Tasting Exercise: Earth Presence

My goal while learning about different wines is to become proficient in all of the aspects of tasting.  There are a plethora of tasting exercises that can be completed to help accomplish this goal.  This week I will be focusing on learning about earth presence in wine.


* Pour a Chardonnay from Australia, California, Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Blind smell and taste them in a “Lazy Susan” fashion- in different order each time, trying to pick out which ones have “earth” notes.

* Repeat this exercise with wines in a different order five times in a day.

* Repeat the entire exercise for five days straight, at different times of the day.

*Start to try to define earth: chalk, slate, clay, schist, potting soil, dusty road, gravel.  Make notes.  Certain earth will start to define wine regions within countries with certain grape varieties.

Repeat with other grape varieties:

* Rieslings from Clare Valley, Washington State, Mosel and Alsace.

* Pinot Noirs from Oregon, Central Otago/Santa Barbara, Voinay and Gevrey-Chamberlin.

* Syrah from Australia, Washington State/Sonoma Valley, Cornas and Crozes-Hermitage.

* Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, Chile, Coonawarra and Paullac.

* Extend to other grapes as you get more comfortable.