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Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 16 of 21

Tasting Method: Smelling The Light Skin Reds


Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 16 of 21

Tasting Method: Smelling The Light Skin Reds


Lesson Info

Tasting Method: Smelling The Light Skin Reds

Now it's smell it. And don't look at this at all. I just want you to smell it and talk anything. You smell your own words. Syrup. What kind of like it? I'm totally on that point with you. Most of strawberry or raspberry syrup. Great. Absolutely. What color? Those fruits, by the way. Strawberries and raspberries. Those red fruits or black fruits. Red. Awesome. I love it all over this. Pardon me. I smell bad. No smell. Vanilla. Great. Perfect. So we've got strawberry raspberry vanilla. What else? More of that jam that, like raspberry jam for Jim. Getting the sweetness. Great. A jam. Okay, great. But we don't want a right now. We only want T. O totally. Okay, so you do. But I also get more of the jam on a we're gonna talk about right now. I'm jamming on. See? What else do you smell in there? Cola. Cola. Boom. Exactly. Yeah. So it's kind like a cherry coke. Almost right. Vanessa, what do you smell? That I was gonna say, Cherry, black. Cherry red. Cherry red cherry. Cool. What else? Somethi...

ng else is a little bit. I almost got higher frequency of the smell like a light vinegar or something. I guess it's I love. Where you going with that higher frequency? Actually, when I smell and taste wine, I think about it a lot, like the musical range, you know, on the basis kind of the easy fat Let's just get it right stuff. Then there's the Meso stuff happens in the middle, but the alto and above with the high tone stuff. That's where the sex appeal is, and that's that's the hard stuff to get. It's the stuff that really seduces me as well. Um, and I'm with you complete. There is something up there, and I think, Well, I'm actually I don't name it. What? What does it smell like? Does it remind you of That's hard? It's almost, It's almost Citrus, but I feel like that's I'm It's hard to tell. I'm right there with you. To me, it smells like orange peel like when it's dried, and it has those like in the potpourri, with a little bit of clove and nutmeg. All that says that's living up there in the ether. It's pretty, isn't it? Yeah, I was thinking like a lemon zest. Exactly. Yeah, so we're exactly the same page, and that's definitely where it lives. So think about that when you smell, see if you can. Okay, there's sort of the Basie deep money stuff, and I think the Cherries kind of live in the middle. But it's that high stuff. The little high notes that sparkle make it pretty great. Okay, that's enough. Now let's take a look at the method and make sense of what we said. We've got Cherries, raspberries and strawberries, which also all fall in this this red fruit side. Um, birth. Do we talk about anything earthy? In fact, we didn't We did not, and that's awesome. It's really great t not. Look at this and try to force it into the questions. It's the right way to do. This process is just hit it out. Just let it flow, you know, stream of conscience and say, OK, that's what I just said. Now how does it fit with the method? Right, So it's a sort of left brain right brain exchange where you're free, and then you have to make sense of what you said when you were free. We didn't talk about anything earthy, and that's good because There's nothing earthy in there, right? It's not. It's not reflecting so much the soil upon which it's grown. Um, how about book? Did we talk about any signs of oak? And we did vanilla. What else? Okay, great and little bit of cinnamon. Yep, and some cinnamon. And to review guys, the we don't want to just say, Oh, is Asian oak. That's not enough. You have to give the proof. And the proof are the flavors. And so, um, oak will taste like cinnamon and vanilla and toast, like literally breakfast host, um, and clove cardamom, all the brown spices in vanilla and toast that all comes from French oak barrels. If you also add dill into the equation, then you're adding American. Those that's the flavor of an American oak barrel. Right? So we didn't talk about Dill, but we did talk about the other stuff so we can surmise what this wine was aged in French oak choked. You guys feel that if we didn't say vanilla and we didn't say cinnamon and we didn't say any of the other descriptors that we said for oak, we would assume What? Yeah, it was an Agent Oak it's that it's really that black and white. So that's why we just have to, like, say, everything that we smell. Then you look at it like I didn't say it. Well, then, therefore, it wasn't there. Right? But I did say it. Well, then don't tell yourself it wasn't. It wasn't age. No. Okay, if you just talked about the fact that you know it, you know, it's it's wearing the What did we say yesterday? The bloody size 11.5 Bruno Molly issue, right? Yeah, probably did it. So that that's