I use a consistent methodology in my rating process whatever the type, the origin or « presupposed » wine quality. Generally I don’t taste wine from the barrels, bottles only.
My tasting process is a systematic repetitive motion covering various aspects
• Sipping and swishing.
• Aromatic persistence (“Caudalie”).
• Ageing potential.
Closure: I believe bottle closure is an important qualitative element of a wine. I rate cork closures from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest quality (including colmates and agglomerates). I also mention screw caps and silicone corks.
I run most of my tastings on a blind basis. What I am looking in wines are four things, balance, complexity, finish and ageing potential. Noting a wine is a subjective call. It is the expression of an opinion at a certain moment in certain conditions. The same wine tasted in different conditions and environment could have a different note. This is why, for validation purposes, I always have a second quick taste check 15 minutes after the tasting exercise.
Also I will always give a second chance to a wine that has defects resulting from a bad storage or cork deficiency (TAC or oxidized for example).
Resisting external influences and tasting conditions
I always taste alone with earplugs so I can concentrate on the three senses I need; sight, smell and taste. I don’t read or look at other wine critic’s ratings. I do my tastings alone.
• White wines between 8 and 12 degrees
• Red wines between 14 and 20 degrees
• Champagne and sparkling wines between 6 and 8 degrees
• Not to exceed 22 degrees and ideally between 19 and 20 degrees
• No tobacco smoke or other types of smokes or smells