A Little Spot of Wine Tasting

We (that’s me, P&S and T) went to France the other week to visit my brother and mother. They live in Aquitaine (according to my brother, France is the other side of the Gironde) near some of the great wine appellations of the world. We decided to do a bit of wine-tasting while we were there.

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Wine Tasting Idiots

My attention was drawn recently to the article Are Wine Tasters Idiots?, reprised from 2013 on Jancis Robinson’s website. The first part of the article lists several examples of the alleged idiocy: cheap wines being preferred over expensive ones, experts describing the same white wine differently simply because the wine in one glass was dyed red, inconsistent assessments of the same wine by different panels, and so on. (There’s more detail in the referenced article from The Observer.)

The author, Alex Hunt MW, then continues with, it seems to me, a slightly injured tone:

What I find so strange is the underlying assumption that wine criticism should be a scientific, repeatable process. I have not seen the same sort of expectations applied to art, film or music critics. Wine experts, it feels, are far more likely to be demonised as the ‘other’, when in fact we have far more rigorous tests of identification and knowledge. The type of tasting exams many of us have passed are, I submit, unflukeable.

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