We can all drink wine easily enough, but can we all taste its intricacies?  Yes, I think so.

Some have a naturally more keen sense of smell or taste than others, this is true.  But with practice, I think that anyone can begin to decipher the characteristics that at first, seem very minuscule.

Where does one begin?  Take yourself on a world tour.  I site this example: I recently did an in-home wine tasting for a group of individuals from all different wine-backgrounds; some barely drink wine at all, others had quite a bit of familiarity.  The hostess purchased the wines falling into the categories I suggested below:

  1. Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand
  2. Chardonnay from California
  3. Prosecco
  4. Pinot Noir from Oregon
  5. Tempranillo from Spain
  6. Merlot from Chile

This gave me plenty to talk about and accommodated the guests and their widely varying preferences.  It is essential to try a few different wines in the same sitting.  If you were to drink a Sauvignon Blanc on Friday and then a Chardonnay (especially that is not oaked) on Saturday, your palate & memory will not work together to save that information near as well if you taste one right after the other.  This will also help you learn what your preferences are.

If have already nailed down some these basics and want to expand your palate a bit more, I suggest doing a tasting comprised of several wines from the same varietal.  I attended a great Pinot tasting at the Corkscrew in Urbana featuring an Alsatian Pinot Gris, a Burgundian Pinot Noir, two Sonoma Pinot Noirs & a Chilean Pinot Noir.  Tasting these wines one after another truly helps one note the difference between the fruit forward and rich style coming from Chile vs. the much lighter and more dry style from Burgundy, for example.  So buy three or four bottles of your favorite varietal (all in the same price range) and make an evening out of it.

Today I recommend: Rolly Gassmann Pinot Gris 2004.  $48 ish