Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wine Tasting-A Beginner's Perspective

I walked into the tasting room – Jánis’ dining room – not knowing what to expect. Having no prior experience with wine, I was excited to learn and interested to see what the process of wine tasting was like.

As the eight of us gathered around the table, seven to taste wine and one, Mason, our underage Photo Editing Intern, to taste a selection of gourmet sodas, Jánis explained that we were going to do a blind tasting. And of course, I didn’t know what that meant. Were we going to be blindfolded? This could get messy.

Eight tasters take on the challenge of identifyng six varietals and seven unknown soda flavors.

Fortunately, a blind tasting doesn’t require blindfolds, we were only “blind” to the six bottles of wine set before us, which were disguised in brown paper sacks and simply marked 1A, 2A, and so on.

Each place setting was equipped with a water glass, two wine glasses, and a spit cup. We also had a page to write notes on each wine, with categories for the color, aroma, taste, texture, and body, etc.

Since Mason, at 19, could not participate in the wine tasting, he did blind soda tasting.

Jánis had provided a cheat sheet of sorts that listed different flavor descriptors often associated with red and white wines. I have to admit that I did get a little nervous when I saw words like tar, leather, and chalk listed on the page. I thought wine was supposed to taste good? Luckily, none of the wines we tasted were even remotely reminiscent of those flavors, and despite my limited knowledge, I found myself enjoying the experience.

Tamarah smells Spring in the first glass of white wine.

Perrie focusing on the nuances of Pinot Noir.

Ryan and Kiersi let the aroma settle in their minds before tasting the wine.

Whitney checks the descriptive list "cheat sheet" deciding on "forest" as the best choice for the first of the three Pinot Noirs, each from a different region in the world.

I walked away with a much better understanding of wine, and although I still have a lot to learn, this was an excellent first tasting.

Story by Whitney Signalness, Marketing Intern for Janis
Captions by Tamarah Hietanen, Digital Asset Manager
Photography by Janis Miglavs, Not pictured here

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