what this is about is really just forcing yourselves to make honest observations and then make honest conclusions based upon what you saw. You didn't see anything else. You want to talk about what we smell? My nose is no happening. What? I don't know what may but neti pot. What can I dio what you said? It's kind of you trained your nose to get there, and I don't know, I You know what you're doing. Step one. Exactly. Right. Which is being right here. Okay. My dad was that guy. My dad by Bill means he's probably watching now. Um, he was that guy is like I can't smell. I don't I don't really know what to look for. I don't think I have a very good nose and Dad's all over it. Now you let you get it's just a matter of practice. Like again. When we were hunter gatherers, this thing worked in a matter. That's how you're alive today. It's how the human species propagated. So, um, if it didn't work, then that would you wouldn't be here. But it is, however, the very first thing we forget how to use these days, right? You know, we used these is this and we don't use this that much, especially not in a really meaningful way. Just like Okay, I see hamburger. I have an idea what a hamburger tastes like. I eat it, but we don't, like, really dig in and smell stuff. And so it's a matter of just tuning back into really a very powerful and cool opportunity toe gather information here. I mean, trust me, this one, and then go back to it. That's a great helps me sometimes deficit get lost. Open your mouth to when you smell. Not quite. It's good. Really? Yeah. I can smell the difference. Yeah. Okay, so So that's a great place to start. So grab that work on that and just and see how it goes, All right? Yeah. All right. And hang in there and keep asking questions. I'm gonna hang in there. I'm gonna hang in there, OK? Yeah, it is. Yeah. Exactly. So you're building context. Eso You know, I don't get a lot. Well, when you start to triangulate is he's just named it. And Jessica told you to do it is you start to triangulate off these things, like, Okay, I don't get anything, but Oh, that's something different. Yeah, so then you can start to name it. So what is it, right in this case, is there anything else we want to add to our list of things we smell? We're still in C. We're still in, so we're gonna be here for a little while wasting your time. I could almost say, uh, something kind of spicy. I don't know if it's the cinnamon that was mentioned, but I don't know if it could even be like the pre care. I don't I don't know. Other spices. There are but something a little hint of like when we drink it at my tingle. Oh, that's fun. I like that. I like that. So let's hold that and see what's here. We end up. So based on what we saw, we said, This is a red wine. Ah, young one. A light skin varietal from a cool climate. All right, what else can we say? Based on this yesterday we went through the method we talked about Earth is being a general but meaningful opportunity to decide where this is. An old world wine or a new world Wine And again, generally speaking, there are always exceptions. Generally speaking, old world winds, those from Europe have tend to have more of a new, earthy thing. When you smell it, you find tertiary elements. And again, those congee river rocks. They can be soil. It could be mud. It can be the potting soil you spilled in the garage. It can be, you know, the stream you slipped on on a camping trip. Any of the rain on the sidewalk, any of those tertiary smells. That's what we're looking for here. And we tend to find those when there's a synergy between grape and place the grape expresses the soil and you can feel in the glass that tends happen in the old world. We didn't find that here. So what would we say? This wine could potentially be New world New World Will This got really small, right? So before even tasted you think about where in the new world do they grow? Light skin varietals in cool, temperate climates? Right? And you don't have to answer that. But that's that's where your left, that's it. That's the only possibility for this wine. Just pretty cool. Now I get to taste it. So taste it as you tasted the last one, which is to swirl it around, get it between your cheek and you go home and please swallow at least a little bit of it. It is good, right? But that's not part of what we're doing here. Its objective. I mean, it's And of course, we can always have that conversation with yourself. But importantly, then you separate yourself when you're making the observations. Right? Okay. Cool. So do everyone do that? And because I just asked you do that. What? Start here with the structure, tannins and we didn't have tannins in the equation yesterday cause we're dealing with white wine. In this case, that's that's an element of structure that matters, particularly, were thinking about balance. And so what are those tannins relative to the last one we had? They're lower than that, but on the scale they're not actually low. So let's do this. Let's triangulate really quickly. Grab Glass B, which we're gonna do this all over again and when we do the whole line, but just do the same exercise put in your mouth well, do you feel that? That's way higher and probably even higher than the last one. The one in the last segment, then the Bordeaux. Okay, I want to supercharge your context here and say This is a great example of high tannin. The board of B is the border we had in the last segment, which was also bigger than our peanut. And what we're working with is but lighter than here. I would say that's probably medium plus tannin, So if it's were high, that re medium plus, this is less than both of those. It's probably not low, so I'm gonna help you to settle it right into the medium tanning category. Everyone comfy with that? Yes, what would be a low than on the tannin? That's a great question. So maybe, like Beaujolais Nouveau Or, you know, a really juicy green ash that's made in a fresh young coach Tyrone style, like just easy table line where the where the grapes have the wine when it was made did not spend a ton of time on the skins. First, it was not a tannic grape, and it didn't spend a ton of time on the skins where that's where you extract a nickel, right? So there's all kinds of ways and white production to deal with. You know, do you extract more to extract less? When you're talking about context, you say that go out and try every wine sickened by Okay, that's a medium. That's, ah, medium plaster or not. But is it better to know like, okay, this wine is a medium? Therefore, if I you know the next one tries a medium plus, I don't like it, probably start aiming more towards the lower one. Exactly, because this is all about you, it is, and you and you and you and may on and that's you know in that that's this is the ideas. Like how you find what's going to make you smile. That's the whole point. So right on your on it. That's very cool. Okay, cool. So we've done the tannery. Place it in medium. Now, forget about this again for a second. Just drink it and talk to me. Taste. Yeah. Just haven't Haven't big swallowing. Let's talk about it. It's interesting to taste versus smell, because the smell I had a pretty, um, salt understanding of these different flavor profiles. But now, when I tasted something, stand out more than others. Some things kind of back way, but still, they're all still there, but kind of a different awesome balance. Yep. The packs got a different leader. Yeah, I feel that completely old smell. Yeah. Isn't that cool? Yeah, And if you look at it, one of the great actually, that brings up a good point that I love to harp on. One of the great misconceptions in wine drinking is that if it doesn't have any color, it's not gonna have any flavor. And that's that. That is, you know, the stupidest thing. If I could pick one thing, that's done. That's it. That's the dumb thing to Dio. You know, a zoo? A some of the area. I was poor wine with the table and something. It's gonna be great because it was a big, dark red wine Doesn't mean it's going to be great. Means has a lot of color. And that's it. Like it means nothing else. It might actually be, you know, like dull Cetto is not a very big wine, but it's a really dark wine. You know, there's there's no correlation between quality and depth of color. None. I mean, if it's a cabernet, which is a dark skinned bridal, it probably not thought look like this, right? If it does, yeah, then maybe there is a problem. But you know, all the assuming the constant that the things are what they're supposed to be, color doesn't matter at all. So when you say it's actually bold, that's a good thing. It doesn't look like it if you're basing it just on color. But the fact that it is it dispels that myth. And please put that in your pocket. Remember it forever. Me got it. Okay, great. Tell me what else you taste the cola taste the cola. Do we taste the Cherries and raspberries and strawberries? I feel I feel like they always say that, Like, wine is grape juice. This is where it actually takes, Like grape juice. Yeah. Yeah, it's cool, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it ought to write. That also brings up a good point. So it actually you're talking about the primary flavours are fruit. Yeah, and we're gonna check that earthy box again after you're done talking. And already I can hear the You guys aren't describing anything. That's Earth. You're talking about somebody's fruit forward. Great. What else do you taste? You had something to say. It seems like the the sir be cherry coke. Flavor is a lot more subdued than I thought would be. That lemon is a bit more, uh, essentially, Didn't I thought it would be? And is it an accentuation based on a flavor based on a tactile situation? I think it's more tactical, but great. So let's follow. Yeah, do it. Yeah, do it. Then let's follow that threat Sour flavor in your mouth. Not not a good start, but like Yemen, But it start right heart. Okay, so great. So let's talk about right below