You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Saturday 4 July 2015

Test your blind wine tasting skills and win

27th June, 2014 by Lauren Eads

The authors of a book designed to help wine lovers refine their blind tasting skills are offering db readers the chance to win a copy by taking part in a blind wine tasting quiz.

bookcover2The Concise Guide to Wine & Blind Tasting, written by psychiatrist Dr Neel Burton and Oxford biophysicist James Flewellen, gives readers a guide to the world’s key wine regions, supplemented by a series of crib sheets to help readers distinguish the typical traits of different grape varieties.

On the discipline of blind wine tasting, Dr Burton said: “Wine is one of the most complex of all beverages: the fruit of a soil, climate, and vintage, digested by a fungus through a process guided by the culture, vision, and skill of an individual man or woman. The thousand-plus different types of molecules in a wine are experienced as colour, aromas and flavours, structure or mouthfeel, and by their effects—either pleasant or unpleasant, depending on the amount consumed—on the mind and body. Parameters such as grape variety, soil, climate, winemaking, and ageing express themselves through the ever-changing makeup of the liquid in the glass, which can be analysed and interpreted by the attentive taster.

“Unfortunately, unconscious bias and suggestion are all too easily introduced into this process of identification and appreciation. Ideally, a wine ought to be evaluated objectively, with only an afterthought for such factors as price or prestige, the reputation of the region or producer, the shape of the bottle, the type of closure used, and the design on the label. The only way to control for these factors is for the evaluator to be blinded to everything but the liquid itself, which is served naked in a standard wine glass.”

By honing your blind tasting skills wine drinkers, Burton says, can “become much more conscious of the richness not only of wine but also of other potentially complex beverages such as tea, coffee, and spirits, and, by extension, the flavours in food, the scents in the air, and the play of light in the world.”

While the practical benefits of developing blind tasting skills are undoubtedly useful for those working in the drinks industry from winemakers and sommeliers to journalists, critics and consumers.

For a chance to win one of 10 hardback copies of the Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting by Neel Burton and James Flewellen, complete this quiz and email your answers, together with your name and mailing address, to blindtastingquiz@gmail.com by 11 July at the latest.

If you would like to organise a wine blind tasting, free resources, including a blind tasting guide and tasting sheets, are available on the Oxford Wine Academy website.

Wine Blind Tasting Quiz

1. On average, how many taste buds are there on the human tongue?

A. 500
B. 1,000
C. 5,000
D. 15,000
E. 25,000

2. The olfactory bulb is part of which area of the brain?

A. Limbic system
B. Frontal cortex
C. Thalamus
D. Hypothalamus
E. Pituitary gland

3. Which of these wines might be expected to be the most aromatic?

A. Riesling Kabinett from the Mosel
B. Alsatian Pinot Gris
C. Alsatian Gewurztraminer
D. Chablis
E. Savennières

4. Which of the following class of volatile compounds could be responsible for an aroma of soap?

A. Fusel oils
B. Short-chain esters
C. Long-chain esters
D. Aldehydes
E. Pyrazines

5. Which of these acids can make a wine smell of rancid butter or baby vomit?

A. Lactic acid
B. Butyric acid
C. Acetic acid
D. Malic acid
E. Succinic acid

6. Which of these beverages might be expected to contain the least amount of residual sugar?

A. Sauternes
B. Sweet (‘Doux’) Champagne
C. Coca Cola
D. Cream Sherry
E. Tokaj, 4 Puttonyos

7. Which of these wines is often aged in American oak?

A. Hermitage
B. Chianti
C. Taurasi
D. Priorat
E. Barossa Shiraz

8. Which of these descriptors is not associated with Brettanomyces?

A. Sweaty saddle
B. Nail varnish
C. Sticking plaster
D. Rancid cheese
E. A metallic note

9. All of these denominations sit in a natural south-facing amphitheatre except

A. Cornas
E. Piesporter Goldtröpfchen
C. Château-Grillet
B. Hermitage
D. Quarts-de-Chaume

10. Who said, ‘The limits of my language mean the limits of my world’?

A. Noam Chomsky
B. Cicero
C. Ludwig Wittgenstein
D. Sir Winston Churchill
E. Aunt Lily (Lily Bollinger)

11. Name one wine that fits the following tasting note. Suggest its age.

• Deep gold and intense in colour.
• Dense, concentrated nose with a complex bouquet of mushroom, leather, honey, butterscotch, confected pear, peach, nutmeg, and white 
pepper.
• Intensely sweet on the palate with notes of peach, fig, date, and butterscotch.
• Full-bodied with moderate alcohol and moderate-to-low acidity.
• High residual sugar.
• Very long and tapered savoury finish that echoes the earlier aromas and flavours.
• A wonderfully complex sweet wine. The sweetness fades to a savoury,
dry finish. The one slight damper is that the moderate-to-low acidity does not quite stand up to the high residual sugar.

