The eyes have it

Which one would it be: Fetzer, Toasted Head or Josh?

Blind wine tastings are interesting but not always a vehicle to perfection. Here’s what I mean by that…

For about the last 40 years, a wine’s worthiness has been measured by a number of dynamics — including its color, aroma, sense of terroir, taste and unfortunately its name — that narrow a wine’s worthiness down to a number.

Robert M. Parker — a renowned wine personality — is responsible for giving a wine a number to indicate how good it is, that is, it’s worthiness. Wines were given a “grade” — a score between 80-85 was an OK wine; a score between 85-90 was a good wine; between 90-95 it’s very good and, if the wine scores between 95 and 100, it’s an excellent type of wine that all wines should hope to emulate.

Personally speaking, I think the numbering system does more harm than good.

Why? Because it causes us to think a number is more important than our personal senses and nobody should fall victim to that mentality. Yes, there are wines that are superb and are better than similar varieties but the drinker makes that distinction based, again, on their own tasting personalities.

It’s what you like that’s important and not what someone in France, Germany, Italy, California or anywhere else in the world dictated. And, by the way, if your wine is rated in the 70s, many think it should be dumped down the drain. Interestingly enough, I’ve tasted many such wines and have felt very comfortable with them.

Please don’t tell me what I should be sipping because of branding or a number. I’ll let my eyes tell me what I like.

One’s eyes aren’t only the entrance to one’s soul but also to one’s feelings and I firmly believe that. Recently two experiences occurred during which I saw something in a person’s eyes.

I met an old friend at her workplace and we chatted a few minutes about this and that. Then, looking directly at her eyes, I asked how things were going. Her voice and words said fine but her eyes told me an entirely different story. To be continued…

Secondly, at a social gathering, I was watching someone take a sip of a Cabernet Sauvignon called Australia which is made by Headwaters Jailhouse Winery in Ortonville. I liked the wine with its expected tannins and nice cherry taste. However, I watched one of the group take a sip and seeing the reaction in that person’s eyes, I immediately knew it was not a favorite. The eyes have it and they broadcast our feelings — sometimes louder that our voice.

But, let’s go back to Fetzer, Toasted Head and Josh.

As mentioned, blind tastings can be interesting and there are times when the tasting experience will match the number rating given to the wine and then, there’s Fetzer.

My blind tasting involved three Chardonnays — the Fetzer, Toasted Head and Josh previously mentioned.

In all fairness, I’ve tasted all three before and had an idea what to expect from each brand.

All three wines exhibited similar coloration — a light straw color.

The differences began to be noticed in smelling the samples. Toasted Head is much more excitable and vibrant with its aromas of citrus and caramelly oakiness. Fetzer came through with its usual soft and wispy citrus smell. Josh spoke to me through my nose by telling me how good it is and to expect a quiet wine.

When the tasting began, Toasted Head’s slight oak came roaring through and was unmistakeable. That left two wines to be tasted and that’s when it became interesting.

One had a bit more acidity to it and was crisper and thirst quenching. The other was very gentle with a nice tropical fruit (pineapple) taste. Which was the Fetzer and which was the Josh?

Knowing that Josh wines are more highly rated (numbered), I identified the gently tropical tasting wine as Josh and the slightly acidic wine as Fetzer.

Do you see what just happened? I let the numerical rating of a wine tell me what I thought was a better wine. And, that shouldn’t be what tells us what to drink!

I firmly believe you should find a wine that you enjoy — no matter the label, name or number rating. Why? Because somewhere along your wine tasting journey, your eyes have told you through your feelings that it is your wine.

What are the number ratings of the three wines I blind tasted? Toasted Head is rated in the low/mid 80s. Fetzer in the upper 80s and Josh is usually very low 90s. I liked them all for their individuality and was able to correctly identify each wine. Which would I buy more frequently? First, Fetzer, then Toasted Head and finally Josh.

Next week, let’s punch it!