Wine Masterclass #8 How do I know this is a quality wine?

One of the questions that really baffles novice winos is “how do I know whether this is a good quality wine or not?” which is a completely different …

Wine Masterclass #8 How do I know this is a quality wine?

Here is another thought-provoking post from Dr. B’s blog, Buddha Walks into a Wine Bar, part of the Wine Masterclass series. He uses his extensive knowledge and background as a chemist and psychologist to break down the factors related to determining a wine’s quality. In a conundrum between subjectivity and objectivity, he argues that judgements are based on a combination of sensory, cognitive, and emotional inputs. It has certainly challenged the way I think about wine tasting and I hope you will enjoy it too!

Dr. B has also recently published a book, “It’s Not About The Wine, A 50 year memoir of wine WITH history, philosophy, art, travel and people” available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle


  1. Hello Danell, I must admit I am never sure how, if at all, to comment on your reposting on one of my own posts. It seems somewhat strange to say the least! Your introductions are, as ever, positive and supportive though we occasionally/often disagree on matters of wine. Anyway, it just so happens that we are about to eat lunch here in England, it’s about 1.30pm and I have just opened a bottle of Cabernet Franc, it’s from Domaine Filliatreau in Saumur Champigny. I am a fan of Cabernet Franc, though prefer it from Chinon rather than Saumur. It’s a question of “lightness” of the wine, because as you know I’m a bit of a Pinot Noir geek. I bought a case of this wine about 3 years ago after I was challenged by the delightful young lady, Charlotte, at the domaine to guess the vintage of a bottle she opened after I’d tasted about 6 different wines. To cut a long but memorable story short I chose the 2011 vintage as I believed it would at least be “ready” in my lifetime as opposed to the 2010 which would age over more years.
    Today I feel vindicated that my process and framework for judging the quality of a wine is vindicated. This 2011 is quite exceptional, soft tannins, low acidity, yet after all of these years it’s as if the fruit has just been plucked off the bush or tree. It’s not my favourite grape, it’s quite a few points down on the “do I like it” scale compared to a premier Cru from Pommard. But the ability to judge quality must be separated from a judgement of likeability. That’s the point of my post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Comment away! And I’m envious of your lunch! I usually stick to table wine during the week and try to get something nice at the weekend, but I guess that’s the benefit of having your own collection. I find that Cabernet Franc can be hard to like on its own rather than in its Bordeaux trio. I’ve had a really bell peppery one from California, but not much from France. You have a very good framework for judging wine quality and plenty of knowledge and experience to back it up. Reading your post again, there’s really not much I contend with, it’s just fun to “split hairs” over the philosophy. 🥂 buon appetito!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The ability to open fine wines any day of the week is a competing goal with collecting for investment profit. I’ve always had an eye for something that would appreciate and mature, it’s my 5⭐️ category rather than using a 100 point system. Regarding food matching, I really am a complete phillistine, I choose a wine I like or fancy and that’s it. We had fish and chips for lunch today!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I can imagine! I save my 5 star category for wines I find exceptional, a cut above the rest, regardless of their ageing potential- but then again I don’t collect. Cabernet Franc with fish and chips! I guess the tannins would soak up the grease, but doesn’t the lemon/vinegar bring out the acidity in the wine even more?

        Liked by 2 people

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