Wine Talk

Snooth User: spikedc

Wine tasting evening

Posted by spikedc, Apr 22, 2011.

My wife and I  went to a Wine tasting evening at our local retailer last night and we were pleasantly suprised at the wines they had on show. Being mainly a red drinker I was eager to try some whites.

We sampled a Sancerre Domaine Vaheron 2009 which was wonderfully bone dry acidic and very refreshing also i enjoyed a Chilean Chardonnay Montes Alpha 2009 which was probably my favourite white of the night.

Amongst the red highlights was a lovely Pinot Noir Coney Pizzicato Martinborough 2009 and a Kangarilla Road 2009 Shiraz.

The evening was extremely enjoyable with no pressure or hard sell, although we did end up buying a few bottles including the Montes Alpha and the Kangarilla Road,

The small wine shops should do more of these evenings.



Reply by GregT, Apr 22, 2011.

In the US they do. At least where legal - in some states you can't do it.

But in NYC, I don't know of any shops that don't do it.  And I agree - it's the best way to sell wine.  Forget points, reviews, snobs - just let people taste it.

Reply by StevenBabb, Apr 22, 2011.

sounds like a nice little tasting...

-spike, what part of the world are you in?

Reply by hhotdog, Apr 22, 2011.

agreed SB.  my usual shop has sveral bottles open for tasting every weekend and it is the best way to try something new or a new vintage. do for a tatsing myself spike.  congrats! it's always nice to find something worth buying at these tastings,

Reply by spikedc, Apr 23, 2011.

Greg - Local shop tastings don't seem to be as popular over here but I agree it's a great way to get people buying and coming back,  As they say 'You've got to try to buy'.

Steven - UK, just outside London.

hhotdog - cheers, wines were great !

Reply by Lucha Vino, Apr 23, 2011.

Tastings are very common here in Seattle.  One new shop has a free tasting every night of the week!

Definitely a great way to try wine, wine makers and regions that you have not experienced before or are curious about.


Reply by GregT, Apr 23, 2011.

These are increasingly common as well:

A lot of wine stores set those up so people can try a couple of different things.  In some cases they're gratis, in others every time you buy wine, they give you some card with points that you can use to get a taste of the wines.  That's actually kind of nice because they'll put in bottles that are cheap as well as some fairly expensive bottles.  So if they give you say, 100 points for every $20 you spend, and each sample is maybe 200 points to 2000 points, you can decide what you want to taste.

OTOH, there are a few stores I know that just set a bottle on the counter and it sits there until it's done.  That can be extremely instructive because you can see what happens to an open bottle after a day or two.  It's how I selected roses.  I didn't care what happened in June.  I went to the botanical garden and looked at everything that had crapped out by August.  Those are what I avoided buying.

Usually though, the store asks the distributor to do the sampling.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, May 16, 2011.


Sorry been out of the system with a couple of days leave and then the usual "crap in the in tray" on return

How did you rate the Kangarilla Road - A friend is a part owner.

We are just starting to see the 2009 Reds so your input would be valuable and interesting

Reply by spikedc, May 16, 2011.

Hi Stephen,

The Kangarilla road 2009  was by far the favourite of the evening, everyone at the tasting agreed even the non red drinkers were impressed, even my wife who does not drink reds at all was pleasantly surprised although not converted.

For me it's up there with the best i've tasted recently (in my price range), Dark ruby colour, really smooth with just enough spice to satisfy, intense cherry fruit with a hint of sweetness.

Already finished the bottles i bought (let one breath for a while and it tasted even better).  I am definitely going back for more

It's currently still on offer for around £10 ($15) BARGAIN.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, May 16, 2011.

Spike - can't believe it with the AUD at 65p+ you are buying better than I can [$17-20 locally, although could be better on promo or special]

Crazy economics

Anyway, its a good drink and glad it hit the mark with you

Reply by duncan 906, May 23, 2011.

Here in the UK most retailers do not offer tasting but every year there is a big event called The London France Show which is attended by a number of French wine producers.At this event they are only too keen for you to have a taste because then you are more likel;y to buy.I have been going every year since the 80's and have bought  wine every year

Reply by zufrieden, May 23, 2011.

Having lived in the UK, I can attest to a certain reluctance to invest in customer attention spans.  Here in Canada, we are enthusiastically copying the US habit of inveigling customer interest by plying some free tastings - to good effect, if my own observations are the norm.  It is also noteworthy that, if you have a little knowledge to impart (modesty prohibits me from suggesting I merit any reference to such knowledge) you are even more welcome as measured commentary is quite well received and tends to assist sales.  Rarely are all wines sampled so mediocre that positive copy becomes impossible.

Hope that the tastings continue; they are the best way to exchange opinions in convivial surroundings and the ultimate way to ensure your pleasure down the road with whatever purchases you make.

Reply by spikedc, Jun 17, 2011.

Still on the wine tasting theme, we have booked a three course meal at our local Italian on the 26th June.

Also included with the meal is a South American wine tasting experience, not sure of the actual wines but there will be a Pinot Grigio/Riesling from Brazil and Malbec from Argentina.

Not tasted much of either so looking forward to it, particularly the Malbec.

Reply by EMark, Jun 20, 2011.

Regarding the question of "Why retail stores would not have tastings," I have recently started patronizing a chain called Total Wines.  They are fairly new here in California, but they have a pretty comprehensive stock, and their prices are quite good.  In the middle of the two stores I have visited there are tasting bars.  Typically, they offer 2 theme flights.  The first time I ever tried one of their tastings, the hostest said that they were required to charge.  So, the charge was 10 cents.  She also told me that the proceeds were donated to charity.  It is unclear to me whether this requirement to charge is a Californina law or corporate policy.  I have been offered tastings at other stores but don't recall being charged.  So, if it is state law, I suspect it is fairly new.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jun 21, 2011.


Alcohol laws worldwide are some of the most bizarre, arcane, complex, outdated, confusing etc pieces of legislation ever contrived by our collective global legislators.

Whilst many of us live in allegedly non secular societies the impact of the conservative religious zealots [left or right] are clearly demonstrated in our liquor laws

Reply by GregT, Jun 21, 2011.

It's not corporate policy - it sounds like a CA rule.  Total Wine is a chain and they have multiple state rules to contend with.  They can't operate in NY because here you can only own one single store, so people get around that by having their sisters, in-laws, parents, brothers, cousins and relatives each nominally "own" a store. But for a big outfit like Total, that's not going to be worth their time. 

They typically have a good price on something and then they have another wine that they try to switch you to when you go to buy wine number 1.  On the second wine, they'll have beaten down the distributor to nearly break-even, purchased as much as they could get, and they sell the hell out of that wine because their margin is a lot higher. They're big enough that they can kind of call their own shots, but most smaller companies detest working with them, so you don't usually find a lot of boutique type wines, at least out here.

The rules here don't have much at all to do with religion.  That's the fig leaf some people use, but it's all about protecting certain players at the expense of others.  It's pretty naked self-interest that drives each state's rules on alcohol - the group with the money most accurately directed will get its way. 

Reply by dmcker, Jun 21, 2011.

Now, now, now, Greg, you cynic/realist/whatever, you.

Sounds pretty accurate for a number of industries, so why should wine distribution be so different?

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jun 21, 2011.


Yes I did ignore the old self interest rule and you are correct it has helped drive a lack of change in modernising and making the laws more relevant and competitive.

Your fig leaf analogy is quite clever and sadly very true

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