Once a quarter there’s a "wine tasting" here in Cincinnati held by a
social club. We usually go to about 2 per year. I really can’t handle
more than that.
I would say between 200 and 400 people show up at these things.
Sometimes it is hard to tell because the location ends up being a lot
smaller than the amount of people. You pay $10 to get in, which goes to
a charity, and you bring 3 bottles of a specific varietal. Two of your
bottles are wrapped and put in numbered buckets. One of your bottles
goes into the case prizes. This means you’re possibly "tasting" anywhere between 100 and 200 bottles of wine. I usually suffer palate fatigue and don’t make it very far. Others, well, I think there are folks who can pound down a pour from every bottle.
You carry around a piece of paper where you’re supposed to rate each
wine you try on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (good). At the top, you list
the numbers of the best and worst wines you tried.
These events are usually gigantic social events where people drink
giant pours and get pretty darned drunk. The age range is usually in
the mid 20s to mid 30s. The wine is mostly intolerable. Word of the
event must have spread though, because last night was different. In
addition to all of the usual, there was a slightly older crowd in
attendance, which meant slightly better wine, more attention paid to
the size of the pours and the ratings sheet.
Every time we go to this event, we put a lot of thought into our
wine. I just hate the idea of picking up a $4 bottle of wine. Someone
is going home with that 3rd bottle after all. Last night was a
Sauvignon Blanc tasting. We brought an Australian (McLaren Vale) blend of Riesling, Marsanne, and
Sauvignon Blanc called The Stump Jump. It was on sale for $9.99. There are no rules against blends, and Americans love their Riesling, so it
seemed like a guaranteed winner.
It was. We placed first, as the absolute favorite wine of the
night. We were surprised – sort of. If we go to two of these per year,
then we usually win at least one. There’s a trick to it, after all. No
matter what sort of wine it is, you place it in the freezer for a few
hours beforehand. It gets so unbearably hot at these things, with all
the people, that you want to drink cold beverages, not warm. Plus,
think about it. Room temperature, or warmer, sauvignon blanc? Bleh.
So we came home last night with 3 cases of wine that rank from the
$3.99 Gallo to slightly more expensive $14.99 bottles. It will take us
about 8 months to get through all of these, at least. It’s always a
crapshoot as to how the bottle will taste, as well. We tend to get rid
of, use in cooking, or find other uses for the really bad ones. I have
friends, for instance, still in the "drink to get hammered" phase of
their lives. They tend to end up with our lowest end winnings.
(I’m now going to hunt down my Carolina notes and fill you in on the trip. Must go searching.)
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