What is Blind tasting and How it’s done?

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No, no one is going to be blind-folded while tasting wines, eye-sight is in fact an important part of blind tasting.  Blind tasting suggests that the origin nor the grape varietal(s) in the wine will not be disclosed to the tasters; it is up to them to figure out which grape(s) was used in such wine, the year (vintage) it was made in and of course where wine comes from.  Bling Tasting, the phrase alone sounds intimating and intriguing at the same time.  

wine blind tastingWith hundreds of thousands wines accessible on the market, it is a daunting task trying to narrow down to a region in combination of grape varietals.  It would be impossible to just shoot in the dark while blind tasting, there is in fact a systematic approach while blind tasting.  The Court of Master Sommeliers refers to this as “Deductive Tasting”.   The idea is to eliminate (or to deduct) certain region or area in each step of the tasting based on characteristics of wine being tasted.  There are several factors or categories to consider:

Sight and Appearance

  • Color
  • Rim Variation
  • Viscosity (legs/tears)

tears legs on opus one 2014

Nose and Taste

  • Fruit
  • Flower and Herb
  • Earth
  • Wood
  • Body & Structure
  • Tannin
  • Alcohol
  • Acidity
  • Finish
  • Complexity

wine tasting at Opus One Napa Valley

For example, a wine taste more acidic (sour), lower in fruitiness and high in mineral (earth), it is likely to be from the Old World, or European countries.  Moreover, if the wine taste like stewed fruit with note of wet wood or forest floor; it is likely to be an older wine, since new wines are more lively with traits of fresh vibrant fruit.  For each category, the wine is being analyzed and narrowed down to a smaller sub-region and eventually be concluded at a certain appellation, its vintage and even the grape varietal(s) used in the making of such wine.

Even after all that explanation and you still think it is close to impossible to blind taste, you’re not too far from the truth.  Even with experienced and well trained wine professionals, nailing every blind tasting is virtually impossible.  Even with the best of them all, there will always be some errors in a blind taste.  If you’re getting 1 out of 3 wines right, you’re awesome! 2 out of 3, consider a career change -if you haven’t already been in the wine business.  And 3 out of 3, … lost for word.

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