* tasting notes and comments, analysing the style and character of the wine,
* an evaluation of the quality,
* prospects for the future,
* comparison with other wines.
Other essential and valuable
* lot number,
* tasting date,
* price range of the wine (consumer price in euro's incl. taxes),
* average production (in bottles),
* co-ordinates of the producer or export agent.
Be always aware tasting and
evaluating is highly subjective.
Even if the evaluation is given in scored points, the taster has measured the wine on his own, personal scale. He (or she) measures the wine against a certain set of standards he considers important or valuable.
Rating in points or stars
can be misleading
Points or stars only reflect the scores of a wine to one specific tastersí standards. Another taster has other standards, sometimes marginally different, but more often very different. In my opinion using only points or scores in wine evaluation is useless, in fact it is misleading. It suggests an objective truth and calculability of the product, like comparing the petrol consumption per kilometre of various cars.
Tasting notes are indispensable
It is essential to know what standards a taster uses (please read my standards selection criteria). The number of points or stars a wines has received is far less important. The tasterís personal evaluation of the wine, noted down in his tasting comments is the information to look for. With your knowledge of the tasterís standards it gives you a good impression of the wineís qualities and style.
Other important factors to consider:
Tasting date is very important
Wine is a 'living' product. During its life it goes through many phases. Many impressions come and go during its existence. Young, primary fruity ones fade with time and sometimes new, more complex or undesirable are formed during ageing. A wine never tastes the same, a tasting gives a "snapshot impression" from which experienced tasters can extrapolate a certain path of development in time. Some wines change gradually, some very abrupt. The most tricky phase in a wines' life for a taster is when the youth has faded and the maturity not yet developed. The wine is closed-up, showing mainly the skeleton of acidity, minerals and tannins. Even in this stage some tasters can predict the future of the wine. So when a wine does not show well at a specific stage, it can shine (again) after some time. Always take in account the tasting date of the wine when comparing your tasting notes to mine.
Bottles do vary, the importance
of a second bottle
Another complicating aspect in wine evaluation is bottle variation. All too often bottles (up to 12%) tend to vary because of many reasons. The most common and discussed is cork taint (caused by TriChloreAnisole). This is especially problematic in the case of very small amounts of TCA. Small amounts do not give the obvious and easy recognizable musty cork impression, but mutes the wines' aroma's and gives a very harsh and bitter, very persistent impression of unripe tannins. When a wine is not showing well or when I am in doubt, I always open a second bottle. If there is no difference between the two one can assume it is the wine's character that bothers or puzzles.