Blind tasting is one of the most important aspects a wine professional needs to master. When we talk about blind tasting, it means tasting and evaluating wines without having any information about them. 

In the wine world, blind tasting is done for various reasons, including:

  • Improving your palate.

  • Improving your evaluation skills of a wine.

  • Judging wine competitions. 

  • Have unbiased opinions about a particular wine. 

For many people, wine professionals included, it takes years to master the art of blind tasting. Blind tasting in itself has different segments which need to be focused on. But that’s for another time. 

Before you even step into the world of blind tasting, the first step you need to take is to be prepared for what’s to come. 

So today, we’re going to talk about 5 different things one needs to keep in mind while preparing for blind tasting, be it at a wine competition, a friendly tasting, or a professional one.

1. A clean set of glasses

A clean set of glasses is key when it comes to blind tasting. The first step in assessing a wine comes by looking at it, and a clean set of glasses will help you in clearly looking at the wine and its clarity, brightness, concentration, colour, viscosity, etc. If your glasses aren’t clean, then at times, you can also get distracting odours coming from the glassware, that will hinder the actual aromas of the wine while sniffing. 

2. A book and a pen

Always make notes. It’s important for you to take notes depending on what you’re tasting. This is super helpful for when you’re trying to conclude what wine you’re tasting. 

3.  A glass of water

Keep a glass of water with you to take some tiny sips in between your tasting to cleanse your palate. It’s recommended to have room temperature water because you don’t want the cold water to numb your palate.

4.  Keep a guide with you

If you’re new to the world of blind tasting, it’s always helpful to have a guide that can aid you in deriving the different parameters on how a wine should be tasted. There are many guides available online, like the one from WSET and Court of Master Sommeliers. 

5.  Be patient

It’s very important to complete your tasting before drawing your final conclusions. Often, as wine tasters, we get tempted to start drawing conclusions very quickly, whether it’s by the aromas, or in the way it looks. Once the wine starts to give you some hints and clues, your mind sort of jumps over and pre-decides what the wine is. Sometimes, this can distort your ability to taste well and with competence. Always conclude at the end based on all the evidence derived. 

And that’s how you prepare yourself for a blind tasting. 

Originally published May 26, 2022

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