday we talked about what his new barrel cost. It's expensive. So, you know, older barrels could be a winemaking choice for budgetary regions. That could be a winemaking choice because that's what the wine is going to wear. Well, it could be part of the tradition. There are lots of reasons, but once you start to understand okay, this is likely used barrel. That's one feather that doesn't let it fall on. Yes, is his Napa Valley Cabernet? No, it's not. It's not how that how that functions. That feather falls on a different part of the scale and starts to tip it into another place. Okay, so we've got the cook fruits. We've got the earthy thing. Do we still taste the fallen leaves that you talked about? Yeah. Do taste anything else that else? Earthy. Sleep late. Great. I love it. Awesome. How about the oak? We just talked about the tannins. We said her medium plus toe high. Where's the alcohol? Here? It seems less than the last one we had. I agree with you. For them, it is in fact, numerically less than lesson. We had trade last last one says 14.5, but you're allowed a fudge factor. So very seldom is the alcohol on the label. The rial. Very actual number. Yeah, everybody marks it down. It's into the loud. What? Mark it down. Um, Why market down? Well, as long as you don't get in tax trouble on cross certain lines, I think that there is a perception that really a negative perception and growing that too much alcohol is is somehow, um, a sign that the wine is may be overblown. Exactly. And you know, I don't want you. Look, if it's Barossa Valley Shiraz and it's 40.5% I'm great with that. I probably don't want to see it at 12% because I know in the Brosa it's a warm climate and Shiraz that likes get ripe. And if you picked it at 12% it's not going to be very good. It's supposed to be elevated, but, you know, do you want to see it at, like, 17 18%? Then I'm going to guess that it's probably gonna start to fall out of balance, right? You know? So it's just you know why do people were blue? I don't know. All right. Yeah. Okay. I know. What do we think? You can only think after you taste it so everybody tasted again. You. I think you need a platform. Yep. It's not high like a vintage port would be. For example, that's really a lot of alcohol, but it's definitely elevated. I think it's maybe not as high as this, but I think it plays in the same range. We also said this was medium plus alcohol, right? It doesn't really feel that. Okay, great. Um, the acidity. Where's the acidity? More than some and not as much as others. Right? That's what this game is all about. So where do we want to put it? Jessica relate the acidity here, too. The Barbaresco, the nebula that we had much less than that. It's much less net okay related to the Shiraz you just drank before I thought that was medium minus on the low side of medium because his medium to be on the high side of medium medium them. Plus, I think that's a great place for it, right? Does everybody feel that? So you know, the more winds you have and the more context you build, the thinner at which you have to parse these things, and so it's not gonna be like they're all like this If they're medium, well, some meeting will be here, and beating will stand over here and meeting will stand over here. But only when you get all the way over here. Is that media minus? You know, I mean, okay, gets a medium a city. Have it the length. That's high. Yes, yes. Really long. Yeah, it's hanging. Yeah. Yep. Totally. I think it hangs with I think all the earthy things that you were you were talking about I mean, is it sits in there. I get the black licorice that finesse talked about again. Its earthy leafy What else? You're feeling it? Yeah, sure. Okay, good. Is it balanced? Yes, it is. Balances really well balanced again. A great example of how you have these different structures, like the elements of structure all over the place. Inter from all the different wines. And yet they can all be balanced. It's really it's a big take away. You're gonna be sitting on your own or with your friends. You're gonna have something with really high acid. And if you don't like it, the temptation to be like you know what? That's out of balance. But that's that's not the right process, the process to think about as the whole. You know? Is it Is it in fact, balanced, right? Can it have high acidity and be balance? Yeah, absolutely right. So really always feel for that because that's the real measure of quality. Okay, so is this an old world or new world wine? Oh, great. Um, let's run it through here. Actually, you do with me. Let's start here. Let's do the fruits. Red fruits or black fruits was a hard one. I think it's more of a black fruit. I think that's a good idea. And does it have some oak or doesn't had Very so Yes, yes. And what kind of ah ha. It'd be French. It would be French. And was it earthy? Very earthy, is very earthy. So you're operating somewhere in here, right? So cabernet merlot like you see in Bordeaux and Cabernet Franc's all