It’s time we abandoned tasting notes and started tasting wine

By Isabelle Legeron MW

Don’t get bogged down by tasting notes (Picture: Ella Byworth for

Why do we get so hung up on tasting notes for wine? Why do they have so much hold over how we taste?

We should treat them (especially those written on the back of a wine bottle) with a big pinch of salt, like we do tasting notes on the back of a packet of cheese.

Half the time you won’t read it – and even if you do, I bet it won’t really influence what you personally get out of eating a slice. And yet, bizarrely, that is exactly what happens with wine.

When I was training for my Master of Wine, a few trade friends and I set up a blind tasting study group to hone our palates.

We’d pick a bottle at random and, without looking at the label, would try to work out what it was and where it was from. To mix things up a little, one day, I decided to add odourless red food colouring to a bottle of white. What was extraordinary was the descriptions of the wine that ensued – ‘fruit of the forest’, ‘hints of raspberries’. But this was a Riesling – no black or red berry flavours in sight according to standard tasting notes.

Read the full article online here.

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