This week and next I’ll be talking about tasting reds, starting with three classic wines: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. As a reminder, classic wines typify a style or region, meaning they are produced with seeming perfect consistency that the quality of the wine is standardized. Wine professionals, thus, often use classic wines for teaching about wine because the results can be replicated over and over and over.
When you taste classic wines, therefore, you can begin to memorize traits that will be consistent across all offerings in that varietal. That’s how sommeliers train for and pass blind tasting exams.
So let’s look at the profile of each.
Zinfandels are most frequently described as “jammy” with a full mouth feel that’s heavy on berries and fruit forward. That said, it is not overtly sweet.
Cabernet is the “steak wine,” full bodied with enough acidity and tannin to cut through rich dishes and/or red meat. It’s fruit profile is a bit sharper, and it also trends dry.
Pinot Noir should be slightly less “intense” than the other two. Less full bodied, Pinot Noir is generally a “crowd pleasing” kind of wine because it’s well balanced. Also, it will likely have the lowest alcohol content of the three.
During our blind white tasting, four of us at the table went three for three picking the white varieties correctly. I anticipate the reds being slightly more difficult…though Zinfandel and Cabernet are frequently our preferred red wine picks. So hopefully we stand a chance!
Part two next week will feature the three wines we tasted along with our results! Stay tuned.
Wash your hands! Cheers!