board of stuff up here, syrah potentially move Edra or like a green ash blend. So you've had what you had Bordeaux this morning, right? Right. And does this feel like that? Does it have those flavors? No, it doesn't. It's actually not at all like that different, right? Completely different. So, um, sera, which you had from a different hemisphere minute ago. Did those fruits feel like these fruits? The fruits themselves? Maybe. But not necessarily the oak or the anything else. So, yeah, differentiated from your own worlds. What makes this different from that? Well, this one is very heavy on the earthy, yes, components of it. Um, again, the fruit was kind of hard to tell through it, but it was still within the dark fruit area, like thes. OK, but remember, the more very that jumped out. Exactly. Do you find that here? Not at all. Okay, great. So it's a different set of fruits. Blueberries, really a big part of what makes syrah syrah. So the absence of it, it's a good way to rule it out, actually. Right. So that goes out green Ash. The rock carignane has happened together in the south of France. You're going to get a mix of red fruits and black fruits you're going to get, I think, elevated alcohol and perhaps not a whole lot of tannin. We're talking about co Tyrone and shuts. And if the pop, which tend to be high alcohol like this, right, but don't have to have high tannin like this, right? Right. So instead, you're left with something that you probably never said ever before in your life. I'm guessing, which is this guy? Move Edra, which happens in a place called Bandel, which is right here. And it tends very much so intense it is. It's black fruits, its earthy. It's got high tannin. It doesn't have screaming acidity like the Neb YOLO did you know? But it has more acidity than perhaps the Karen aided dying. It's all these little things to take you again to only this place, right, right south of France. Yeah, great. The very bottom by Cassie's and Provence. And you're there and made a very historic style where it's a little bit of an oxidative winemaking situation. But also, if you looked at age range to 5 or 5 to 10 years, I mean, 05 is pretty primary. But you're at the edge of this, actually, and we found, because it's been oxidized, right, because of the color. Exactly. See, you might push into the next range 5 to 10 and in fact this is five, almost six years old in 2000 and nine. Pretty cool, right? So you can start to see how that actually works. And that resolution starts that happen. Um, OK, great to have questions about this. Yes. Is experiencing some of that more full body feel like that comfort I was getting because it's aged longer. It's a good question. You know, I think that it probably has something to do with it. The fact that there's a resolution you're starting to see patina happen. You're starting to see tannins get resolved. They make longer and longer chain, so your palate can't feel them to the same degree. When we had this, if we had had this when it was just released when I was young, it would be really hard to be a hard, tannic mouthful of stuff. And I bet you wouldn't feel particularly comforted by that, you know? I mean, yes. So once it starts, have have that resolution in texture. It allows you to enjoy the flavors which you're clearly associating with, You know, your comfort foods. Yeah. So this this is this is what we've got. This is the end of dark skinned Read. Write als. What questions do you have? Do you feel you can differentiate these things? No, it is. Yeah. I feel like the dark skin ones were kind of harder to I feel like the light skins were really easy. Like, yes, it's High City. That's high tannin, or these ones are very more like melded together even though they're still complex like that. Exactly as you go along. I'm trying to show you how the differences become Maurin more subtle, But still, you have to find the edge. You have to you know where. How do you separate these things? Right. And in the end, do you feel like these air, all these air, very distinct examples from three different continents? Yeah, and so that makes sense. Yeah. Questions, Yes. It seems like we've been running to a lot of different variables with all these wines, but exactly. Overall, it seems like all of them have unbalanced. Yes, you associate wine that's well, bounce with being a high quality or are very much so, yes. Are there some unbalanced wines that are still very good because it's a well, that's, you know, subjective objective. You know, I would say personally when I make a judgment for a whiner when I made a judgment of a wine for wine list as a simile. A. That's a moment when when I wrote a wine list, I didn't write a wine list of things that I just like, because that's not its only his job, but somebody whose job is to be an advocate for a consumer. That's that's a key. And it's not say like ham the cool some in the world and you should drink what I like. That's a mistake that that sucks and doesn't serve anybody