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Learn to think like a wine expert and you can be 90% as good

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We have just sold our last two bottles of the Langdorf Kaldukee Barossa Valley Frontignac 2015. I tasted this wine in 2016 and rang the winemaker with thanks for making it and commented that it was in a class of its own. I also knew it would be hard to sell as it came from the fringe beyond the fringe. There are families of varieties which have such powerful and distinctive aromas and tastes that they are just too much and are rejected by customers. This wine was also bare bones in that it was fermented bone dry with no sweetness to disguise the taste.

The view at Glug is never to reject great wine and leave it to customers to make of our bottlings what they will. The maker later approached Benjamin and we purchased the bulk in October 2018 and it went on sale on the 5th November, 2018.

The last 70 years has seen the rise of an educated class creating positions for themselves as wine experts. I worry that qualifications like Masters of Wine, the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Association de la Sommelerie Internationales ‘Best in World’, and opinionators running master classes, may lead keen drinkers to think a much higher plateau of tasting ability exists than they can ever reach.

This is not so though you will need to take an active interest and stay curious.

Of the emails I receive most are about not understanding and recognising the use additives in the making of wine, such as the flavours from oak barrels though the main ones are the use of sweetness and acidity to balance and disguise tastes. Others are to do with rejecting unfamiliar tastes when they should be studied, and questions asked.

To get a wine experts certificate requires a great deal of study. A recent exam paper from the Association de la Sommelerie Internationales asked; name the country for each of the following wine areas; Drama, Maipo, Primorska, Cinti, Trasimeno, Serra Gaúcha, Istra, Posavje, Mérida, Azuay, Monterrey, and Montevideo.

This is all rather silly as becoming the Barry Jones of wine teaches nothing. Instead train yourself not to overreact is a good start. Move to the view I have that all wines are interesting and should only be rejected because of gross faults from things like bacterial spoilage and problems of oxidation and not because you are so precious that they offend your delicate nature.

Accordingly, I thank the few Glug customers that found delight in the Langdorf Kaldukee Barossa Valley Frontignac 2015 for showing they are in a class of their own.

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