Wine tastings are not just for wine lovers, they are a lot of fun and also great activities for team building events, get in touch
with us if you are thinking of organising one, and comparative wine tasting is a great way to hone your wine appreciation skills. Only by comparing wines with a common theme can you really appreciate their subtle differences.
A bit like with a science experiment, the idea is to keep as many wine factors constant as possible and then compare one variable.
Always been interested in the difference between Syrah and Shiraz? This is a popular comparative wine tasting idea that explores the nuances of two wines made from the same grape grown in different regions.
It doesn't need to be as serious or expensive as it sounds either. Set a budget and theme and each of your friends can bring a bottle to your next meet up.
Below, we're going to look at five fun comparative wine tasting themes that are sure to be a hit with any group of wine lovers. 1. Old World vs. New World Wines
First and foremost, this comparison explores the effect of terroir on wine. Terroir is the effect of a wine region’s soil, terrain, and climate on the wine grapes, and therefore the wine that is produced.
This wine tasting also compares the age-old winemaking traditions of Old World wineries with the approach of New World wineries.
For this tasting, you'll want to choose a variety that’s made across the world. Comparing Australian and Italian Chardonnay is a good option. So too is comparing French Chardonnay with an Italian Chardonnay (just make sure they’re all oaked or unoaked). 2. Comparing Vintages
In this comparative wine tasting, you will need at least three bottle of the same wine from different vintages.
For example, you could compare a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon with a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. But, it’s better to have a wider spread of years. Being able to compare the same wine over a period of 5-10 years for example would be ideal.
This is a great way to learn how wine ages in the bottle and changes over time.
For example, tertiary flavors and aromas develop as wine ages. Do the fresh fruit flavors and aromas of the younger wine mature into dried fruit ones in the older wines? 3. Oaked vs Unoaked Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a versatile grape that takes on different flavors depending on how it's made. When tasted side-by-side, oaked and unoaked chardonnays can exhibit a wide range of flavors and aromas.
Maturing wine in oak barrels imparts certain flavors and aromas onto the wine and you’ll be able to pinpoint the differences with this wine tasting idea and the type of oak can make a difference too (American, French, Spanish), but maybe that’s for another more advanced wine tasting!
Try and keep as many things constant with the chosen wines as possible. You’ll want them to be from the same region or at least the same country. Also, taste the unoaked wines first as they are a little lighter. 4. Exploring Tannin in Wine
This is a fun one for the beginner as it involves many varieties of wine. It also explores the unusual concept of wine tannin, which can be a hard one to explain to someone that hasn’t tasted much wine. Tim Edison at Wineturtle.com
has a great explanation.
You’ll need a range of red wines that represent the scope of tannin in wine from low to high. It’s important to start with the low-tannin wines with this. By starting with the bolder wines you’ll overwhelm your senses by the time you get to the Pinot Noir!
You can use something like this:
Pinot Noir (low tannin) > Montepulciano d’Abruzzo> Sangiovese > Nebbiolo (high tannin)
How does the level of tannin affect the taste? How does it affect the body? 5. Exploring Sauvignon Blanc
This wine tasting works equally well with anything else made in multiple wine regions. Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, for example, are two. It explores the effects of terroir and climate on the same grape.
What you need is Sauvignon Blanc from multiple countries. Great Sauvignon Blanc is available from the USA, France, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, and South Africa.
How do the cooler climate French wines taste compare to the warm climate Californian wines? You’ll be surprised how different they taste!
We’ve just scratched the surface with these ideas. The scope of wines available is mind-boggling, and so too are the nuances that we can compare.
There’s a huge variation in the difficulty of the comparisons you can make. This makes it the perfect wine tasting exercise for newcomers and experienced wine drinkers alike.
Easily mastered the differences oak ageing has on Chardonnay? Well, next try the effects of different oak or the length of time of the oak ageing.
The key is to keep it fun and to keep trying new things. Comparative wine tasting helps develop your appreciation for wine and also your ability to assess it. You’ll be surprised how your senses sharpen by tasting wine in this way!
At Italyabroad.com we run plenty of wine tasting events
, join us and you will have fun, meet like minded people and taste great Italian wine.