It never ceases to amaze me when someone is able to detect the subtleties in a glass of wine. A quick swirl, a sniff and voila! It smells of cherries and black pepper. How?! Were these people born with a sense of smell like a basset hound? My own senses have a long way to go before they detect such scents but I am more than willing to train them! To get started I bought the Platters Wine Guide and what an eye opener it was! Wines are described as having flavours of mouth filling marzipan or butterscotch notes over iodine, soy and marmalade. What the? What does iodine even taste like?
Up until now I have ranked wines according to my own one, two or three point scale. One is the type of vino that is shiver worthy, it puckers yours taste buds and leaves you with goosebumps. Two is what I drink socially, it is enjoyable without leaving me counting coins toward the end of the month.Three is the ‘I could have this instead of dinner” type wine that is saved for special occasions when I’m willing to fork over what I consider a substantial amount for a bottle of vino divino.
So I thought I’d conduct an experiment and see what notes of this and that I could detect in a glass and then compare my own description with the one that was given. For this, I bought a bottle of Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc. I chose this because to me, their chardonnay is the crème de le crème on my three point scale. I also managed to rope my mom and dad into doing the test with me, not that they needed much convincing! We had to describe the wine according to smell, taste and then score it using my sophisticated three point system. This is what followed:
Smell: I drew an absolute blank and couldn’t think of anything descriptive. The best I could do was knowing that it smelt of white wine.
Taste: It was initially tangy but mellowed out. My mom described it as ‘being green’ which to me was as useful as saying it tasted of iodine and my dad described it as ‘grapey’, helpful!
Three point scale: For my mom and me it was an outright three, the kind we would happily skip dinner for. My dad rated it a two but that is only because he is more of a red wine man and doesn’t know what he is talking about (Only joking dad!).
I then compared our notes with the actual description of the wine, which is the following according to Woolworths: ‘Green peppers, passion fruit, and hints of gooseberry pack the nose and the palate is zesty and fresh, but with full, succulent mouthfeel’. Even with three of us, we were not even close!
It’s clear that I’ve still got a long way to go before I can start detecting the taste of the freshly cut grass or the smell of leather but in the meantime I will happily keep practising. Perhaps my tasting with a bottle of red will prove to be more successful...
Woolworths, 2014. Available from:http://www.woolworths.co.za/store/fragments/product-details/product-details-index.jsp?productId=6001009007056: [7 march 2015]