the tannins and the alcohol. There's acid, and so you're associating with a lemon. It's not a lemon flavour so much. It's a it's lemon sensation, and that has to do with the acidity. So it's important to, you know, pull this thing apart, looking to the matrix of the whining like what's making it the way it is in this case, you're having that lemon association because there's elevated acidity. Now let's quantify it. What is the acidity? Is it low, medium minus medium, medium plus or Hi, I'm gonna turn to these guys. Remember that sauvignon blanc we had yesterday? We bookended. What is acidity yesterday with the seven you're walking is ripping and so in great thing to do, you know, when you don't feel high acidity, go, go drinks himself in a block. It's a great, great place toe. Find that that context. So with that said, where is this? It's not that it's not. It's not as high as that medium plus media. Plus, I think meeting plus is your thing exactly. Yep, it's more than the Charney, which was meeting exactly so medium plus acidity in a red wine, but it's moderate tannin, right? So that's so. Once you have the tan and read and the acidity read, the world contains get really small. There are not very many red grapes on planet Earth that are from a cool climate, their light skinned dreidels that air young that have hi at elevated assets that 1,000,000 plus acid in medium tannins I can think of to maybe maybe one, right. So that's how went by doing this. You understand exactly why the thing is that the way it is, and they can only have one answer. So medium plus acid, medium tan. And where's the alcohol where we projected it to be medium based on what we saw, we tasting for alcohol, feeling just feeling feeling. Yeah, I think it's in the medium on that one, too. I think it's medium as well. I totally agree you don't get a burner exactly. So if this were if this were medium alcohol, it probably came from grapes that had that potential that had sugar to create that if it were from a warmer place, it might have higher alcohol, right? Exactly. So does that corroborate what we said? about it coming from a cool place. It does, doesn't it? Acidity would also plunge if you if you grew this in a warm environment. So because the acidity ease slightly elevated, does that also corroborate what we said about it? Being from a cool environment? Does so see how it continues to add up? You were going to say something. It's I just found it interesting. I think we talked about this last segment about where it hit you on the tongue. Yes. And I'm getting It's hitting me harder and certain, depending on where I'm putting in my mouth. Okay? Yeah. I don't know. Is that right? Sure describe Describe where? Well, like if I just take a hit and it just goes straight back down, I get them. It's more like I'm sensing the alcohol and they're five points and I go along and really thinking about it. I'm that flavours air Really accentuating Exactly. I'm like, Well, I'm missing when it just goes straight down. I'm missing that flavor. Yeah, you're missing the point. Really mean Well, it's a different point, right? Josie point. Yeah. It's not the intellect that we're searching for its that intellectual diet that actually makes wine really special. Right? Okay, so we've got the red fruits, have the cola. I've heard nothing about Earth from you. I don't think I've heard much about wood from you, but I think it's worth double checking. There's a little bit of a spice. Okay, Great little Panella. I'm tasting vanilla and some brown spices myself. You guys feel that all those things come from the from the wood barrel from the oak barrel. It's a big piece. Do we taste any deal or not? No. No, Definitely not. Okay, that's great. I don't either, So we can say its French oak. But because we're talking about in sort of modest terms, it's probably not a whole bunch of new friend show. The brand new French Oak barrel has a lot to say after use it once. It has less to say so and so and so on until it has nothing to say. Um, in this case, because it doesn't have a ton to say, We might guess that it's been put into girls that have been used maybe once, already, right? So it has some evidence of ocasion, but it's just not. It's not a ton. I feel good about that. Okay. Great. So how about, um we've talked about tannins Are medium alcohols, medium cities meeting plus the length. How long is this thing like hell It lasting wrath. Medium, medium, medium high. I think it's been a few minutes, and I still taste it too. I'm exactly right there with you. And I would call that medium plus especially I think when I exhale through my nose. And I don't know if that's something no. Even if I do that, I taste it more. And what do you taste? We knew that. Is it alcohol, or is it a flavor? Uh, it's more of the flavor of the spice. Okay, cool. That's great. That's great. So then I would say, Yeah, definitely medium plus length, and that can generally translate to quality, but we want to reserve that for