Photos
© Roger C. Bohmrich

Tasting notes for a stellar assortment of great estates from


BANDOL

A VARIETY OF REGIONS

Tasting notes for a variety of


AUSTRIAN WINES


My report on an eye-opening judging of Turkish wines


MASTERS OF WINE WEEKEND 2013 - ISTANBUL

Tasting Notes for

Benchmark Chilean wines

 

"Vinos de Terroir"

A tasting of wines made from old vines in various environments.
Do they make a difference?

ANCIENT WINES

An intriguing tasting presented by

Joel Butler MW

SHERRY

Varied expressions of the world's most overlooked wine

WINES OF NINGXIA

Cult wines from China's star region


Presented by

Bob Betz MW

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY NEIGHBORHOODS

A fascinating tasting of California terroir

Tasting Notes...and a few Videos

This section of the website is dynamic. It will be modified and updated on a regular basis with information, notes and commentary about wines I have tasted. I may single out individual wines to feature on this and the next page that I believe deserve recognition and praise. I am a completely independent commentator, and all the comments and ratings are my own and reflect my personal assessments, presented to the best of my ability.

Wine Rating System
First, you should know that I believe that all methods that try to quantify the quality of wine are flawed. Those that try to be precise are the most arbitrary and least credible.
Wouldn't it just be simpler, you might say, to use the 100-point scale that is so commonplace and easy for most people to understand? Yes, that would be the path of least resistance, but how could I in good conscience use an approach I do not find plausible? What is the difference between a wine rated 87 and one rated 89? On what basis is the scorer assigning a number - compared to all wine generally (the worst and most subjective approach), to wines of the same grape variety, district, region or country? Or compared to all wines of a specific type, or a similar blend, around the world? The truth is that ratings reflect all of these approaches, often inconsistently depending upon the reviewer or even the category of wine. For these and other reasons, I subscribe to two fundamental principles in my rating approach:
 
 

1. I prefer broad, less precise groupings and therefore have opted for five tiers of quality assessment, allowing considerable flexibility.

 
 

2. I rate wines according to their peer group: a family of wines from the same variety or blend within a region of origin. It is thus possible to assign the highest rating to a wine I believe is an exceptional example of its type, even if that wine is not among the greatest wines of the world. This approach is closer to a wine judging, in which a gold medal could be awarded to a top performer in a well-defined category even if it is a comparatively humble wine. For example, a regional Côtes du Rhône and a far more powerful, multi-faceted Châteauneuf-du-Pape could both merit 5 stars provided each is a truly exceptional rendition of its appellation.

How to taste in a few simple steps

Wine Tasting

What are the 5 S’s of wine tasting? Do you use these in your wine appreciation classes? Thanks for your reply.


The "5 S's" of wine tasting could be seen as just a catchy memory device, yet the concept is grounded in a sensible tasting strategy. The first step or S is to "See" or examine the appearance of a wine in the glass, which may provide various information to be confirmed by the subsequent steps. This should be done while tilting the glass over a white surface illuminated by a bright incandescent light. The clarity of the wine is to be noted, although contemporary wine handling renders virtually all (filtered) wine completely clear. In older wines, of course, there can be sediment to varying degrees. Young reds typically have a purple rim and vibrant color which fades and browns with time; whites may be lightly gold when young before darkening and browning as they become older. A brownish tint could also tell the taster that the wine has been deliberately exposed to air during extended aging in the cellar, as would be the case with a Tawny Port. The second S is for "Swirl," the act of rotating the glass by the stem so as to provoke release of the volatile aromatic compounds prior to step three, "Sniff" (or "Smell"). This is an absolutely vital component of the tasting process, since what we call flavor is determined mainly by aroma. Unfortunately, many people tend to rush past this essential step. We could also say that the nose of a wine is a source of tremendous pleasure, not just for those wines based on so-called aromatic grape varieties (for example, Riesling or Muscat). The world's finest wines possess multidimensional aromatic personalities. The nose might also tell us about defects and off-odors. Next, we come to "Sip" as we take some of the wine into the mouth, perhaps aiding our senses by drawing a bit of air and gently moving the wine around the palate. (Pros do this without drawing the attention of a room full of people!) At this point, we can take note of the basic tastes such as acidity, bitterness, sweetness and - in a few instances - saltiness (the fifth taste, umami, is a more complicated issue in wine tasted without food). As we do this, we arrive at the final stage, "Savor," when we can assess and reflect on the overall characteristics of the wine, including its state of development, body, balance and, once again, the aromatic traits which ascend through our retro nasal passages. Last, we may savor the length of the finish, or how long the flavors persist. The greatest wines have the most lasting and complex finishes. So the 5 S's really do make a lot of sense and they can help anyone to go about tasting in a deliberate, disciplined manner - taking notes at each step if you're really serious and want a record for the future.

An answer I wrote in my role handling the Q&A on LocalWineEvents.com. Read more sample answers by clicking here.

VIDEOS filmed in Bordeaux you might enjoy

A walking tour of Vieux Bordeaux, the old town center
Join me for a private tour & tasting
Join me as I taste top Pomerol wines
in the spring after harvest
Discover the charms of this famous wine town
A brief stop at a famous property
that inspired my love of wine

My Rating Scale

 

* poor, possibly flawed

 

** below average or deficient

 

*** good, well-made

 

**** excellent

 

***** exceptional

 

(  ) denotes added potential with bottle aging

 

My system is not perfect, but it serves to establish a general ranking in terms that are equitable, and it allows for any high-achieving wine to be recognized for its merit.

BORDEAUX
And here are my notes for the outstanding 2009s tasted at the UGC event in 2012


Extensive side-by-side notes comparing wines tasted from barrel with the finished product - a fascinating comparison!


And here are my notes for the 2011s tasted at the UGC event in 2014


 2011 BORDEAUX

RHÔNE
MY COMPLETE TASTING NOTES FROM THE
64 PAGES & DOZENS OF GROWERS, COMMENTS ON CURRENT VINTAGES & THUMBNAIL SKETCHES OF EACH DOMAINE
ITALY
My tasting notes for the

And here are the complete notes from the

"Amarone Families"

tasting

New York, Nov 2012

 

Several of these wines

were awarded the

Tre Bicchieri 2013

These are my tasting notes from the 2013 Brunello tasting

 

2008 BRUNELLO

2007 BRUNELLO RISERVA

I attended a unique tasting of the little-known Boca denomination of northern Piedmont showcasing wines of an exceptional grower, Le Piane. Here are my notes from that vertical.
 

These are my tasting notes for a range of Piedmont wines from vintages 2006 to 2011


A tour of the vineyards & cellars
and a conversation with Olivier Bernard
A quick stop at a famous Pauillac property