Best Practices For Tasting

Driscoll's Rose Berry Tasting
When tasting berries, like when tasting wine, there are so many facets to consider. When you tune into what you taste, you will discover that flavor is a result of all your senses acting together. Flavors unfold on the tongue, especially in the experience of our expert tasters, who can pick up these subtleties and notes for us. 
Each Sommelier has their own unique styles and approach to tasting, but they are all trained to keenly pay attention to many details. As beloved celebrity Chef and level 1 Sommelier Melissa King says, “tasting berries is very similar to tasting wines or any other category of food. There are nuances and subtleties of flavor that can be picked up and described with words.” This is exactly why we have chosen to work with these experts — not only their ability to taste but also their ability to thoughtfully describe what they taste. 
Rachel Calendaria, Lead Sommelier at Michelin-starred restaurant The Village Pub concurs that tasting wine can be applied to tasting berries, and explains her own process as follows: “First, I consider their structure-is it high acid, rich, what is the intensity of the aromas and flavors? Second, I think of categories of flavors, e.g., what type of fruit notes do I perceive — orchard fruit, citrus fruit, or tropical fruit? Are there vegetal notes? Are there earthy components?” 

Best Practices For Tasting Berries & Wines: 

While it’s very important to keep your berries dry and refrigerated to ensure optimal freshness, their flavor is best enjoyed at room temperature.
With wines as with berries, temperature for tasting is key. Mark Guillaudeu instructs that “broadly, the darker the wine the warmer you'll want it — I abide by Jancis Robinson's fifteen minute rule: if red, put it in the fridge fifteen minutes before serving. If white, pull it out of the fridge fifteen minutes before serving. Treat bubbles like whites and rosés like whichever color they resemble most — darker rosés a bit warmer, very pale rosés a bit colder — but ultimately it's about what you like and how you like it.”
Charlotte Randolph uses similar temperature best practices, but also reminds us that everything is, within reason, a matter of personal preference. She says: “At home I don’t obey my sommelier rules much, if it's hot outside I want my wine COLD, if it's cold outside I’ll stick to the slightly chilled recommendation. If I want my white wine to pop with tropical aromas, if I am trying to get at a certain pairing, I know that drinking my wine too cold will defeat that purpose. The wine won’t want to throw off any of those aromas if it's freezing to death!”