For our June Rose Decoder we had to taste a lot of wine to find the 5 best picks for the summer (rough life, right, but imagine the other 364 days of the year when we are plowing through hot dogs, canned beans, and other basics for road tests) so we used a very unusual wine tasting tool that you might not immediately think of: brown paper lunch bags. Genius, right?
The fact is, everybody has pre-formed opinions and prejudices about wine, based on price, label design, or being from a certain place or producer. Removing these biases keeps tasters honest since they have no choice but to evaluate the wine in the glass. Keep in mind that blind doesn’t mean blindfolded, (which we don’t recommend unless you have complete faith in your dry cleaner) since a wine’s color is a huge part of evaluating it.
This method isn’t just for pros. Anyone who wants to learn about wine can try it: Starting with three or more wines at once that each fall within the same category of region, grape, or style (such as rose), you can learn a great deal about wines by comparing them blind. (Comparing just red wines won’t be as useful, for example, as comparing California Chardonnays or Oregon Pinot Noirs since comparing red wines from different grapes and places can be like comparing apples, oranges, and bananas.) That said, comparing wines that all fall within a certain price range can lead to some exciting discoveries.
I am an inveterate wine bargain hunter (generally I don’t spend more than $12 a bottle) and periodically will open a few bottles with friends to see what is best. Better yet is if you have a few friends over and everyone brings a bottle to open, taste, and share.
Since we tasted roses on work time, we spat them out after sipping and swirling; here’s hoping you won’t have to.