Blind or not blind?


1952 Morin Nuits 1er Les Cailles
Great, good or bad – I feel I’d be wasting this bottle by putting it in a blind line-up…

Referencing this recent post – there was a comment (and linked study) from reader, Siddharth Dasgupta – particularly relevant to the potential for inbuilt bias whilst tasting.

It’s something that you have to be aware of and I know I do sometimes find myself making apologies for small issues – relevant at the time of tasting – but perhaps not relevant in the context of an anticipated maturity window for wines of known (higher) potential at maturity – blind tasting is largely in the moment. So a few thoughts on my perspective:

Blind tasting has its place and it’s a great place for grounding – indeed challenging – your expectations but from my perspective, the whole idea of Burgundian hierarchies and appellations and climate and lieux-dits – not to mention the vintage effect – makes for the extra anticipation of drinking a Chambolle – or a Musigny! It is exactly this anticipation and how the wine compares to the construct that I have prepared in my mind for the wine and the vintage that is the most fascinating to me.

Of course, I may be more inclined to forgive some aspects of an expensive wine due to the reasoning cited above or I may be in another camp – one that will be less tolerant of issues – particularly outright faults – but it’s exactly this construct that can also highlight, indeed emphasise, my disappointments. Renown and your personal expectations can be a double-edged sword – and a sharp one at that!

Maybe my fortunate position as not just(!) a taster of thousands of wines per year – I like drinking them too! – gives me a different perspective to that of the average drinker – I’ve already tasted at more than 370 domaines since the 2022 harvest. But for me there’s even more pleasure and interest in comparing a wine with my expectations than the discovery of something blind – but both are important – it’s simply a question of the ratio of one to another.

Or how about coupling the two? – what about 20x Echézeaux from a single vintage? – That sounds good to me!

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There is one response to “Blind or not blind?”

  1. Siddharth Dasgupta13th July 2023 at 3:09 pmPermalinkReply

    I had made a note of 3 different expert opinions of the same wine – 2005 Michel Bailly Les Loges Sauvignon Blanc. It’s hard to make sense of such differing tasting notes:

    Intriguing, with a hint of matchstick giving way to lemon curd, straw, chamomile, fresh thyme and white peach notes, followed by a stony finish. Has nice mouthfeel and length. Drink now through 2008. Score: 90. —James Molesworth, November 30, 2007

    Bright gold. Spiced apple and pear on the nose, with a pungent, grassy undertone. Lush, juicy and full-flavored, with strong peach and melon notes, bright acidity and a late note of orange. Shows both tangy and sweeter fruits, with very good acid and mineral lift on the finish. Intense enough to stand up to richly sauced dishes. Score: 90.

    Aromas of clover, thyme and grapefruit in Michel Bailly’s 2005 Pouilly-Fume Les Loges lead to a lithe, juicy palate featuring grapefruit citricity and transparent to myriad herbal and mineral nuances. This is a particularly pure, understated Pouilly-Fume, free of any bitterness and persistently refreshing. Score: 89. —David Schildknecht, August 2007.

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