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April 24 2009

My First Wine Tasting

Obviously, as I have made this site, I love drinking wine, and trying lots of different varietals, wineries and countries wines. But I’ve never been to an actual wine tasting before.

Well that all changed the other week. Our local off license has a wine tasting session on the first Sunday of each month, but we’ve always been too busy to go.

As I said, I’ve never been to a tasting before and imagined them to be very stuffy, formal events with lots of well dressed people, peering into glasses of wines, inhaling and sipping wine, nodding sagely and spitting into big buckets.
So we were a little apprehensive before we went. Thankfully this was nothing like that (although I’m sure those kind of events exist, like the tastings covered in Spectator magazine, etc.).

This was a much more relaxed, free for all, with not a spitoon in site.
We paid our ¥2000 (this is Japan, so about $20 I guess), and were presented with a list of 20 wines, starting with sparkling (including a fantastic champagne), rose, red and finishing with an unusual red sparkling wine.

The wines were all laid out on a table near the back of the shop, and we were given a glass and told to help ourselves.
Which we duly did.

Most of the wines were of the Pinot Noir variety, from France, South Africa, Australia, California and Italy.
It was the first time I’ve had the chance to compare the same varietal from different wineries, and countries so was fascinating.

I now have a much better grasp on what a Pinot Noir wine is, and “should” taste like (I think).

I ended up buying just one bottle, a Californian Pinot (will check the name later, it escapes me for now) (UPDATE: It was Cycles Gladiator from California, and scored 8.5), which if memory serves I scored about a 9.

Wine tastings are great fun, (well this one was – everyone there seemed to be a little drunk and quite noisy by the end of the time), and informative. I highly recommend seeking one out at a shop or bar near you.

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