well, except for the Somalia's ego. It's for me to have a discussion with or for somebody to have a discussion with the diner and figure out what do they want, right? And then they might want something that doesn't at all appeal to me. But I have to give him a great example of what it is they want, and to give him that great example after be an objective taster and say, an arbor of like what is good quality, you know? And so while I may not love this style of chardonnay, somebody does in that needs to be on my wireless because my job to make them happy. Does that make sense? And so in that calculation, when you do that, it's, um it generally comes down to balance. Is this thing balanced right? Sometimes if wines air out of balance, other things are likely to go wrong. You know, it might re ferment, or it might be oxidizing too quickly. Or it might have too much alcohol and be out of balance in a way that's not gonna give it any shelf stability. And if it's and it's hard to predict, you know, I can't like by that as its away and then expect to sell it tonight if it's got a really limited shelf life. Yeah, that's actually something you see. Two. When there's a guy that dines out six or 700 times a year, you see a lot of wine. Listen, you can see like, Oh, I understand where the wine director went a little too heavy on stuff that he really need to sell that year. She needed to sell that year, and now it's a couple years down the track and it's a time bomb, you know. So so it really does, you know, in that sort of situation. Come a point where you do have to say objectively. You know, this is this imbalance. Is this a wine of quality? Right? Personally, You know, people like all kinds of weird things. You know, you just got back from Spain and as drinking all kinds of blown out oxidative, yeasty, funky, high acetic acid, a k working its way towards vinegar, ciders and wines in this little corner of Spain. And they were perfect there. Right? And they made a lot of sense with the food and the place in the time. And are they had a balance? You probably Are they perfect with the place? Absolutely. So does it make sense? They're totally does it make sense then, Like, bring those wines to your restaurant two or 3000 miles away and have him sit around and be less fresh and less on point with the food that they're meant to go with. Probably not. Do you know what I mean? So it's really situational. Okay, Awesome. The and the next segment. We're gonna one more wine in the next segment, and then you're gonna There is there are no clues. You're not going to see, the ball is going completely blind. This is a good last minute to ask any questions you may have regarding this process. That is the test a little nervous? There s any question. No, I think everyone online is really grasping everything and following along, which is great on. Yeah, just let you. Okay, let's Since that's that's their the last riel in depth use of the method we're going to do together. I want to bring it back to how can you do this at home? And what are some fun ways to make this interesting for yourself at home? You know, of course, if you if you download the power point, the whole thing, you should use that to build your context if you really want to learn about wine using that method. But what if we wanted to be just a little bit more casual will be a little bit more fun and you're going to get together with your friends on a Friday night and you don't want to be super scholastic, but you want to be to be interesting, entertaining and learn something. They're a couple ways to do it, and one is with this. You know, we've reviews the method, but we keep referring back to this. So, um, bring winds blind, right? And that's that's something actually do with my friends. Quite a lot is we do a lot of blind tasting and not to be so academic about it. O r. One upsmanship about it. But to really figure out, you know what? What is what? What makes the one what it is just like we have been. So if you have the map and everyone brings the wine blind, you can work through this thing and figure out where are you, right? And so over time you actually get better and better at it. You could up the stakes with with point number two here, and this is a really fun thing to do with your friends. So let's say we're all gonna have dinner. Everyone's gonna bring a wine blind, and but you have to bring two of them and it's competitive. So the best you know, the wine that's judged the best wins and takes the second bottle of all of them home with him, right? So that's that's a great thing to Dio. And if the requirement is you have to bring to wiles of the same wine, right? So you can't bring ah, thoroughbred to win the competition. But, you know, put some garbage in the pot in case you don't. So it really it's an incentive to a, you know, bring great wine to win. But bring great one for whoever actually does win. Right? Fun. Great. I encourage you to do this.

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.