Reverse Grid, Anyone...?

Hello all,

After a few very successful tasting group meetings, coupled with meaningful conversation full of divergent opinions, I'm curious to know:

Does anyone start their grid from the bottom, assessing structure first and everything else second OR

Are there any firm believers in working top to bottom OR

Anything else?

I'm curious to know what methods you've found to be most effective...

I personally start by assessing the color (and staining/extraction for red), then structure, then everything else falls into place. I've found that eliminating as many potential options as possible as soon as possible has been very helpful at the certified level. Staining and skin thickness usually eliminates roughly half of possible red varietals and acid structure/alcohol usually does the same for white varietals...

I look forward to your thoughts and input.


  • Hi Ryan,

    Always a fan of breaking things down.  I would often change things here and there in my grid or tasting method.  It's just like rebuilding a baseball swing. One piece of advice that I would give, is to stick with the change for a period of time that is long enough for it to not necessarily feel like a change, but rather part of your routine.  Otherwise you will never actually give your adjustment a fair shot. I started tasting my reds first because my whites seemed to 'quiet' in a flight of six.  I felt more awake and able to record what was in the glass after having gone through more intense wines.

    I think the grid's main architecture is there for a reason.  As you put it, taking a detailed approach with the appearance of a wine can really narrow the possibilities pretty quickly.  I like to get the wine on my palate as soon as possible.  When I make a viscosity call in the sight, I take a sip and evaluate it both visually and textually.  Having the wine on your palate when you are assessing the nose I think helps you a bit with retro-nasal aromas-things like oak. The alcohol in your mouth helps fill your nasal cavity.   I also like to have the wine on my palate for a while to asses things like alcohol and acid.  I like to see how persistent these things are.  I announce the structure of the wine after going through fruit and the like on my palate.  I focus on how it changes or stays the same, as that is a very important way to asses whether it is from the old world or new world.  We can have similar physiological responses to different things.  We salivate when things are astringent, acidic, and sometimes alcoholic. So for me, the instant saliva test for acid doesn't always have me convinced right away.  

    These are just some of my thoughts.  I think that questioning how to make the grid work best for you is what it's all about.