A New and Hidden Code of Wine Tasting
Almost all of my wine tasting education has been practical. That is to say, what I know about evaluating wine and how I evaluate wine has resulted from tasting wine a lot. Beyond that, my inquiries into the practice of wine tasting and evaluating wine has been done on a philosophical and aesthetic level. That is to say, I've done a good deal of reading and thinking about the epistemology of wine or what it means to embrace a "position" concerning what is "good" wine or "better" wine.
These guys however have introduced me to something quite new in the world of wine evaluation. But hang on. What Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser wants to explain to you from his work with Tim Hallbom of the Everyday Genius Institute may seem daunting at first given the way it is described via the Sommelier Journal's headline on the story:
It would be a little foolish of me to attempt to re-explain what Gaiser lays out in the above article. It's pretty complex stuff that requires you think about the connection between aroma, taste, memory and a form of mental image retrieval and manipulation that connects it all
That said, consider this:
"Olfactory memory is triggered by internal visual images….The structural qualities of these images, or submodalities, are of critical importance….Professional tasters can keep multiple images of different aromas in mind at the same time. Once we create an image, we quickly move it to another location in our inner field of vision to make room for more. When we’ve found all the aromas we can, we mentally step back from the montage of images we have created to assess them collectively, identify or evaluate the wine, and, ideally, enjoy it."
The article in Sommelier Journal give concrete examples of how this method of wine evaluation works by looking at the visual image field that wine experts Karen McNeil and Evan Goldstein create in evaluating wine. It's a fascinating perspective on wine evaluation that holds great potential not only for the wine professional and wine aficionado, but also for marketing and education.
This article is highly condensed version of a much larger explanation of how we can evaluate wine more successfully using this approach that is laid out in The Everyday Genius Institutes's educational module, "Taste Wine Like a Pro: Think Like a Genius Wine Taster"
The subject of how to taste and evaluate wine is gargantuan and takes into account not just the neurological processes that are discussed in this article, but also issues of judgement, terroir, the philosophy of aesthetics and, for some, cultural palate preferences. What's outlined here, however, is a method of undertaking critical evaluation of wine that I've not seen explained before. That fact that it is modeled out by Tim Gaiser along with the behavioral scientist Halborn is what gives the technique the kind of authority you ought to consider more than enough to drive you to at least read through the article, if not investigate further.