Learning about wine, vines and vignerons whilst living in the Languedoc

Wine tasting should be simple


I have been thinking and reading quite a lot recently about wine tasting and why many people find wine, and its advocates, so off-putting. Most people who buy wine in the UK do so in supermarkets, choose from a wide variety from the shelves based on price, promotions and puff pieces. By the latter I mean the labels on the shelves quoting wine ‘experts’ on why this particular wine is terrific value for money. And sometimes those customers get a bargain and a good bottle of wine.


Tasting with the excellent Fred Rivaton

Ask many of those people to buy from a merchant and they would be deterred by price and the language surrounding wine. Many people I talk to about wine like a particular style, feel comfortable about that and picking it from an anonymous supermarket shelf. They do not want to have to talk about yields, pruning style or fermentation temperatures because it is too technical and not what interests them. We the wine geeks are absorbed by such issues, most people are not. It bores people, it creates the image of the wine snob.

Readers in the UK will recall how one wine broadcaster made a name for herself by describing wine aromas and flavours by ever more outlandish descriptions. Whilst amusing did this in fact simply confirm the image of wine tasting as an elitist activity, worthy merely of satire?

Wine is a topic of endless fascination to me but I know I am in a minority. And a snob, I often find myself staring in horror at the bottles in those supermarket trollies. However, I do think that wine tasting is often made over complicated and found myself nodding in agreement repeatedly with this article by Jenn Rice on the Food And Wine  website.

The basic question is do I like the wine? Does its mixture of fruit, flavours, acidity, sweetness etc appeal to me and deliver what I want? No matter the price, no matter the reputation of the producer or vineyard area. I like the advice int he article to simply close the eyes and let the wine deliver its smell, taste and allow it to trigger the memory. I shall be returning to memory and story in the next article.

So, instead of worrying about producing lists of fruits, flowers or fungi, of texture, tint or taint just let the wine do its work in your mouth and then decide if you like it. Wine can be simple.


Vincent, taken by a wine



Author: amarch34

I'm a recently retired (early!) teacher from County Durham in North east England. I am going to be spending most of the next year in the Languedoc leaarning about wines, vineyards and the people who care for both.

4 thoughts on “Wine tasting should be simple

  1. Of course there is wine and there is wine. I’m not talking about so-called fane wane. But there is a world of difference between artisan wine as an expression of place and the commercial beverage found in supermarkets.

    Much of the latter is palatable, but it is not the same, although beverage wine produced in large quantities is often marketed as something more like an artisan product (buyer beware in some cases).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Indeed David and I shall be returning to this topic soon to explain the need for education


  3. I have started doing small wine tastings with a group of retired folk. I regard it as charity work – some are there simply because it’s something to do and that’s fine. I try to focus on whether people like the wine and give them some insight in how the wine was made – simple stuff like oak, age, character of grapes, does paying more improve the wine.
    For what it’s worth I hold out zero hope of changing buying decisions.


  4. I think the last point is realistic. Sounds interesting and the sharing of information surely has some value to their enjoyment of the wine.


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