A while back, I wrote a post that discussed the unreliability of wine competitions and cited a study from the Journal of Wine Economics. The study examined 13 wine competitions in the U.S. and found that there was no consensus among the different outcomes. The bottom line: wines that were awarded medals at one event, often received no honors at another. And gold medals can only be statistically explained by random chance.
I feel the same way about wines scored on the 100-point system. It only works if your palate is aligned with the person doing the ratings. The fact is, humans are unique and taste preferences are too different to establish one scoring system that works for everyone. If we simply choose wine based on someone else’s rating, we may never find what we really love.
And that’s why I’m very excited about a new concept called Vinotyping – which is a scientific test you can take to profile and help understand your personal taste characteristics. Its premise is that sensory physiology and life experiences play a major role in determining your personal wine preferences, which means no two people experience food and wine in the same way.
The Vinotyping comes from my friend Tim Hanni, a Master of Wine and certified wine educator and wine industry faculty at Sonoma State University. With a culinary background and an innovative perspective on food and wine, Tim has established a unique method of helping people enjoy what they consume.
Instead of relying on someone else’s experience, consumers can take a Vinotype assessment, a serious of questions to help identify taste sensitivities that would impact your experience with different wines. This helps filter out wines you are most likely to enjoy – saving you time and money. For example, Robert Parker prefers very rich, higher-alcohol wines with lots of fruit – this makes me suspect he is a Tolerant Vinotype. But because I am not a Tolerant, Parker and I are ships passing in the night. His scores rarely make sense to me.
In October, Swanson Vineyards became the first vineyard in Napa Valley to use Vinotyping in their tasting rooms, and I expect we’ll be seeing many more wineries following suit in 2013.
Curious to know what Vinotype persona you fall into? Take the online assessment to find out.