Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

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jdaw1
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Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

Post by jdaw1 » 11:51 Thu 18 Jun 2015

In [url=http://www.theportforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=92629#p92629]the review of the Sweet-Spot tasting on 17th June 2015[/url] flash_uk wrote:One reflection on the format of the event. Judging 12 blind ports across 3 vintages and 4 shippers was not easy. Had it been 15 with the addition of another shipper, I would have been well and truly lost. I also wrote a grand total of zero tasting notes, partly because I was more focussed on working out what was what, and partly because there was a degree of similarity between many of the wines and I was less able to find distinctions between them, so I didn't.
This seems to me to be part of a general pattern. At blind tastings there is a question, either “what is this?” or “which is this?” Focussing on the question lessens my ability to think about “Of what does this taste?” And the blindness doesn’t teach me so much: I already know how reliably I can identify Ports.

Which might be why I prefer sighted.

Do others have similar bandwidth limitations?

DaveRL
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Re: Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

Post by DaveRL » 15:03 Thu 18 Jun 2015

I find blind tasting a step too far for me. I'm still trying to understand different shippers and vintages, and how they might change with age. A label gives me a start.

PhilW
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Re: Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

Post by PhilW » 15:37 Thu 18 Jun 2015

Blind tasting is good when challenging potential preconceptions and avoiding label (or other) bias. I prefer sighted, as I remember more about each wine when I know what it is in advance - I guess the associations form immediately as you taste it and write any notes - whereas with blind tasting all impressions are associated with currently "unknown" wines, and as such I have less tendency to remember details.

My preference is therefore sighted unless there is a good reason to be blind; when there is, I am happy with blind. Where blind is done, I favour earlier rather than later reveal, where possible.

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flash_uk
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Re: Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

Post by flash_uk » 21:55 Thu 18 Jun 2015

PhilW wrote:Where blind is done, I favour earlier rather than later reveal, where possible.
This is a big learning from the tasting. It would have been much better to force a quick rush towards a guess on "what is it", even with that being a little rushed, and then having more time to taste and rate the ports.

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Re: Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

Post by LGTrotter » 23:12 Thu 18 Jun 2015

The historical antecedents to this thread seem to go;
1) A thread asking is there a problem with the 77s?
2) A discussion thread about sweet spots,
3) A tasting of these 'sweet spot' vintages.
4) the review of this tasting throwing up some difficulties with blind tasting.

Well firstly I suppose that the 77s finished last out of 66, 70 and 77, but not by much, if my understanding of Flash's chart is correct (which it might not be). I must also admit to some private delight that the 'vintage of the century' (sic) came second, despite a poor showing from one of my favourite ports from the 66, Warre.

As to blind tasting it would seem logical that it is needed to obviate label bias, which I think is an issue and probably is an issue with vintages as well. I think that tasting wine blind can allow one to 'let go' and focus on what is coming from the glass in front of you. I can understand however that if you are tasting twentyish similar wines this could become rather disorientating. So the difficulty is that despite it being next to impossible to do it seems necessary to level the playing field.

But my feeling is that trying to do randomised control trials for port is about as sensible as using poetry as the operating system for a mission to Mars. Which now I come to think of it throws a question mark up about why I am writing this.

My thanks to all of you who worked so hard to produce no clear outcome.

And as for all this 'I'm rubbish' stuff, what you seem to be saying is what you thought you think, you don't, which is alright, I think.

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John M
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Re: Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

Post by John M » 14:00 Fri 19 Jun 2015

jdaw1 wrote:
In [url=http://www.theportforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=92629#p92629]the review of the Sweet-Spot tasting on 17th June 2015[/url] flash_uk wrote:One reflection on the format of the event. Judging 12 blind ports across 3 vintages and 4 shippers was not easy. Had it been 15 with the addition of another shipper, I would have been well and truly lost. I also wrote a grand total of zero tasting notes, partly because I was more focussed on working out what was what, and partly because there was a degree of similarity between many of the wines and I was less able to find distinctions between them, so I didn't.
This seems to me to be part of a general pattern. At blind tastings there is a question, either “what is this?” or “which is this?” Focussing on the question lessens my ability to think about “Of what does this taste?” And the blindness doesn’t teach me so much: I already know how reliably I can identify Ports.

Which might be why I prefer sighted.

Do others have similar bandwidth limitations?
I see you point and appreciate your point of view. I prefer blind---but I do not try to figure out what is what--that to me is a losing proposition and too much work and for what gain??? What I want to do is to honestly assess the wine without label bias. That's it....IMHO.

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DRT
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Re: Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

Post by DRT » 09:12 Sat 20 Jun 2015

jdaw1 wrote:
In [url=http://www.theportforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=92629#p92629]the review of the Sweet-Spot tasting on 17th June 2015[/url] flash_uk wrote:One reflection on the format of the event. Judging 12 blind ports across 3 vintages and 4 shippers was not easy. Had it been 15 with the addition of another shipper, I would have been well and truly lost. I also wrote a grand total of zero tasting notes, partly because I was more focussed on working out what was what, and partly because there was a degree of similarity between many of the wines and I was less able to find distinctions between them, so I didn't.
This seems to me to be part of a general pattern. At blind tastings there is a question, either “what is this?” or “which is this?” Focussing on the question lessens my ability to think about “Of what does this taste?” And the blindness doesn’t teach me so much: I already know how reliably I can identify Ports.

Which might be why I prefer sighted.

Do others have similar bandwidth limitations?
Yes. Me.

Perhaps tweaking the questions would help?

1. For bring a bottle wrapped in foil tastings the questions could be (a) what is it? and (b) which did you like best?

2. For structured tastings with a known line-up the sole question could be which did you like best? (no attempt being made to guess the shipper/vintage combinations)

The purpose of tastings in 1 and 2 above are different, so different questions should be asked. "Which is it?" seems like a pointless question, particularly when the objective is to identify the best.
"The first duty of Port is to be red"
Ernest H. Cockburn

griff
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Re: Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

Post by griff » 02:27 Sun 21 Jun 2015

I prefer blind myself - I have far to many preconceptions as it is!

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Re: Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

Post by Glenn E. » 01:14 Tue 23 Jun 2015

I prefer double blind or sighted. Blind tends to result in what others have described - trying to figure out which taste is which Port, rather than simply rating the Ports based on what you taste in the glass.

Everyone is susceptible to label bias, even professional critics. (They're just less likely to admit it.) Simply knowing that a glass is Vargellas means I'm going to look just a little bit harder for eucalyptus and black pepper, and lo and behold! I found eucalyptus and black pepper. House style confirmed! Flavor differences in Port are for the most part very subtle, and your mind is capable of conjuring them up even when they aren't actually present.

Double blind means I have to write my notes based on what I actually taste, not what I expect to taste.
Glenn Elliott

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jdaw1
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Re: Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages

Post by jdaw1 » 11:29 Thu 21 Apr 2016

[url=http://www.theportforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=99367#p99367]Here[/url] jdaw1 wrote:Rs91, originally ‘DRT’. I noted only “Very young, like an 02 LBV”.

Indeed, this is why I prefer sighted. My effort was obviously directed to the what-is-it question, instead of the of-what-does-it-taste question. We have already had this discussion (Sighted, Blind: advantages, disadvantages), but my preference is illuminated by this TN.

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