Ah, wine tasting, that wonderful adventure. What a great way to spend a day. Wine tasting is such fun! No really! Its a great way to hang with friends and enjoy the adventure that is finding new wines for the next event or dinner party. Its also the best way we know of finding wines you did not know you enjoyed. So for all of you who are a little intimidated by the thought, don't worry, and don't be intimidated by the ponces or the wankers just go do it!
So our suggestion is to taste whatever and whenever you can. Don't get too fussed or focused on varieties (I'm not drinking any f#&@king Merlot, just shut it Miles), because they taste very differently in different regions and under the guidance of different winemakers. And don't start looking for "typical", because that's just a measure of how much something corresponds to your preconceptions. Just taste and enjoy the experience. Taste anything that the tasting room is pouring, and don't worry about what they say your supposed to smell and taste. You determine what that is, and besides its really about whether you enjoy it or not. The whole what you smell and taste will come in all good time.
Region sometimes makes much more difference than variety, and producer will sometimes trump both. Don't fall into the trap of 'I don't like Zin or I don't like Petite Sirah. You never know until you have tasted.
It's not that we're wino ponces, but we have spent a countless number of vacations, weekends, day trips, overnighters and afternoons in various wine-producing regions from California to Australia and the world sipping and slurping (occasionally spitting). Not only do we both consume a large variety and quantity of different wines, we talk about them, read about them, and try to understand them. Ok, ok mostly we drink and talk but we do it a fair bit. One thing we have discovered over the years is that a good wine is a good wine no matter where from or what varietal it is.
One or both of us have been to and drank from,
Central Coast of California from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara and all regions in between.
Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, and the Russian River Valley.
California Central Valley.
Wine regions of South Australia and Victoria.
Wine regions of New Zealand (north and south Island).
Wine regions of Italy
Wine regions of Germany
Wine regions of France
While we have not been to WA, NSW, Spain, Hungary, Croatia, Ukraine, South Africa or South America :( we are still waiting for the 'trip fairy' to bless us with the right occasion (one coming soon?). But we regularly sample wine from all these regions in preparation for those trips in the name of research!