12. Name one wine that fits the following tasting note. Suggest its age.

• In colour, medium-deep purple in the centre and brick-red at the rim.
• Moderately aromatic with jammy blackcurrant and mulberry fruit,
meaty notes, and a hint of menthol, coconut, and sweet spice.
• Dry and full-bodied with high alcohol and low acidity.
• Intense jammy black fruit flavours with coconut and milk chocolate.
• Tannins moderate in quantity, with a soft and velvety quality.
• Moderate length with a finish dominated by fruit flavours and
alcohol.
• Overall, a complex wine with clear development, but let down by low 
acidity relative to full body and high alcohol.

13. Assuming they are typical, how might one distinguish a red wine from Ribera del Duero from one from Priorat? (Up to 100 words)

14. Do women make better blind tasters than men? Explain your reasoning. (Up to 100 words)

15. Wine is not about the objectivity of taste, but about the subjectivity of experience. By removing a wine from its context, blind tasting turns it into a mere commodity. What do you think? (Up to 200 words)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

WOSA woos UK indies and on-trade

Wines of South Africa has announced plans for a new UK trade tasting later this more...

UK reviewing alcohol intake guidelines

Health officials are to review the government's drinking guidelines, as more...

Bar launches festival-themed cocktail list

Matt Whiley, the liquid alchemist in charge of Peg + Patriot, the bar at the more...

PR Senior Account Manager/Director

London, United Kingdom

Depending on experience

Pimm's and English wine sales leap

UK supermarket Waitrose has noted a surge in sales for Pimm's, strawberries and more...

Top 10 wines in the US press

A Texan Albariño, NY Riesling and Californian Syrah are among the wine tips more...

Oddbins woos Naked staff with love letters

Oddbins has allegedly been sending love letters and bottles of wine to key more...

Digital and Communications Executive

£22,000-£26,000 dependent on experience

Mumm releases vintage collection

Champagne Mumm has released a new “Collection du Chef de Caves”, featuring more...

Shock over wine named 'dung' in German

A row has broken out over a decision by St Tropez's wine co-operative to name more...

Top 10 wines in the UK press

An English fizz fit for Wimbledon, a "chunky, berry-stuffed" Negroamaro and a more...

Marketing and eCommerce Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive, includes equity options

Bilingual 'tool' demystifies wine tasting

The Australian Grape and Wine Authority has developed a new "tool" which more...

Flavoured styles lead drinks NPD

A new report from Nielsen shows that flavoured variants are dominating more...

Final call for Liberty apprentice scheme

Liberty Wines is inviting final applications for its apprentice programme, more...

Hatch Mansfield – Brand Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary

WW1 Scotch to be auctioned

A bottle of Scotch whisky purportedly belonging to a soldier in the First World more...

Scots invited to explore Chianti Classico and Prosecco

The promotional bodies for Prosecco Conegliano-Valdobbiadene and Chianti more...

Is powder the future of food?

A powdered food brand has launched in the UK that aims to change the way people more...

Global Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Competitive

Beaujolais pushes for sparkling AOC

Beaujolais is trying to gain AOC status for its sparkling wines which, with it more...

Copa América: Malbec vs Carmenère

Saturday sees Chile and Argentina go head-to-head in football’s Copa América more...

UK market in growth as price increases slow

The latest figures from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association show that more...

International Business Development Assistant

London, United Kingdom

To be determined, based on the profile and experience of the candidate

Top 10 wines in the US press

An impressive Tannat-Merlot-Zinfandel blend from Uruguay and a Vernaccia from more...

UK customs seize 550,000 litres of alcohol

More than 550,000 litres of illegal beer, wine and spirits have been seized by more...