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,
We gather normally on the second Monday each month. Each participant
brings their own wineglasses to taste six different wines
grouped around a "theme". The tasting panel at any particular
meeting is a minimum of seven (quorum).
The wines are tasted "blind"
and compared to one another 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 down comments about each wine's Appearance, Aroma, and Flavor.
We then individually rank the wines
in descending order of personal preference; after tabulating, we announce the rankings by 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 collected for
assembly into the Group Compilation/Consensus tasting
Our descriptions are
the sum of the individual tasting notes. It is
therefore unlikely that any person sampling these same
reviewed wines would experience all of the same
aromas and flavors described. During any single session,
out of a group of seven or more participants, maybe three
or four tasters' descriptions of any particular wine might be contain some similarity.
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.
Winetasting 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
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
results in the selection of the most appealing wines or merely the
wines that are least likely to offend. On the other hand, it is logistically
difficult to gather ten or more tasters with any great frequency.
Another consideration is the attitude brought to the table by those
who merely enjoy tasting wine and those obligated by employment to
be there. 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
are always welcome. Please let us know whenever PfW has
helped you along (or led you astray - it could