What makes one wine unique and distinct from another?
I’m frequently asked this question. Aside from the obvious considerations such as different grape varieties and different countries/regions of origin, there is no empirical answer or immutable consensus. When considering wine, I initially call on my natural penchant for data analysis to narrow down the distinctive qualities of comparative wines.
After drilling down to the lowest common denominator of objective data, I then apply my palate’s learned behavior of likes and dislikes to evaluate the subjective characteristics of the wine at hand.
This process may sound a bit convoluted and stilted, but in practice, it flows instinctively from my memory banks and learned behavior.
The analytical component of my evaluation is based on my knowledge of a wine’s viticultural (read agricultural) composition, including the type of soil and plantings in the vineyard and the elevation of the grapevines, be it a valley, benchland, hillside or mountain.
The subjective, palate-driven component of my evaluation is based on a wine’s vinicultural (read winemaking) influences, including the duration of the fermentation stage and the nuanced practices and techniques of the winemaker from vat to bottle.
The end product is the sum total of these numerous macro and micro components, which in combination create an original wine – one that sings of its heritage and its master’s craftsmanship.
At times, an…