Friday, September 4, 2009

Should I Hold Only 'Blind' Tastings?

When you're having a winetasting, this question may come up: Should you always make it a blind tasting, so people aren't influenced by the label/price/reputation? Or should it be an open tasting, so you can educate yourselves about the wines?

It depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

If you are
rating, scoring, ranking the wines, there is considerable evidence (anecdotal as well as scientific studies) that show that knowing the wines you're tasting will affect your perception of what you're tasting and its relative value. So for scoring purposes, you have to taste blind or your results will be worthless.

OTOH, if you are tasting for the sake of
enjoying comparing various wines, or to learn something about the wines, then you can have a non-blind tasting, and in your discussion be sure to ask to what degree everyone feels that their sense of the wine is affected by its reputation, the type of wine it is, how you are "supposed" to feel about wine like that, its price, or even the reputation of the person who brought that bottle to the tasting.

It should prove a revealing discussion, and one with endless interest for future tastings.

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