Blind tastings are to wine what strip poker is to love.
November 5, 2010 How To
The title of this post is a quote by the famous wine importer Kermit Lynch. I’ve been on the fence as to whether or not I believe in blind tasting, but recently have come to believe, that much like strip poker, you aren’t getting the whole experience if you judge a wine blind.
Robert Parker has taken a lot of heat recently because he tastes blind “whenever possible”, which is likely not very often since he conducts both barrel and bottle tastings at the winery. In 2009, Parker conducted a 2005 Bordeaux blind tasting during which he misidentified most wines and proclaimed wines he had previously given lower scores to be his favorites of the night. On the other hand, Wine Spectator tastes all of their wine blind but, in my opinion, part of the wine experience is knowing the producer, their reputation and their story. Sure, it perpetuates the popularity of trophy wines that are only popular because of their names. I won’t name any specific producers but one example rhymes with, wait, no words rhyme with Silver… Oh well. Still, there are more examples of big names that have maintained or improved quality despite (or maybe because of) their popularity. When wines are tasted blind, the taster can’t take into account the producer’s history and reputation, both important factors in determining a wine’s quality. If a given winery has been producing age worthy, top notch wines for the last 20 years, that should be a factor in the review.
Here’s the ultimate question: Would you enjoy your favorite bottle of wine as much if you didn’t know who made it? For me the answer is no, though I do enjoy a blind tasting from time to time because you never know how it’s going to turn out. Kind of like a game of strip poker really. I wonder Lynch’s perspective on blind strip poker…