Wine Tastings
July 6, 2016
Gastronews (323 articles)

Wine Tastings


A sad fact of life is that very few people know how to organise a proper wine tasting. Typically it starts with a phone call.

‘We would like to invite you to a wine tasting on Thursday’

‘Ah, muy bien, and what wines are we talking about?’

‘Wines from Toro.’

‘Er, where?’

There follows a complicated description of how to get to a restaurant in some Málaga back street, while your brain is screaming, ‘Why couldn’t you just send me an email with details of the wines and directions of how to get there?’ But you bite your tongue.

The day arrives and everything is how it always is. No list of wines to be tasted, just some sales material; no prices indicated, nor local distributors. Not even a spare notepad or ballpoint in case someone came without. A long-winded technical discourse by the head oenologist that is of little interest to us wine writers, so we have wasted two hours and the winery has missed an opportunity to promote its products

I could go on. Away from professionally organised tastings, the whole thing degenerates into farce. I remember a champagne tasting at which the French sales director talked for an hour. No so bad if we had been able to try some of the bottles that were sitting patiently in ice buckets. But no. Nothing was allowed to pass our lips until he had finished his address. Needless to say, unhappy memories do not encourage favourable reviews.

So how refreshing when a real professional outfit comes to town, as did major Navarra winemaker Chivite last week. Tasting agenda emailed a week previously, top restaurant (Messina), illustrated notebooks with hi-tech writing instruments. Needless to say, some of Spain’s best wines, starting with vintages of Chivite Colección 125 Reserva, Conde de la Salceda; Chivite Colección 125 Blanco, Chivite Finca de Villatuerta Chardonnay 2013 and Syrah 2011, and the new rosado from the bodega, Las Fincas.

All this rounded off with a champagne reception in the evening sponsored by Tattinger, partnered by Chivite in Spain. That’s the way to do it…..

AJ Linn

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