The Best Evidence for Genuine Wine Expertise

UT-hmpg-link-white-finalThe press and the public seem to never tire of the lazy, thoughtless assertion that wine expertise doesn’t exist, that wine quality is just subjective.

So I’m going to use this happy occasion to once again point out the obvious—we are virtually certain that wine experts really do know what they’re talking about.

My former WSET instructor and all around nice person Lindsay Pomeroy, owner of Wine Smarties, is now a Master of Wine! Congratulations Lindsay!

There are fewer than 40 U.S. masters and only 380 in the world. To pass the tasting portion of the exam you have to sit for three 12-wine blind tastings, each lasting two and a quarter hours, in which wines from anyplace in the world must be assessed for variety, origin, winemaking, quality and style.

Guess what. They aren’t consulting oracles or hallucinating their answers. If you don’t know your stuff, you don’t pass, period.

If wine tasting is nonsense what explains their ability to pass the exam? I can’t think of an argument, except for some conspiracy worthy of Trump, that would refute this obvious point.

The fact of the matter is, the more you taste attentively, and the more knowledge you have about wine regions, vinification processes, etc. the more you can use that knowledge to shape your tasting experience to conform to objective properties of the wine.

Of course, the exam has been around since 1953, and that hasn’t stopped people who should know better from acting the fool because it flatters their audience.


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