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Educvin developing your skills as a wine taster

Pas de visuel pour Educvin developing your skills as a wine taster -
Educvin developing your skills as a wine taster 

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Collection : avenir oenologie

Langue : Anglais

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JEAN CLAUDE BUFFIN This book is like no other ! It uses fun and meaningful exercises to improve YOUR tasting avability and YOUR knowledege of wine.

Jean-Claude Buffin is obviously fearless: doesn't he know that I am a proponent of plain experience? Or that my passion is cooking, which is based on the transformation of products? Granted, I do like wine, provided that it is good (is there any product that is uniformly, and without exception, good?). But I leave myself the option of working with it, transforming it or cooking it. While wine is the perfect accompaniment to a meal, it also has its place in the kitchen. However, we still do not sufficiently understand the modifications undergone by wine during cooking.
Or what about all the trials I put wine through in the laboratory, encouraging others to do the same?
Even at the table, wine can be the object of experimentation. Of course, I would hesitate before adding para-ethylphenol or cinnamic aldehyde to Romanée Conti, but why not experiment with some less prestigious, and less costly, wines? If no one bothers to add aroma or flavour substances to wine, no one will ever find out what the results would be. The surprises are numerous.
Let me cite an example: a few years ago, on the basis of results published by a French research team, I decided to add a few drops of vanilla extract to some young whiskeys, in order to make them smoother. My decision was not entirely without motive: during barrel ageing, ethanol reacts with the lignin in the wood to yield vanillin, which is the principal aroma compound in vanilla extract. I obtained some remarkable results by adding small quantities of vanilla extract to young, "harsh" whiskeys. I improved their smoothness without giving them a dominant aroma of vanilla. However, spurred on by this success, I also added a few drops of vanilla to a Chablis wine. Here, the results were disastrous: the wine took on a horrible, soapy taste.

Was this foreseeable? No, at least not in the light of our current knowledge about taste physiology. Therefore, we must continue to experiment in order to gather data for the use of future generations. Are these experiments complicated? Diderot wrote that "thought is so pleasant and experience so tiring that he who thinks is rarely he who experiments". In this, he was wrong; nothing is so simple or so natural as these experimental games, which give us true food for thought.
Now, let us talk about cooking with wine. Progress can still be made in this field as well. An example confirms the virtues of experience and first-hand knowledge. Traditional cooks begin many sauces by reducing a little wine with chopped shallots. They may even add wine in several doses, reducing it each time. At first glance, this practice may seem odd. The volatile compounds in the wine - aroma substances and alcohol - are lost during this heating. What is left? Try it yourself, and you will see that with some poor-quality dry white wines, nothing at all remains. With other wines, you will obtain a syrupy liquid.
Eureka! You have found the difference between the wines that are good for cooking and those that are not. The difference is glucose. Different wines contain this sugar in different amounts. By reducing wines for their sauces, cooks lose the volatile compounds in the wine, but they caramelise the sugar in the wine. The consequences of this finding are several.
First, if a cook has no idea about the composition of a wine, he or she should add some glucose (or more simply, table sugar) during the reduction, in order to ensure that the wine caramelises.
Second, this finding leads us to rethink a preconceived notion about French cooking. It is generally said that few French dishes include both salty and sweet tastes: duck à l'orange and Pezenas pâté (if we set aside Alsatian cooking). This is wrong! French cooks have long known how to sweeten their dishes by concentrating the sugar in wine.

My fellow gourmets (I distinguish between gourmets, who love wine, and gourmands, who love to eat), pardon me these manipulations, which you surely judge to be heresy. Deep down, like you, my aim is to share the bounty of wine with the greatest number of people. As world wine consumption declines, it is important to teach the public how to drink.
Or how to taste. Brillat-Savarin wrote that "animals feed; men eat; and cultivated men savour." He was probably not thinking of wine when he wrote these words: tasting wine means evaluating it and describing one's perceptions and observations. There are many ways to learn, but a Chinese proverb shows that the experimental method is surely the best: "I listen, I forget; I see, I remember; I do, I understand".
Jean-Claude Buffin seems to be driven by this same experimental spirit: he proposes a wide array of exercises that will help those who use them to become true connoisseurs. Even without the benefit of the teachings that accompany these exercises, readers will be given the opportunity to taste and taste again. Better yet, they will reflect on the wines that they have tasted, and they will understand the teachings even more. When we drink wine, we all too often give ourselves over to the immediate pleasure of drinking and we forget to analyse the wine. However, analysis leads to knowledge and hence to even greater pleasure. We must remember that knowledge and the breaking down of myths will in no way destroy the poetry of any beautiful thing. Knowing why the moon shines so bright does not take away the romance of a moon-lit walk with someone you love.

