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You can definitely understand a region without trying the “best” wines from it if you’ve had lots of typical good wines from it. Eg. If you’ve had plenty of Levet, Faury, Gangloff, Jean-Michel Stephan, Jamet, etc but you’ve never had a Jamet Cote Brune you’re still going to have a good idea what Cote Rotie is like. And, frankly, a better idea than if your experience is all Guigal La Las, which are more expensive and higher rated, but lack the terroir expressions of some other wines from the region. 

You can get a rough idea of a wine from various tasting reports generally from people whose palates you trust and you you’re able to talk to about it — especially when triangulated with the grape and region.  But you won’t “know” until you try. 

@winetarelli posted:

You can definitely understand a region without trying the “best” wines from it if you’ve had lots of typical good wines from it. Eg. If you’ve had plenty of Levet, Faury, Gangloff, Jean-Michel Stephan, Jamet, etc but you’ve never had a Jamet Cote Brune you’re still going to have a good idea what Cote Rotie is like. And, frankly, a better idea than if your experience is all Guigal La Las, which are more expensive and higher rated, but lack the terroir expressions of some other wines from the region. 

that sounds like a blind tasting bet, loser pays for the guigal lalas ? =)

I had a friend awhile back who I haven't seen in a bit.  He was a government worker, but had an astounding palate, particularly with German wine.  I remember once pouring a wine in the kitchen (so he couldn't see the bottle) and bringing the glass out to him.  He sniffed and swirled and looked, but did not taste. He got the wine and vintage precisely correct.  He KNEW his German wines.

 

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