Erste Lage Tasting, Germany 2010
To enjoy wine, the story begins and ends with each individual’s palate. So why do we endlessly analyze, score, judge and discuss the merits of individual wines and varietals? For me, wine challenges my intelligence, involves all of my senses and creates a never-ending conversation.
My initial relationship with wine was simple–I liked it or not. But then, the wonder of wine crept up on me: I found myself on a ladder of discovery. I moved from liking it to wanting to try more so I went wine tasting in search of wine to love. Then I learned about the million details that impact how grapes become wine. I met winemakers and liked their stories, so I added intangible meaning to the mix. I soon was faced with a hobby that has so many intricacies that it takes a life time to master.
Amid discovering and learning, I still know what I like and what I don’t. I go through 3 phases with a wine:
- how does it smell & taste upon first sip?
- how does it taste after it sits in the glass or decanter?
- how does it taste with food?
When I’m doing what I call a quick and dirty evaluation of wine, I score on a scale of 0-5. I get an initial impression by smelling and leaving the wine on my palate for a minute or so then spitting. A 3 means it has potential and I’m curious about the wine maker or terroir. 4 means the wine fairs the best in the group, and it either needs a bit more time or better tasting (pairing) conditions. A 5 means I’ll buy it on the spot if possible.
If you think wine is complicated, it is. But it’s not complicated to know what you like. Just keep tasting~ sometimes you have to taste a lot of wines, before finding the ones you love.
Just for fun, here’s some tasting notes from a tasting of 329 wines in Germany. (The + – and / symbols mean good, bad or neutral on the nose.)
These are notes for German Pinot Blanc.
nose +, straight from the barrel, wine is not ready yet, it’s not bottle shock. 0
nose+, neutral, boring 2
nose/best but doesn’t rock my world; more like what I wld expect 4
These are notes for Pinot Noir.
boring, waterly, 1
nose + cherries; balanced, light Pinot like Oregon; 3
long lasting finish, full bodied; I’m home . 4
too light; after taste too acidic. 2; The One changed this wine A LOT – made it much more interesting; toned down the after taste & let the fruit out; black cherries were not present before. 4 (I was testing Andrea Robinson’s The One glass)
These are notes on some German wines you’ve probably never heard of… FRÜHBURGUNDER AHR GROSSES GEWÄCHS 2008
strong fresh tobacco smell; hard cherry candy; could be intg with food or really bad. Complex though which turns me on.
nose is cherry/sonoma coast PN; perfectly acceptable–getting closer to Cal PN. 3
LEMBERGER WÜRTTEMBERG GROSSES GEWÄCHS 2008
smells like Chinese food but calmed down quite nicely.big Christmas spice ; cloves–quite an interesting wine. Brand new varietal to me. The One rounded it out made everything much more subtle; harder to pick out the flavors but more true to what the consumer will taste if you serve this wine now. 4 for curiosity.
a light pee smell; then complex; wine lacks character (now that’s what tired tasters write!) much gentler then the first one–but pretty cool. 4
Ludens cough drop smell; nasty candy.
needs to sit/age; sort of like a syrah. 3
nice everyday wine–better than Zinfandel; not complex but layered. 3
tight but the biggest wine I’ve tasted in Germany. Full bodied–I give it points just for being there for me. 3 (Note: Germans like to make really acidic wines so they will age, after tastings hundreds of highly acidic wines, I was craving bold smooth fruit.)
Photo from my new friend who was on the Wines of Germany Media Tour with me, Mariusz Kapczynski, www.vinsifera.pl
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