All posts filed under: The Tasting Panel 2009

Big data supports expert wine tasters

In the course of developing software for predicting consumer wine preferences, a Houston-based start up, VineSleuth, shed new light on the abilities of expert wine tasters and the validity of blind tasting assessments. Contrary to popular belief, the company’s VineSleuth metrics, which are based on the work of Chief Science Officer Michael Tompkins and his team, reveal that tasters can consistently identify aroma and flavor characteristics in blind wine evaluations. “We have extensive experimental data which support that expert evaluators have the capacity to precisely identify wine characteristics in blind repeat samples,” said Tompkins whose work spans thirteen years in the field of numerical methods. “During the course of our experiments, our vetted evaluators repeat sample characteristics about 90% of the time,” he says. VineSleuth’s data directly confronts the popular misconception that consistent sensory evaluation of wine is a random occurrence. In developing an algorithm designed to help consumers make wine selections based on personal preference, the company has established a benchmark based on the results of its top-performing tasters (including this author) and intends …

Eyes on the prize

Once you’ve made the decision to pursue a professional certification, there’s more to making the grade than meets the eye. For anyone considering, or already pursuing,one of the beverage industry’s most rigorous professional certifications — the Wine & Spirit Education Trust(WSET) Diploma—aligning your expectations and adopting strategies will make navigating the program easier and significantly more rewarding. With only 36 Diplomas awarded in the U.S. by the London-based WSET in 2008 (WSET now lists awards by year and Approved Program Provider), the benefits of sticking out this program, which can be completed in as little as two years or self-paced over a longer period, are many. WSET certification is a proven way to differentiate yourself in any job market. Diploma candidate William Emile Bond III recently accepted a position as a Northern Wildman and Sons, where his WSET status helped him connect. “As far as credentials go, it’s a valuable thing to have on your resume,” Bond says. “The hiring manager at Wildman earned his Diploma in New York, and it definitely caught his eye …

Journey up the river: The Loire Valley from Nantes to Sancerre

It can be said that each wine region of France has a personality, one dictated as much by the winegrowers themselves as it is by geography, history and grape varieties. To the southwest of Paris lies the Loire Valley, comprising four distinct regions running westward with the fl ow of the Loire River; most of the winegrowing here occurs within sight of its banks or those of its many tributaries. The Loire is by nature a languid river; it meanders through countryside dotted with Renaissance palaces and châteaux as it makes its way towards the Atlantic Ocean. From this terminus, the river’s estuary in the Nantais region, a journey up the river begins. Complete article here…Loire_Valley

The language of the Languedoc

The AOC winegrowers of the Languedoc are an eclectic group: genteel local families, pioneers from France’s most prestigious wine regions and European ex-pats, all of whom express a similar goal: to make wines that convey the spirit of their distinct growing regions from the varieties best suited to them. More than ever before, quality is now the factor that distinguishes Languedoc’s AOC-level wines. Though each Languedoc sub-appellation has unique terroir, the region overall benefits from maritime influence, hot summers, drying winds and mild winters that create some of the most consistent vintages in all of France. AOC producers emphasize lower yields, sustainable practices and hygienic winemaking as means to showcase the quality of their fruit and finished wines. Complete article here…The Language of the Languedoc