I’m going to be brutally honest. Tasting notes on great wines are mostly stupid. There’s this notion that tasting notes by ‘professional’ tasters are a valuable commodity. Something that punters will pay for.
This goes hand in hand with the idea that once tasters reach some baseline level of competence, their note will be an accurate account of a particular wine, and thus team notes where at least one person from a team covers a particular wine and then writes it up anonymously are of some value.
These ideas are all mistaken.
Of course, I am interested in hearing your take on a particular wine, whether you are professional or not. But I don’t want a traditional ‘tasting note’. [Yes, I publish tasting notes, but that’s only as a last resort, because this is the only way I can communicate my impressions of a wine. And then I think that the most important thing is not to list descriptors, but to give an overall impression, to compare, and to say how much I liked it.]
This is because for a great wine, its greatness is a property of the whole of the wine. Tasting notes are by their very nature reductionist, breaking the wine down to its component aromas and flavours. You know a great wine when you see one, but attempts to put it into words invariably fail to capture the wine.
Greatness is an emergent property of all the different elements of a wine, and we often focus in our notes solely on those aspects of flavour where we have good descriptive terms. We have an impoverished vocabulary for the sorts of things that really matter in a wine, making it great as opposed to merely very good.
I think the addiction to formalized tasting notes in wine education programs prevents some students of wine from making the transition to being tasters who can actually spot great wines from merely very good commercial wines.