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Tesco to trial customer tasting notes

Tesco is to offer members of its online wine community the chance to devise tasting notes for 100 of the retailer's wines, in an effort to make its wine range more approachable.

Tesco plans to hold a tasting of its Finest range later this month. Guests, who are set to include members of the retailer’s online wine commmunity, as well as bloggers, will be asked to supply their own descriptions of the 100 wines on show.

The move is evidence of the UK’s biggest retailers attempting to demystify wine for their shoppers.

Rival chain Lidl recently said it would give all staff pocket books containing easy reference points on particular wines, in order to help shoppers during a special promotion on French wines this autumn.

Alison Purdie, marketing manager at Tesco’s Wines by the Case online arm, said, ‘The idea behind the ‘wine words’ tasting is to generate more everyday vocabulary that we can use when communicating with our customers about wine.’

She added, ‘Ratings and Review’ – the peer to peer recommendation function on Wine by the Case, is hugely popular with our customers due to the conversational tone of the language used.’

Laura Jewell MW, head of Tesco’s wine category development, said current wine descriptions come from people very close to the wines. ‘The team is keen to get descriptions from people tasting the wines with a more impartial point of view.’

After the tasting, to be held in London on 27 August, descriptions will be collated into a word cloud for each of the 100 wines, and Tesco will seek to use this to communicate with shoppers.

Wine tasting – what the experts say:

Peter Richards MW, Decanter World Wine Awards 2014 Regional Chair for South America (excluding Argentina):

‘The thing about tasting notes and descriptors is that they can be as personal as the wine experience itself, so they don’t always translate easily. I’d rather see a tasting note as a personal reaction to a wine rather than an attempt to communicate any sort of ultimate truth.

‘Wine lovers shouldn’t be ashamed of going a bit over the top, while newcomers or less involved wine drinkers equally shouldn’t be put off by others waxing lyrical.’

Matt Walls, Decanter contributor and Decanter World Wine Awards 2014 judge:

‘All topics have specialist jargon once you start talking to professionals or experts, whether it be cars, computers or cookery. Often the words mean nothing at all to the uninitiated.

‘I try and keep it simple, and tend to try and stick to fairly ‘real world’ flavour comparisons, and try to say what a wine actually ‘tastes like’, and avoid all jargon.’

Written by Chris Mercer

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