Archive for May, 2010


Disenchanted with high volume tasting schedule: Did Barbera wines receive fair evaluation?

May 18, 2010

This morning I am focusing on one aspect of the tasting procedures of last week’s Barbera wines: high volume / mass tasting. I was a bit disenchanted with tasting so many wines in one sitting. So, now I will elaborate……

In reply to Thomas Pedersen whose post appeared on the blog this morning. I quote an excerpt dealing with only one aspect of many things Thomas talks about:

Thomas wrote:

“We tasted a lot of wines in a very short time at the Barbera Meeting 2010. One of the problems at the tastings were; when you taste wines like this it always tends to be the heavier oaky wines that wins and dominates the palate. If you taste 2-3 heavy oaked wines in a row the next 5-6 wines will also have an oaky touch, and when the glasses is refilled with other wines the oak sticks to the glass – and the new wine.”

My reply to one component of Thomas’s lengthy post, was:

“It was a “mass tasting”…this was one of the things I did not appreciate. Monday morning immediately it was 68 wines. So many wines in a short period of time. In the end it does injustice to some of the other wines awaiting to be evaluation, especially the latter 20 or so. Yes, one’s mouth becomes tainted with the previously wines tasted. My personal opinion is this: The number of wines to be tasted should not exceed 30 maximum–ultimately it is better for all the wines being tasted in a given session. We are humans not machines and all wines deserve our full unadulterated (albeit impossible in certain moments)mouths for a fair and balanced evaluation.”

I will now add some more thoughts….

I do not understand why the tasting schedule was so hard driven to complete ’ X ‘ amount of wines in a given morning. Yes, many Barbera d’Asti’s needed evaluation, but please give them some space……

I saw the latter tastings as having been put at a clear disadvantage. Wednesday and Thursday were more comfortable. Interestingly, some prominent wine tasters admitted the wines were better structured later in the week. Some would say if a wine received negative marks it is because the wine deserved it. Can we blame it all on wine structure or is the human being ‘taster’ a critical element here as well? If you are put through stress at the time of tasting, surely this will affect the outcome. I am convinced of this. High volume tasting is not the method for achieving a fair and balanced evaluation. Monday evening I tasted wines I really liked Monday morning and I also tasted wines I did not especially like. Interesting. I found after having had a rest for a few hours and eating lunch, the human organism of me changed….later I enjoyed wines I did not like earlier. And, why is that?

Thank you Thomas Pedersen for highlighting significant points. One has to remember too, Thomas writes from another perspective and his concerns are of value….it’s necessary and beneficial for all sides of the discussion….We will all learn from this hopefully.

—Piemontèis Life