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Question Of The Day

Is Wine Tasting Bullshit?

"Yeah, it's for toffs, isn't it?"

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Wine tasting has long been a subject of derision. And it's kind of hard for it not to be; there's no way to make deeply inhaling fermented grape juice before gargling it and spitting it out not look like the most ridiculously pompous thing since the invention of the amuse bouche.

But that's not to say it doesn't have its fans, and why shouldn't it? Men in their early 30s inline-rollerblading as a career is a ridiculous concept to a lot of people, but – unlike wine tasters – they're not subjected to multiple blogs arguing about their passion within the space of a couple of days.


I couldn't make my mind up on which side to take, so I thought I'd get some advice from the people of London by asking them a question: Is wine tasting bullshit?

Enrique, 40, video game creator: No. What I think is bullshit is when people try to tell you what you like.

VICE: Has anyone ever done that to you?
That’s very much the job of a sommelier, isn’t it?

Is it?

What’s your favourite wine?
I like Cabernet Sauvignon. That’s very good.

How would you describe it?
It’s pretty bold.


Gemma, 27, student: It depends on how good the wine is. If it’s a bad wine, then there’s no point.

Apparently some wines can be described as jammy. Do you know what a jammy wine tastes like?
No, sorry. Maybe you could look it up on the Internet?

I could, but let’s just try to imagine it.
OK. I think it’s red.

And maybe a bit fruity.

Same! We have so much in common.

Dave, 36, joiner: Absolutely.

Well, it’s for toffs, isn’t it?

I don’t know. Is it?
You’re a toff.

Am I?

OK. If I were to describe a wine as stringent, would you know what I meant?
I’ve got no idea.

What do you think a jammy wine tastes like?

That’s a popular opinion. Have you ever drunk red and white wine from the same glass?

That’s wise.

Russell, 22, computer game programmer: I think it can be bullshit, but it depends on the person rather than the wine. It can be pretentious, but it doesn’t have to be if you just like wine.


Have you ever impressed a girl with your wine knowledge?
Yes, but I don’t think it was the wine, I think she was just impressed by me.

You do seem like an impressive guy. What did you say about the wine?
I described it as fluid.

You can’t argue with that.
Exactly. I like a Pinot Noir, personally, but you have to choose the right region of France.

Which is?
The south.


Russell, of an age, business development: No, I don’t think it is actually.

Have you ever been wine tasting?
Yes. I’m going to one tonight, actually.

Ah. What’s your favourite wine?
I have several, but I am partial to a nice claret.

Do you think we could share a bottle sometime?
Probably not.

That’s a shame. If we ever did, which adjectives would you use to describe it?
I’d go for fruity, sweet and dry.

The internet told me some wines taste decadent. What does a decadent wine taste like?
I think it’s probably more to do with the emotional appeal of it. If it’s a heavy wine, then it’s decadent. It means it’s easy to drink.

I’ve learnt a lot from you, Russell. Thank you.

Previously - Would You Stop Listening to an Artist's Music If They Did Something Horrible?