At Mount Pleasant, we’ve recently spent some time digging through the archives of historical material we have at the winery and we’re very pleased to be able to now present some of Maurice O’Shea’s personal notes.

Maurice O’Shea, founder of Mount Pleasant and one of the most celebrated and revered winemakers in modern Australian wine history, was a prolific writer and academic on all things wine.

He regularly lectured at wine industry events and put much of his knowledge on paper, giving us a rare insight into his brilliant knowledge and an amazing historical resource.

In his memory The Maurice O’Shea Award is held every two years and recognises an individual, group or company that has made a significant contribution to the wine industry. The next event is due to be held toward the end of the year.

Here we present Maurice O’Shea’s notes on the “Art of Tasting Wine”, an informative summary of the process and protocol of enjoying wine, filled with the tongue-in-cheek sense of humour that O’Shea was famous for.

The Art of Tasting Wine:

It is the accomplishment of a sacred rite.

Excercise it therefore with care, gravity and composure. No water, no cigarettes, no sweets.

Your mouth should be brought back to a neutral taste with a little bread to clear your palate.

Do not fill the glasses completely, but only half-way, so that the fragrance will not disperse.

Look at it against the light to judge its colour, clearness and brilliancy.

Inhale it, breathe in its fragrance, moving the glass around gently to get the full aroma and bouquet.

Taste it in small sips, “masticate” it to appreciate the sweetness or dryness, the body or lightness, the fruitness, freshness, strength, the vinosity or the delicacy.

And finally, analyse your sensations, try to define them using the vocabulary of “connoisseurs”.

You will thus become known as an excellent wine taster.

You might then add to this reputation by telling anecdotes about the WINES OF FRANCE.