Yes, but experimentation is useless if you do not analyse the results and then formulate your general observations. Jean-Claude Buffin makes this difficult interpretation easier by providing precise information that helps us to better understand wine. Winemaking techniques, wine composition, the effect of tannins, wine ageing and maturity: while somewhat complex, the descriptions are precise, and readers will be enriched by their reading.
Certain titles and images may raise some fears. Has the author has been led astray by the false theories widely circulated in the wine world? One example is the theory that there are only four tastes (salty, sweet, tart and bitter). Does Jean-Claude Buffin accept this blindly? Not at all! When we read in detail, we see that Jean-Claude Buffin has read and analysed the finest documentation on this and other subjects. He states that the world of taste is much more varied than we once thought and that our problem is a lack of words to describe this variety.

This is but one example. Jean-Claude Buffin discusses corks, barrels, glasses, "legs"... in each case, his arguments are backed by the most recent and most reliable of data. This is a refreshing change from the often imprecise and romantic descriptions of wine that confuse myth with reality.
In the end, my only fear is that the reading of this book will be so pleasant that we forget about practical experience. Let us drink wine then, with this book in hand. Let us drink attentively and in moderation, but let us drink. Let us drink to a man who will help us discover the world of wine, to those who have made that wine and to those with whom we will share it. Often the love with which a wine is served forms a great part of its goodness.

Hervé THIS
Chemistry Department, Collège de France
Molecular Interactions Laboratory.

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew) ;
Their names are what and why and when
and How and where and who.
I send them over land and sea
I send them east and west ;
But after they have worked for me
I give them all a rest.
R. Kipling


In his book, Jean-Claude Buffin has sought to summarise current understanding on wine tasting and on wine in general.
Along with his many years of experience in this field, he has consulted a wealth of in-depth information on these topics in order to provide the justification for the practical lessons he teaches.
This book offers the reader an understanding of oenology, in terms of the making and sensory evaluation of wines, as well as an examination of the sociocultural and ethical aspects of wine. Together, these enable the reader to develop his or her own skills as a wine taster in a precise and comprehensive manner.
Jean-Claude has written this book in a teaching spirit. It is clear, precise and the ideas are presented in a logical progression. From one chapter to the next, Jean-Claude includes diagrams and photos that should stimulate thought in the attentive reader as well as in the curious, critically minded wine professional.

Jean-Claude's undertaking was by no means an easy one. The first French edition was based on his experience as a teacher and on his thoughts on subjects such as sensory analysis and quality assurance in the wine field. His efforts were rewarded when the first edition of this book won a special OIV award in 1987.
Jean-Claude's personality as well as his rich and varied professional experience were the prime factors in this highly merited success.
As a young agricultural engineer and oenologist, he began his career working for a major multinational in the agrochemical field. He then became sales director for a large, prestigious wine producer. He has founded professional training and consultancy firms and has written many well-received articles on wine. His views on wine are based on a real sense of what the future holds for the wine industry. With this book, he has chosen to share his approach to wine with a wider public. We should all thank him for this.

I wholeheartedly congratulate Jean-Claude on his book, both as a wine professional and as a friend. I have had the pleasure of knowing Jean-Claude and his publisher, Henri-Laurent Arnould, since we were all students together at Montpellier.

President, Union des Maisons de Champagne
(Champagne Producers' Association)


I first met Jean-Claude Buffin about seven or eight years ago, when I was representing my restaurant at a major wine fair.
Thanks to his talent and knowledge, Jean-Claude introduced me to a world that up till then I knew so little of: the world of wine.
Since then, Jean-Claude and I have organised several luncheons and dinners for beginning wine tasters. In his captivating yet professional manner, he has taught these groups how to "taste with their minds"!

I might add that on many occasions I have given customers and friends copies of this award-winning book. It is a concise and excellent introduction to wine tasting.
This English translation is based on the third French edition of EducVin. Conceived for a public familiar with modern information technology, this book provides clear, precise information that should make it easy for you to talk about wines like a pro.
Above all, each chapter enables the beginning or advanced taster to develop his or her own skills and to become a wine tasting "expert".
The book includes exercises and games that anyone can use. They will help tasters to evaluate and describe wines using words and expressions that have real meaning.
There are also many highly informative figures and drawings, which Jean-Claude has developed during his years of teaching wine tasting to thousands of wine lovers. Readers can develop their own tasting skills by matching their perceptions with precise, well-chosen words.

From chapter to chapter, you will be able to build your own "sensory image" of each wine you taste. All the "bricks" in this lively, interactive structure are captivating and simple to use, even if you initially know little about wine. This book will help you enjoy the pleasure of mastering a complex subject.
I am pleased at the wonderful opportunity to exchange tasting notes and thoughts with Jean-Claude and other wine lovers at the Web site

Christian ALBERT
Certified Architect and Restaurant Owner
La Sérafine - 05400 Veynes, France
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Reliure : Broché
Nbr de pages : 240
Poids : 1100 gr
ISBN 10 : 290542818x
ISBN 13 : 9782905428189
79,00 €
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