Wine Tastings

In this category each blog post is a wine I’ve tasted. As I am based in Madrid most of the wines are Spanish. However I’m a frequent visitor to the UK where I take the opportunity to check out the international wines on offer, so there is a fair smattering of non Spanish wines mixed in.

Now I will be the first to admit that I am not a wine expert just someone who has drunk and enjoyed an awful lot of wine during my life. These posts are my own personal and honest musings on the wines I have tried. It doesn’t even include all the wines I drink as sometimes I’m just too busy drinking the stuff to worry overmuch about how it tastes. I can enjoy a glass of wine without having to decide which particular citrus fruits it favours and whether the acidity has been balanced correctly. I would encourage you to do the same: open that bottle and just enjoy what nature has given you.

Having said that if you are curious to know what a particular wine tastes like then feel free to delve in.

Each post contains a table detailing the basics of the wine (country, colour, alcohol level, region, grapes used etc). Some of these are also included in the tags attached to the post, so if at a later stage you wish to see all the wines from Rioja that I’ve tried you can open that tab and get the full list. The tab options are listed in the ‘tab cloud’ on the right hand side of each page/post.

The actual tasting is contained in the main section of the write up. I try to include all the key details normally associated with a wine tasting and as recommended by the Wine and Spirits Trust: Appearance (clarity – intensity – colour), Nose (condition – intensity – aroma), Taste/Palate (sweetness – acidity – tannin – body – flavour -length). However, sometimes this is just not possible as I may be in a bar with low lighting so can’t actually see the wine, or perhaps in a restaurant with lots of food scents in the air so it is difficult to tell what the wine smells likes. Sometimes during wine tastings where several wines are available I may have got to the point where my tastebuds have given up or become overwhelmed (or maybe I’m just a bit inebriated), because I do not believe in spitting out good wine just so I can try some more.

I taste wines in real life conditions, not in the ideal clinical settings recommended by many wine schools. As far as I’m concerned any wine I try needs to be able to handle these every day settings or it’s unlikely to succeed on the mass market. Most of us will drink wine in a bar or restaurant or whilst eating at home. We are not experts and wont necessarily pair our wines with the right food, but just go with wines we know we like. So if I ate garlic for lunch or I’m sat in an Indian restaurant then the wine will just have to deal with this or I won’t be buying it again.

Of course all the above will affect my judgement of the wine, so I do try to let you know the conditions in which I tried the wine. Also bare in mind that just because I like or dislike a particular wine doesn’t mean that you will. My tastes run to lighter wines, so whilst I am happy to drink white, rose and red wines, I do not particularly enjoy the heavier reds. I find it difficult to differentiate the flavours in red wines with higher levels of tannins. The label may talk of coffee beans, cloves and olive tapenade flavours, but I usually just get a mouthful of angostura bitters. I don’t like coffee that much either. I will try the heavier reds but I doubt my description of them does them the credit they deserve. I have a friend who prefers heavier and spicier reds. When we go to wine tastings together her experience of these wines is vastly different from mine.

I guess what I’m trying to say is the only way you will know if you like a wine is to be honest about your own taste preferences and to try the wine for yourself.

Finally I try to give a price for the wine. This will be the price of where I am at the time, which is clearly different for the wines I buy in Spain versus those in the UK. It also varies according whether I’m buying in a supermarket or in a bar/restaurant. If I don’t have a price I will usually look it up on the online wine suppliers in Spain. Basically you should take the prices with a pinch of salt, because they may be vastly different where you buy your wine.