Laithwaites Experts' Choice tasting

Spent this morning judging at Laithwaites Experts’ Choice tasting, held at the Worx in Parsons Green. The concept? Laithwaites staff do a pre-screening of their range and then present around 200 wines to be tasted blind by a mix of their staff and journos like me, working in panels of four. We rate all the wines, and the highest-rated of these make it into the offer (see last year’s offer, to get an idea of the results).

Why is this a good idea, and why should I spend my time doing this? Well, very few wine merchants have found a way to sell wine to customers that doesn’t involve reducing the price. This Experts’ Choice selection was a great success last year with Laithwaites’ customers, because it gave them reassurance that the wines would be good.

The Laithwaites creative team were out in force, with a camera crew led by Red Johnson (he’s the son of Hugh, who was also tasting) and a photographer (whose life was probably made quite difficult by the bizarre mix of normal and orange-tinted sodium lighting in the room). Pictured above: Tony Laithwaite being interviewed. Pictured below: the team were keen to see which wines had made the grade, when the bottles were revealed.

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