I am looking outside of the window and it is gray and rainy. As sure as the month changed to September, fall arrived to Sweden. So time turn our thoughts to positive things, like our upcoming September tasting. In the past few days we have put a lot of thought behind how to organize and structure the event. Our ‘Open House’ tastings are events where anyone can come by during the day (set times) and have a swing at our wines before making a purchase decision. People come and go at different times resulting, of course, in a rush at certain times and an empty bar at others. We do not regulate how many wines one can taste or in which order. However it is good to advise the guests with some structure.
New ideas have popped up, last time’s “mistakes” have been mulled over and our plan is that ‘this time’ all will be nice and “zen”. Well, at least a bit more organized than last time. There was nothing wrong with the event per se. We didn’t run out of wine and everyone had fun, but we were slightly under staffed and people could not in general remember which wines they liked best. They had tasted perhaps too many (hmm we had 17 wines to choose from) or we had offered them a poor set pf notes. We came to the conclusion that it was the latter. So, this time around we have planned a better set of instructions, information and note taking possibilities to offer our tasters a smoother experience. Here are a few of our suggestions for our guests and I think these work as a good guide for tastings in general:
- Normally I would not recommend trying more than 4 to 6 different wines during one event. If you are not used to the acidity of wine (especially when talking abut sparkling), the tongue gets easily a bit numb after a while. Trying to asses the wine after that is hard, at least for an amateur like me (my God, how did I ever think I could taste 60 champagnes in one day at Terres & Vins last April?). So the solution is that we will suggest some tasting flights for our guests focusing either on cava or our red wines. Everyone can of course choose for themselves and a cava flight can naturally be followed by a red wine flight, but I think many will appreciate a ready “agenda”.
- We will be numbering the wines. People will not have too much time (or patience) to actually write down the whole name or description of the bottle, so it is perhaps easier if we hang a number on the neck of each of our beauties. We can then hand out some small sheets of paper for writing down notes or our guests can just scribble the number of the wine they like the best on their hand. Whatever works best for remembering the favorites.
- When it comes to writing down tasting notes, everyone should do what feels comfortable for them. We do not like to suggest what aromas one should find in the wines, rather it is good if everyone makes their own assessment. Tastes are so different. However as a bit of an amateur, I know it’s not so easy to recognize the different notes in the wine if you don’t have experience. So what I like to do is to think about what kind of event, environment or memory does the wine bring to mind? Where do I travel in my thoughts when I am tasting the wine; a beach in the Mediterranean, a murky bar in Paris or perhaps my old home in rainy London (we had so many nice wines there)? Perhaps I will not be talking like a pro, but people will be interested in my story around the wine. We will also offer some general options in our tasting sheets, so people have a list of aromas to choose from (here is a good guide from Jancis Robinsson to use in your home tastings). I hope that will not silence the imagination.
With these thoughts, we will start the preparation of our tasting materials. If you are interested in joining our tasting on the 12th of September, drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will send you the address.