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Friday, January 31, 2014

Why Wine Tasting Notes are Important and Useful

"Tasting notes are just self-indulgent. I really don't see any use for them except stoking an author’s ego or a publication’s collective ego" ~ Eric Asimov 

I being the contrarian that I'm known to be, I take great exception to his wild-eyed assertion. Do I think he was speaking to me directly, nah of course not, it's highly likely he has no idea who the bleep I'm. But that said, the tasting notes I write are not here just for my own self-indulgent purposes; my gawd if that was the case, I wouldn't even bother to keep a blog or tweet, instagram and/or FB. If you've read this blog for even a short amount of time, then you'd quickly realize it's nothing of the sort suggested above. 

The guy makes his living, 'writing' and writing a tasting note is part of the wine review process. For him or anyone else [other wine writers] to suggest that writing a tasting note about a wine sent for the review process or simply encountered by whatever means is a bad-thing. To me that statement is near the withering heights of hypocrisy. Please, oh-please give me a break!

My intended purpose [for writing a tasting note] is to encourage exploration of the wine world and exuberance for said discovery. Secondly, it's an effort to help [assist] keep folks from being locked into drinking the same wines over and over by suggesting alternatives. There's a huge wine-world out there and the tasting notes I write are nothing but a mere sign-post on the highway, pointing the way to exploration.

Now to the reason I think tasting notes [such as the one I'm about to write below] are very helpful, and not only those which I write, or type out via various social media platforms I use daily. The wine which appears in today's review is the type of wine which if it had the tasting note I'm about to write would have been so very helpful to me and anyone else considering purchasing it.

The 2011 Rasteau, Domaine la Soumade,"Cuvée Prestige" which I uncorked a few weeks back, is a beast of wine. So much of a beast in fact that it's highly advisable that you uncork one day and drink it the next. That's right just uncork it, and leave it slowly develop overnight in your pantry, that's how I handled it and it worked out quite nicely. This not the first time I've had to do that, and I'm certain it won't be the last. Further, I'm not sure even a few hours in a decanter would have been sufficient enough for that wine to open up properly. 

Don't get me wrong, because when I say it's a 'beast' I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just that this wine is no where near 'approachable', in the mere moments after it has been uncorked. The tannins are huge and bracing, it's not a wine for the faint of heart, it's more akin to drinking French Roasted coffee from a French Press black. If you've done that recently or its a vivid memory from the past you mostly likely don't recall that experience fondly. 


Are you starting to see why a tasting note like the one I'm writing at this moment would have been helpful for this wine? This wine is the poster boy for, "Why Tasting Notes are Helpful". If you still don't get it or see my point, then there's sadly no hope for you and the reason that wines in can and wine filled bags in a box are still a big hit. But for everyone who 'gets-it' please feel free to continue reading. 

Here comes the awful tasting note part of the article; so if you find this makes you squeamish please look away it will be over very soon. Here's the score for this wine 91 points, you'll find it sells for $28 most places. 

Talk about brooding, this wine took two days to fully unwind. A deep, dark color in the glass rushes to meet you at the door, like an armed man waiting for the thief behind the door. This inexpensive Rhone Zone gem; will wow the palates of the more discerning and veteran wine drinkers, while easily scaring away the uninitiated. A wine beaming with flavors of espresso, near ripe blueberry and blackberry fruit, dark chocolate, finely ground dark rich earth and tar. You can truly taste the terroir, a wine with real soul and substance. I can't wait to sample the rest of their line-up. 

Domaine La Soumade in the commune of Rasteau, produces this wonderfully expressive cuvée prestige, a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. I thought that perhaps, the percentages were a bit skewed, considering its muscular profile, but no I'm wrong. I just didn't expect a Grenache to be this big, it's a smoky, meaty wine offering generous dark fruits, pasted over taught tannins and plumed with enough acid to carry the generous fruit.

A wine like I've said which requires loads of patience if you’d like this wine sooner rather than later. Frankly, I’d recommend purchasing it, throwing it into a deep dark hole of your cellar and throwing away the key for quite some time, this puppy is really meant for long term aging. Until next time folks remember life is short, never stop exploring. Slurp long and prosper cheers!

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3 comments:

Antoher guy who thinks wine notes are useful said...

Very well done Bill, totally agree with you. Cheers.

Bill Eyer said...

Thank you sir, it was something I felt really needed to be said!

I see you've strayed away from the [populous] pack [of lemmings]that's a bold move, a very bold move.

Cheers to independent thinking!

Kala Maxym said...

Just saw this posted in Twitter and enjoyed the article -- and your writing -- very much. We actually do pairing notes at our events, and think of them as "conversation starters." Yes, they are subjective in many instances but they are a lovely introduction and background to the elements we're tasting and, even if you agree, they get you thinking! Thanks :)

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