balance. Yesterday we talked about balance in a wine has all the structural elements. And on one seat you have yesterday with white lines, you have the weight of the fruit. And if there's regional residual sugar, it also sits over here, and it tends to push the teeter totter this way and it comes back into balance with acidity. Here we're also you have both of those seats on future. You also have tannins, you know. And if it's too tannic and doesn't have enough fruit, it's just going to feel really tannic, and it's gonna be out of balance. So the question is, are all of these elements in balance with one another? This is not whether you do you like it or not. Are they in balance and for what the one should be? What's the answer? Yes. Yeah, totally. Has it really, really well done? Okay. So even though it does have the elevated a city, in fact, you said it has its sour element. But it's not pejorative, right? It's not bad. It's just there. Yeah. Yeah, it's part of the whole, but is not a bad thing, right? That's cool. It's really great to get your head around it like that. Well done. Okay, we know that this is actually you can even use this. This is a really interesting thing to refer back to. So let's do that. Do we say, Do we talk about black fruits or red fruits in this way? We sure did. So you went this direction. Not that we were going this way. Then here's the would question. Did it have oak or not? It has a great. And was it French or American? Based on the deal Question French. Okay, So go this way. And was it knows the earthy question. Is it earthy or no? No, no, no, it's not. So what are the possibilities of what this one could be? Could be Pena. Tosh Could be green ash from America or Australia. Or could be Pino Noir from the New World. Right. Very, very few possibilities of what this could be, which is which is pretty cool, isn't it? So with that said, this is a new world wine, right? And we talked about the climate. What kind of climate are we have? A temperate, cool, temperate climate. I think that's great. How about an age range? Remember, we had the visual clue on age range. Yeah, Young. Okay, so 05 years. Right. And then how about grapes? Potential lists, Right. Well, here they are. We just did it. Pena Taj ganache or Pino Noir. And then the last is the quality. Um, what quality do we want to call. This is a slow, medium minus medium, medium plus or high. I think it's high. I would say medium plus two high is very fair. Their own agreements that Okay, great. He wasn't called low. So anyways, so I think Meaning plus a high quality. So let's make a conclusion. If you didn't know what this was, you would have worked yourself all the way into here. And what this this doesn't do, is it doesn't discriminate between climate. So, um, Green ash when it's grown in the U. S. Or Australia, I'm going to supercharge your context. Here. It may look like this. It might have a smaller Clearwater band causes a warmer environment, but the alcohol is definitely gonna be It's gonna push right. It's gonna be higher than we probably have here. The acidity probably won't be as high as it is here. Right? So we talked about meeting plus acid medium alcohol that generally doesn't fit with Granoche. Okay, so that doesn't That doesn't have a good fit. We're gonna throw that out. Pino Taj In South Africa, tens toe have tended to be a little bit darker in color, and it also tends to have his burnt tire aroma. Did you guys talk about that? All right. So again, deductible and tasting, it's out. So you're left with exactly what it is, which is Pino Noir and could come from Australia, New Zealand, Um, or, in this case from America. And if you're in America, drinking peanut or a really great place to do so is in the cool climates around Santa Barbara County, such as a bank LaMotte through. And feel that feel how there's really only one possible conclusion for this thing, and again, you're borrowing my context. I'm giving it to you today, but you can take all those points and put him in your pocket, right. Questions from online? Yeah, it's a little off topic the but we did talk about the actual bottle itself. Chris is wondering if sunlight degrades the wine over time. Why are the bottles just tinted a dark green rather than a solid black, letting no light in? That's a great question. I know only one wine is this fast in a Rio. How that's in a really opaque bottle import actually is another great example where it's not totally opaque, but it's really dark, and those were meant to go the long haul. Um, I think that it's probably, but I don't have an answer other than my own inference. Which is to say that it's probably dark enough, you know? And at a certain point we did the decanting exercise. If it's totally opaque and we did want to go a long ways, I'm not gonna be able to do that. The canteen exercise right? You're not able to actually see through it and get the wine off the sentiment in a clean fashion.

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.