Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Decoding Barrel Tasting

En primeur is upon us: The season of tasting barrel samples of the next Bordeaux vintage has arrived, and with it all the hubbub that accompanies this first look at the juice itself.

Of course, tasting barrel samples is quite different from experiencing the real thing; an entirely different mindset and metric is brought to the task than it is for tasting the finished product. The question that most wine professionals are asked fairly regularly, then, is this: How do you do it? How do you know what you’re looking for at this early stage in the game?

Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth, who has taken over Bordeaux-tasting duties from the departed James Suckling, posted a fantastic blog yesterday morning that answers the question and sheds some much-needed light on an often mysterious process. As en primeur gears up, it’s a great guide to understanding what you’ll be reading in the coming weeks.


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