There seem to be two main components to identifying a wine when tasting blind.
Firstly analytical where by identifying the wine’s key characteristics: visual appearance, body, acidity, tannin, alcohol level, primary & secondary flavour profile etc. one can by process of elimination narrow down the possible grape variety and wine making techniques to a short list of potential regions & wine makers.
Secondly by comparing these characteristics to a database of taste memories, what Sherlock might call a ‘Wine Mind Palace’.
This is the part I have to admit I find most tricky. I can remember the smell of a blackcurrant or elder flower with the best of them but I struggle to say that I can recall the ‘taste’: aromas, structure & mouth-feel of individual wines as a combined memory as some tasters claim to.
Part of the problem is that a good bottle of wine unfolds and develops in the glass over the course of an evening constantly morphing and transforming like the flames of a log fire. If it’s a great wine there’s simply too much going on to remember!
The other thing causes my Wine Mind Palace classification system to fall somewhat short of Dewy Decimal standards of efficiency is quite frankly the alcohol! Whilst ethanol may not actually kill off brain cells it’s widely accepted that it does inhibit memory formation!