Tag Archive - wine tasting

The Wine Show

It is very last minute I know, but if you are keen to explore more wines from around the world you might want to check out the show going on RIGHT NOW at the Business Design Centre in London.

The Wine Show is a consumer event that I believe is in its third year already and attracts over 10,000 people to try all sorts of wines.

Last year it was quite exciting (some interesting Greek wines stand out in my memory) and I must admit I think this year’s show is a little dull in comparison, but for consumers who want to learn about wines, it is always worth seeking out opportunities to try wines like this.

I did see a number of smaller producers and specialist importers had small stands that I’m sure would be worth exploring, but unfortunately I did not get a chance to linger.

I believe today (Saturday) is sold out, but there may be tickets for tomorrow.

If you do go, let me know what you think of the show.

Am I qualified to give advice?

Yesterday I was asked THE inevitable wine blogger question.

Wulf (real name), is a friend of mine who happens to have an eclectic mix of subjects on his blog Down in the Den (!), from his jazz band & compositions, to gardening, programming, photography and religion. His latest theme is wine, so I thought I’d chip in, and quite naturally he responded by asking:

“…any advice about developing my palate for tasting and evaluating wine?”

Thoroughly reasonable question, but it fills me with dread. Whilst I like wine and know what interests me, I have no idea where to recommend others should start. I feel like I ought to ask hundreds of questions about his tastes in food & travel, his mood, his knowledge of history, what he had for lunch, … all those things that in one way or another influence my own choices.

Of course, I did what any sensible blogger would do, and sent him to read someone else’s blog (in this case a relatively new blog to me, called Wine Ministry where Rev. Jeff writes about wine with “a theological slant”. Perfect!)

Why do I feel unable to respond to perfectly valid requests for advice like this? I guess it is that as you get realy deep into a subject, you become immersed in the nuances, things that for most people don’t matter but make you “the expert”. They don’t care whether the white wine was barrel fermented. They just want to know if it will it taste nice. Will they like it?

But this is precisely the issue. I know that it makes a difference to the taste, but feel supremely unqualified to tell them whether they will like it or not. I know that I like it.

Do any other wine bloggers out there feel this?

The best wine bloggers, or wine educators for that matter, are not necessarily those who know the most, but are those who know how to communicate with those wanting to learn, without putting them off. Maybe this is why I prefer not to post tasting notes – I can’t make myself believe it matters what I think about the wine. I’d rather tell you about the winery, the region or the country and if it appeals to you, let you choose to try it.

The great thing about blogging, in any subject but wine in this case, is that there are a vast range of blogs, and one or more are certain to have the sort of information that a reader, whether novice or expert, is looking for.

Now the only problem is finding them.

Of course, the simple answer, as I believe Alder Yarrow over at Vinography points out, is “Try lots of them”.

Conversation starter

I have been looking for ways for conversations to kindle the love of wine, but maybe the place to start is where wine conversation kindles love.

My wife pointed out an article in one of those free papers for commuters last night. The centre spread, apparently a regular feature, looks at dating in London. The main article yesterday was about wine speed dating.

I have heard of a number of such events. Basically, take speed dating, add wine. The wine is the conversation starter. You learn a little about it at the start, then go around comparing notes and preferences. Not only do you get an excuse to talk to potential partners, but you get the wine and wine education thrown in as part of the deal. Excellent!

This one was organised by Grape Vine Social, apparently a big organisation, but I have also seen the WSET organise its own events (well done Nicolla!).

It may seem a little silly (unless you are single and looking for a better way of meeting people), but it says something about wine that it works in this context. I can’t imagine Gin, Bacardi Breezers or Absinthe would work the same way or have the same appeal (although there may be a niche market for each, especially for Beer).

My only quibbles about the reported date are 1) the wines chosen (Hardy’s, Banrock Station, Kiss Chasey?) and 2) if you are looking for a relationship, would you give all the details to the paper so your potential partner can read them the next day??

Maybe I’m old fashioned that way.

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