The tasting team at the Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin in Reims will not create a vintage champagne from 2007.
"The grapeharvest was good, but not exceptional enough for us," according to the VCP-chef de cave, Jacques Peters, in the local paper l'Union.
Since late October he and his team of tasters have tried 600 base wines. 24 each day during five weeks. Then it has been decided, which wines will be orientated towards the topseller of the house, the Carte Jaune, which will be destined for the prestige champagne La Grande Dame, and finally which wines will be matured to serve as reserve wines.
I noted while reading - without any kind of comparison - that these tasting seances last one and a half hours, and that the master assesses this part of his work as a very tiresome one. Because of the concentration needed, and because the alcohol tires you out, even you don't swallow.
Personally I'm rather unexperienced with tasting, but I had the same thoughts, as I participated in two tastings of the base wines of our cooperative in January. (The first and The second).
The ability to identify and since store it in your personal, mental library, from where you can retrieve it when needed, can be trained of course. But some of us have bigger talents from nature than others. These big talents may create perfumes. Or champagnes. I find it very impressive, that some people are actually able to test 600 wines, and orientate them in a certain direction after just one or two samples. Okay, this is also why they are a team after all. But still. I guess you develop a really good technique as you take notes.