Identifying Wine

I have been working to develop my tasting skills for many years.  Wine has been a hobby of mine for such a long time, actually, going on 20 years.   I have vastly improved my varietal identification  in blind tastings, and I can pick up many nuanced aromas in a wine’s bouquet.  Now, to you all,  I confess, like the best of us, I indeed falter…..CASE IN POINT:  I was drinking a french white this past weekend my friend called a Sancerre.  I’ve only had Sancerre once, poured in a winery, but it was pink, and made from the Pinot Noir grape, where the crushed juice was left to sit with the skins for a very short time, giving it just a tiny bit of blush color.  Thinking that my beautious friend and hostess, Anne, didn’t know what the heck she was talking about and that she must have read the bottle wrong, I let my tastebuds tell me I was drinking an unoaked chardonnay, likely a chablis style from the Burgandy region.  I mean, seriously, my experience with Sancerre was that it was pink.  Well, uh, oops, learn something new every day!  The wine was, indeed a white Sancerrre, actually a sauvignon blanc, from the Loire region of France, where they happen to grow a lot of Pinot that they crush into blush Sancerre, the kind I had had.  Hate it when that happens.  Now, in my defense, the Loire is only about 200-300 kilometers away from where chablis is produced, but I know, I’m making excuses!

I bring this up because those of us who love wine often have a quest to conquer the beast.  But remember,  it is an everlasting pursuit.  When I think all is moving forward….I take a step back.  It’s kind of like golf,  you can have a great game one day, and doggone it, the next game sucks.  Wine is a great educational distraction, and one goal I have for myself this year is to start to chip away at identifying wines by their region, solely based on the characteristics I sense.  And I’m happy with my first attempt.

I was drinking a glass of Cabernet the other night that I hadn’t paid any attention as to where the producer was located.  I asked myself “of all the cabs I’ve had lately, which does it most remind me of?  I knew the location of that winery, and guessed that the characteristics of this wine matched one I’ve had from Alexander Valley…..and damn if I wasn’t right!!!!!!!  I was pretty stoked!

So that’s what I’m working on this year, how about you? xoxoSusan


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