It’s Calibration Time!

This week we’re doing a new calibration tasting.  What’s that, you ask?  Well, since we firmly believe that wine is a subjective experience, tasting notes by themselves can only tell you so much.  After all, say we write that we caught some cherry in the nose, and some light tannins on the finish.  So then you try that exact same wine and smell raisin and get some acid, instead.  Does that mean we don’t know what we’re writing about?  Does it mean you don’t know how to taste wine?

It means neither of those things.  The reality of any tasting experience is that different people catch different things – which is perfectly okay.  But it does make it a little weird when we write cherry and you don’t taste or smell cherry.

So to make life easier, on a quarterly basis (starting now), we’re going to do calibration tastings.  We have bought two wines that should be readily available in most supermarkets.  We’ll post one on Wednesday and the other on Friday.  You can buy the same wines, taste them yourself and see how we compare.  So that way, when we write cherry, you’ll know that you’re likely to taste raisin.  Or whatever.

In fact, if you want to buy your wines before Wednesday, why don’t you do your tasting notes before we post?  Then, please, comment.  We’d love to hear what you came up with.  After all, that’s what makes wine so wonderful.

And the wines are the BV Coastal Estates Chardonnay, 2008, and the Fetzer Vineyards Valley Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007.  If you have trouble finding these, please let us know.  It will help for the next calibration.

One final note, on the whole issue of of reviewing, please note that we buy our wines and pay for most of our tastings.  About the only time we’ll use our press credentials is to get into a major group event, such as Hospice du Rhone (assuming we get the credentials for that one).  And we’ll generally let you know when we did get into an event on a press pass.  Part of that is Anne’s professional journalist background, and part of that is simple fair play.  We do not accept advertising from individual wineries for that reason.  Just so you know.

Please tell us what you think.