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Wine 101 is a FREE OnLine Wine Education Course Includes: Dionysus vs Diogenes | Why Wine? | Wine & Health | Social History | Sensory User's Manual | Wine Growing | Wine Making | Varietal Profiles | Sparkling Wine Consumerism information on Bottle Shapes and Sizes, Reading Labels, Selecting and Buying Strategies, Recommendations for Corkscrews and Glassware, Serving Order and Temperature, Cellaring, etc. Taste includes the compiled Wine Tasting Notes from our monthly panel, Reports on public tasting events and a Food & Wine section with Pairing Suggestions and even some wine-friendly Recipes. Aftertaste includes one section we call "Wrath", serving our Opinions and Editorials, and another we titled "Bacchanalia", with our Reading List suggestions and pages of Links to additional wine information. About contains information on Site Conventions used, stories of the Group Formation & Website Genesis, Acclaim & Awards, Biographic Sketches of our Tasting Panelists and Contact & Sponsor information. Return to the starting point.

About PfW Tastings

Professional Friends of Wine maintains a core panel of ten to fifteen active members. Seven RSVPs from this group is considered a quorum to proceed with a monthly tasting. Prospective members and guests may bring the number of tasters at any one session to a maximum of twelve.

Taste With PfW ... if you plan to be in the vicinity of Fresno, California, on the 2nd Monday of any month and would care to join us, please e-mail.

We gather normally on the second Monday each month. Each participant brings their own wineglasses to taste six different wines grouped around a "theme"; members take turns volunteering to be the wine procurer/host. The tasting panel at any particular meeting is a minimum of seven (quorum).

The wines are tasted "blind" and compared to one another for about half an hour. Conversation about any particular wine is discouraged, although comments about the overall group of wines are tolerated. Each taster is encouraged to write comments about each wine's Appearance, Aroma, and Flavor on our form.

We then individually rank the wines in descending order of personal preference. For calculating the results, a 1st place equals 1 point, 2nd 2 points, etc. After tabulating, we announce the rankings and points in tasting order.

Starting with the least favorite wine, we proceed to discuss (argue!) the merits and demerits of each wine before revealing its identity. A copy of each taster's notes is sometimes collected (participation is voluntary, notwithstanding legibility) for assembly into the Group Compilation/Consensus tasting notes occasionally published on this site.

Our descriptions are the sum of the individual tasting notes. It is therefore unlikely that any person sampling the same wines we reviewed would experience all of the same aromas and flavors described. During any single session, maybe three to five tasters' descriptions of any particular wine might contain some similarity.

Wine tasting contexts change: comparative overall quality levels of particular groups of wines and an individual's relative state of health (mental and physical) are variables that are difficult, if not impossible, to consistently control.

Publications that provide hundreds of tasting notes rely on the individual expertise of their contributors, in order to review many wines each week or month, regardless of these uncontrollable factors. Another consideration is the attitude brought to the table by those who merely show because enjoy tasting wine and those obligated by employment to be there; no matter how pleasant or ideal the job, everyone has days that they just don't feel like working.

There are undoubtedly "gifted" tasters whose individual ability, sensitivity, experience, and consistency are superior to the skills of the masses. Preferences, however, remain very individual. Tasting notes from a panel have the benefit of consensus. Individual variables are reduced to have less impact on the outcome.

The argument is ongoing as to whether this consensus results in the selection of the most appealing wines or merely the wines that are least likely to offend. Add the scheduling and logistical difficulties of gathering ten or more tasters with any great frequency and the practicality of relying upon individual expertise wins the day.

For our buying advice to you, the best strategy is to gather information from several sources, rather than relying upon a single source or guru. It's certainly a mistake to allow any individual, no matter how expert, to dictate your pleasure. Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder (or the nose and tongue of the taster in the case of wine enjoyment).

Your comments or observations are always welcome. Please let us know whenever PfW has helped you along (or led you astray - it could happen...).




Updated March 21, 2017
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