Have you ever read the winemaker’s notes that is sometimes on the back label of a wine bottle or from the winery’s website then try to see if you can pick up the same aromas and flavours? Or even more challenging, to taste the wine first on your own; making your own notes, then reading what the winemaker says about their wine? I have done both. Recently I received two bottles of wines to taste. The wines are from different wineries, different countries, and different grapes; and they came with the winemaker’s tasting notes sheet. I did not read the sheets before I wrote my tasting notes, as it could subconsciously bias what I write. I always taste any wine that I evaluate blind, and then will go back to see how my notes are similar or different from the winemaker’s notes. Below are my latest tasting notes comparisons for Emiliana Novas Carmenere/Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (BC $16.99) from Chile, and Two Oceans Shiraz 2015 (BC $9.99) from South Africa.
Emiliana Novas Carmenere/Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
The winemaker’s tasting notes state: Intense ruby red. The nose features red fruits such as strawberries and cherries that combine with spicy notes of nutmeg and pepper. The palate presents rich volume and structure with velvety, ripe tannins. The wine has good acidity with red fruit flavours that mark a persistent finish.
My notes: Deep ruby colour in the glass. Medium plus, youthful aromas in the glass. Sweet ripe red fruit, vanilla, black fruit, with hints of cloves, capsicum, cedar and dark chocolate aromas. The wine is dry with medium acidity tannins and alcohol. Medium plus body that is round and soft. It shows off a salty minerality, together with ripe raspberries and red fruits, in particular raspberries. There is also vanilla, black fruit and black cherries on the palate. With decanting you get softer tannins and a hint of perfume. The wine has a medium length, finishing with ripe red fruit, pepper, and raspberries at the very end. This is an organic wine for those that look for this type of wine in your local wine shop.
Rating: Ripe, round, red and black fruits, with a soft round mouth-feel and the hint of pepper make this wine a good contender for roasted or grilled meats.
I see a good correlation between the two notes. Having the wine recently bottled and the tasting notes made at that time, tends to show to me a good match with my notes. Sometimes if you see that your notes are quite different from the winemaker’s tasting notes, check to see if the wine vintage you are tasting has been released for a year or more, as wines do evolve in the bottle, and indeed your notes could be different.
Two Oceans Shiraz 2015
The winemaker’s tasting notes state: Bright, vibrant red colour. Intense aromas of raspberries and strawberries with a hint of white pepper and a smoky background as a result of subtle oaking. Juicy and soft on the palate with red berry fruit flavours and spicy, peppery nuances. The tannins are soft and mouth-filling with a lingering spicy finish.
My Notes: Medium plus ruby in colour. It has a medium intensity nose with black fruit, black cherry, black currant and vanilla, together with hints of smoke and milk chocolate. With decanting, the wine becomes much more smoky on the nose. It is dry, soft and round with a medium mouth-feel. The tannins are very, very soft. The wine has medium body and flavour intensity. Black fruit, black cherry and vanilla on the palate. With decanting the tannins do become a bit stronger, and the smokiness appears as well on the palate. A shorter finish, with some bitterness and dark fruit flavours. Tannins are not apparent upon first tasting, but as noted, with decanting you do get them on the finish. The smokiness also continues on finish with decanting.
Rating: A wine with dark fruit, in particular black cherries aromas and flavours. Light smokiness upon first opening that becomes more prominent with decanting.
In this comparison, the winemaker’s notes and my notes are a bit different. The winemaker states red fruit aromas and flavours, while I picked up black fruits and black cherries. We both agree that the wine is smoky and that the tannins are very soft. The difference in our notes could be due to aging in the bottle. Don’t be afraid if your notes are different from the winemaker’s notes. It is always a good to try to describe the wine you are tasting, and to see what other people say about the wine as well. You learn something, and this makes you a better wine taster over time. I hope you enjoyed these 2 comparisons. Give them a try, and make your notes. They are both general listings in the BC Liquor stores.