During our annual retreat to Leavenworth, WA, Lori decided that it would be a perfect time for us all to freshen-up on our wine tastings skills. While my palette is never out of practice of experiencing wine, it had been at least a year since I had taken the time to really taste wine, to describe its elements and to decipher what type of varietal it might be. And I had never before done a blind tasting, and looking at my co-workers as competition, I was not expecting to win the grand prize.
Each of us brought a bottle of Washington wine under $20, each a different varietal. We sat down with 5 glasses and 6 bottles of wines in front of us, all wrapped in brown paper and numbered 1-6. Before we began, Lori gave us a brief description of each varietal, and I furiously took notes. Next, Lori drew a picture of a tongue and divided it into sections. Each section of your tongue will tell you if a wine has a specific attribute or not, for example, residual sugar is tasted at the very tip and acid on both outer sides. Once we knew we what were looking for, we began tasting.
Two hours and six bottles later, we each revealed what varietal we thought each number was. We also revealed which number was our favorite to sip (this is where I wished I would have stopped talking). We each got a couple right and a couple wrong, but Lori tromped us all, guessing 100% correctly. While I was feeling pretty good about my wine savviness, guessing over 50% correctly, that pride was soon gone when we unveiled my FAVORITE bottle, the wine I said I could drink every single day….let’s just say that a case of this wine would be about the price of one of the other bottles.
An easy way to do some self-instruction about tasting the elements of wine is to open two different bottles and drink them simultaneously. Most people think that they won’t drink both, but by only sipping one at a time, there is no comparison to make. And as the gals of Randal PR learned in Leavenworth, you will always, always drink both bottles!
-Tory Duffy, PR Coordinator