Studying sommeliers (I know most of y'all are back at right 'bout now): here ye, here ye! Make it count. Critical analysis is as important as time, curiosity, repetition and talent.
Check this! As effective an example of follow-up to figuring out a Deductive Tasting practice session as I have seen from a CMS candidate I have mentored:
"2014 BERTHELEMOT 1er LA GARENNE PULIGNY-MONTRACHET (tough one to search, as the translated version was a little rough) - called it 2013 Village Chablis*In hindsight, it wasn't so much the lees i was smelling/tasting, it was the malo & the oak. an important distinction. *P-M can taste more like Chablis than any of the other 'classic' AOPs of the Cote de Beaune *The location of 'la garenne' is a bit higher altitude(340-360 meters) than most of the other 1ers has been known to give super lean, white flowery, stoney aromas: chablis confusion. i was confusing altitude for a cooler climate. should have considered altitude when assessing acid & body as well*Soil type: thin & stony on a limestone bedrock*2014 CdB whites are amaze balls and will age forever. no wonder they are tasting tight and lean right now. they need time. *Full malo in partial new FR barrels*Foodz: pan-fried lobster, coquilles-st-jacques, deep fried oysters with preserved lemon aioli"
2 not-so-obvious points I would like to add:*Bulled through the research despite added language issue*Thought about foods! Imagine that. Went both "grow together/go together" for one pairing AND just some fun dishes
The 20 minutes it took to complete this exercise is worth far more than just doing five more "6 in 25" sessions without doing so - it sets an investigative consideration paradigm for the rest of days, which will bear amazing fruit however consciously or subconsciously you do it. #digharddigwell
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER GREAT EXERCISES YOU GUYS DO OUT THERE? WHAT DO THEY ACCOMPLISH?
Interesting this topic came up... for the past couple weeks, I have been logging my tastings in spreadsheet and supplementing that with a log on my flight or mini flights. The spreadsheet log is to keep what I Called vs what the wine was. The date, etc. In hopes I can find trends in what im missing. Once I have more data, I'll feel like I can do worthwhile Comparative tastings with wines that I confuse a lot. It also let's see wines that I annihilate when I'm put in front of them (for example... I haven't missed Chenin Blanc in quite a while whether it's vouvray sec, demi-sec or Savennieres) so maybe it doesn't need as much attention. On the converse, Amarone has my number... so just that is great so that I know what to immerse myself with.
The Notes I try to do closely after the tasting to tell myself 'What did I think was in the wine that was impactful and necessary to the final conclusion?" So I'll write a bunch of those, no matter how wacky they are and try to get as many pieces of evidence I thought was in the wine to make it. Then I'll write in what it was vs what I thought it was and be able to make distinctions. Where did I go awry? If what I'm assessing is incorrect then go to the source! If im confusing lees then get Pinot Grigio and Chablis and assess. Am I messing up Rotundone, Great! Time to go crack open Weinviertel, and Rhone and even some actual white and black pepper... It's helped immensely to answer the questions of knowing where to go study, as opposed to crunching your head against the bricks with the "6 in 25" that was mentioned. The value in all this allows one to customize what it is they're spending their time studying to get the most benefit. I know with everyone i've ever talked to gearing up for this process, that's the biggest hurdle; "What do I study?" What im doing helps to answer a portion of that. Either way it's interesting to know there's more gold in the approach I'm taking than I initially thought. My .02¢
In reply to Jason Caballero:
In reply to Shayn Bjornholm: