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A Matter of Taste

“Zeez young American girl…I am surprised. She eez young and thin, but she can drink like a taxi driver!” This is what the French uncle of Eric and Laurence had to say about me last night over magre de canard. I almost choked on the Burgundy pinot noir that Eric had just poured for me. But then he continued, “non, non, it eez a compliment…I am impressed! And it eez important if she wants to be a winemaker.”

It’s true, one of the most important things I’ve learned from Jared and Tracey, and again from Eric, is the necessity of tasting, tasting, and more tasting. Both in the cellar and out. It is crucial to learn and recognize the qualities you like in a wine, and that goes for recreational wine enthusiasts as well. Bien sur! In the cellar, tasting is the most reliable way to assess a wine’s progress. Are there residual sugars? Does the wine seem to be going through malos yet? Is there a strange nose or taste that might indicate a harmful bacteria? With practice, the tongue can answer these questions and more. And this was always my favorite part of working at A Donkey and Goat. It’s amazing the vast differences you can find between various vineyards of the same grape, and even between separate barrels of the same wine! That’s the magic of terroir, for you. And thanks for putting my taste buds in training right from the very start, Jared and Tracey. They’ve got a long way to go, but I think the ride will be very enjoyable…and delicious!
And I guess if being a struggling winemaker fails, I can always make some money as a taxi driver…
For more adventures along the wine route of the Rhone Valley, check out my blog at