Please scroll down to Part 1 and then go forward.
I am not a statistics guy. Far from it. It makes sense to me that a numerical scoring scale from one to twenty for scoring a wine per taster and then tabulating the sum of all scores for that wine from eleven tasters and then dividing by eleven to get the average score, would actually be a pretty good system. But I'm not a statistics guy and apparently there was much wrong with the scoring in Paris on May 24th, 1976. In summary: The data sample was too small to be meaningful and because there was no common understanding of what the scoring reflected (grading system) the numbers may as well have been random. So to the statistician, this tasting was not definitive.
In fact there was much disparity from scorecard to scorecard with no one wine topping everyone's card, although there was a total points winner in Chateau Montelena's Chardonnay which outscored all of the reds in total points. Chateau Montrose red Bordeaux was the top wine on most red cards but Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet earned more points in accumulation over all cards so it was deemed the top red. The heterogeneity of the judging does weigh toward the conclusions of the statisticians of the above paragraph and our conclusions about subjectivity in tasting in the previous installment would seem relevant also.
So what are we looking for in wine tasting? We look for color, aroma, taste, body, structure and balance, and finish. We look for what is not appropriate and we look for what is exceedingly appropriate in a given wine. Probably the best attribute of a wine is finesse, or fine-ness, with complex and harmonious flavors dancing around and with each other most agreeably before resolving into a pleasant finish that lasts and lasts. If we are buyers, we look for soft tannins that may indicate cellaring potential. If we are buying for dinner tonight, we may consult an authority on wine pairings and then trust our own palate about matching wine with food.
Whenever I taste out new world wines with europeans, I always place the europeans before the new world wines because they are drier and show better when not preceded by a fruitier wine. If I taste out cheese with wine, I try to offer the best european cheeses with european wines for the same reason.
This Friday (5-7pm) we will be tasting our usual assortment of red and white, new and old world fare but next Tuesday July 10th (5-7pm) we will have a special event featuring Gail Avera of Allgood Wines and Mariano Cebrian of Panoram Imports of Argentina with their remarkable high altitude Malbecs and more. Two months ago we tasted the Laborum line from Panoram and they were as good as you could imagine in the thirty dollar range. These will be $15-$25. Please join us.