Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wine Testing.....not Tasting!

So I finally got some wine testing completed. This is the reason I came to France after all. Who wouldn't want to taste some contaminated cork tainted wine from this guy? My make-shift sensory lab even came with its own bar. My unlucky volunteers had to suffer through 4 agonizing triangle tests with varied levels of "cork taint" or le gout de bouchon. One day with my Sauvignon Blanc, and the next with my Fer Servadou red wine from Gaillac. Oh how I do miss the Sensory Testing Center back at the University of Arkansas. The consumer testing portion was finished so off to Lisle sur Tarn I went to complete my Descriptive Analysis with the professionals at the Institute Francais de la Vigne et du Vin.
Here is how the pros do it. Notice the non-pro in the back right trying to perfect the two-handed double fisted technique. Smell, sniff, swirl, smell, taste, swish, hold, spit, wait, rinse, and repeat. Then write down the different intensities of flavors, aromas, and aftertastes and you are now a trained sensory panelist. For statistical analysis reasons, my ratings were not included in the results of the group.

Wine testing isn't quite as glamorus as everyone might think as you scan the faces of this crowd. Their is a lot of bouchon on those palates that isn't quite so tasty. The proper spitting technique comes in handy as you quickly wish to expel the taste from your sensory analyzing taste buds. Yes, that one taster is pregnant, but we are testing, not tasting the wines. Human Sensory Analysis is done!

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