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Got Tasting Group?

Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Apr 27, 2006 9:10am ET

My tasting group worked its way through a bunch of wines the other night.

Two German Rieslings got everyone ready – crackling, live-wire wines from the tremendous ’01 vintage:

• 2001 Selbach-Oster Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Zeltinger Sonnenuhr
• 2001 Joh. Jos. Christoffel Erben Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Ürziger Würzgarten

Those were followed by a wide range of reds:
• 2001 Luigi Pira Barolo Marenca
• 2001 Château La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée des Cadettes
• 1998 Château Fortia Châteauneuf-du-Pape
• 1998 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau
• 2003 Georges Vernay Côte-Rôtie Blonde du Seigneur
• 1991 Michel Ogier Côte-Rôtie
• 2004 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage
• 1990 M. Chapoutier Hermitage La Sizeranne
• 1986 Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc
• 2003 John Anthony Syrah Napa Valley
• 2000 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor
• 2001 Achával-Ferrer Malbec Mendoza Finca Mirador

The Pira got a few votes for wine of the night – very pure. Alas, the Sociando-Mallet and Chapoutier were corked, and the Ogier was a bad bottle. The Don Melchor was a "love it or hate it" wine. The John Anthony Syrah was good for Cali Syrah – almost gushy, but had enough structure to provide some genuine definition.

Have you got a tasting group? If so, what themes or individual wines have been recent hits? Any new discoveries? Do you taste blind?

If you don’t have a tasting group, why not get one going?

Tom Breneman
eau claire, WI —  April 27, 2006 11:08am ET
We started a group, going on two years now. Our intent was to get together monthly and just taste all different styles. We started with 10 of us and are now up to a consistant 25 or more. Pretty daunting to see 25 different Zins lined up for a nights tasting. We have done a couple bagged tastings, more to learn varietal types from one another, but mostly it's about getting together and being able to taste different producers wines. We are in the process of picking a name for our group,,,any suggestions?
Scott Mcdonald
Chicago, IL —  April 27, 2006 11:29am ET
Hi James,I participate in a tasting group that meets weekly! Everyone brings a bottle according to a pre-determined theme. We taste and rank the 8-12 wines blind. It's great fun and very educational. I believe that it's critical that the wines are tasted and ranked blind in order to maximize the educational aspects of the tasting--tasters are forced to focus on what's in the glass rather than what's on the label.
Danapat Promphan
Bangkok, Thailand —  April 27, 2006 1:29pm ET
Dear James

My town is probably has the worst city (economically speaking) for a wine lover to be in. With our 400%+ tariff on wine, any bottles are awefully expensive for what you get for the money. In fact, if anyone heard of any other place in the world that has worst wine tax rate than Thailand, please let me know for a reference.

I am an avid wine drinker and WS reader, but I do not aware of any tasting group exist in my city. In fact, I hardly encounter any wine drinker that "understand" wine that way members of WS forum are. Here, you pretty much got two type of drinkers: 1) supermarket wine drinkers (talking about wine that sold for less than $10 in the US) and 2) Bordeaux first-growth and Penfolds drinkers. They don't even know that most Penfolds, such as Bin 2, 128, 389, 407, are actually very cheap oversea; they think they're high class wine. How boring? I'm interested to join neither of these groups.

Many people are complaining that California wine are overprice. Well, I have a dose just for them: come live here for a year, and when they go back to the US, everything becomes instantly cheap!

Anyway, if anyone know any "real" tasting group in Bangkok, please let me know dpromphan@yahoo.com
Charles Humphreys
Fort Collins, CO —  April 27, 2006 2:28pm ET
James,Our tasting group meets monthly and the themes vary. Favorite under $15 bottle, Piedmont, Rhone-style wines from outside the Rhone, etc... We are a younger crowd, 25-35, and most members of the group of about 12 work in the industry (retail and distribution), and the others are made up of loyal customers. Everyone brings a dish paired with their wine, usually light tapas or other finger foods. Nice combination of education and good company, and inevitably someone brings a ringer to throw a twist into the tasting, or as just a nice treat!
Robert Johnston
Washington DC —  April 27, 2006 3:42pm ET
We don't really have a "tasting group" so much as a bunch of wine nuts that get together every month for a wine dinner. We pick a restarurant in DC (since corkage is not permitted in VA or most of MD) and each bring something from our cellar. We also tend to buy some wine from the restaurant list (how many bottles we buy depends on how many of us are at the dinner). We often have a theme, be it "Rhone Night" or "Old Cab Night" and afterwards write our tasting notes up on various wine boards. I've written about a few of our dinners on the WS boards. This way a bunch of friends get together, have a good meal, drink A LOT of good wine, and have a great time.
Tom Glover
The Woodlands, TX —  April 27, 2006 4:05pm ET
Hello. About a month ago we had a wine tasting at our country club. The wines were bagged and we had to match the wine with the description. We enjoyed that so we hosted a wine tasting party. I made the dinner, my wife the desserts and we had the guests bring over sides or appetizers. I had seven bottles covered up and then had them guess the type of wine that it was. None of us are wine connoisseurs, but enjoy wine. Nobody got them all correct, but it really opened up to them how distinct the differences can be between types of wine.None of the wines were over $25, and all of them except for one was rated near 90, the other was rated 83.I believe we will have another wine tasting party, but I think it will be better to have each couple bring a certain wine and maybe like Charles, they can bring a dish to pair with the wine.
Kevin Lewis
West Palm, Florida —  April 29, 2006 9:24am ET
I actually just talked about this very topic last night with a good friend of mine. We both love wine and want to start a tasting party amongst other friends and co-workers. I live in SOuth Florida and let me tell you how hard it is to find wine drinkers in the 25-35 age group. I am 26 and have been serious about wine for about 3 years now. I have enjoyed reading all the comments as they have given me good ideas. I will report back after the party to let you ya'll know what we did and how it went!
Austrich Wine Club
Singapore —  May 2, 2006 2:04am ET
Hi there,We are a group of wine enthusiasts that meets weekly to enjoy and learn more about wine. Our motto is "to share good wines with good friends". Wine tastes so much better when shared with friends :)Whilst we do not have themes, we do blind tastings occasionally, and often with hilarious results.Cheers,Michelle (Singapore)

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