The wine trade tasting calendar starts in earnest tomorrow, and we’re entering a busy period, kicking off with far more 2009 Burgundy tastings than anyone can reasonably justify.
If you are any good with google, you’ll be able to find a list of the UK tastings calendar. There are loads and loads of them, mostly London-based. During the peak of the tasting season, you could spend a working week just tasting wine, with two or three tastings a day.
On one level, this is tremendously useful – a free resource which a business card and a bit of fast talking could give you access to for free, even if you aren’t on many invite lists.
But on another level, is tasting 100+ wines in a day going to yield you all that much useful information? If you taste gazillions of wines, you will not perform well. Sensory scientists could tell you this: look at the effort they go to with their panels to avoid fatigue and carry-over effects, in order to get useful data.
Interesting wines demand understanding; they demand attention. It’s perfectly possible to accrue tasting notes of many thousands of wines in a year and publish them, yet – even if you have a good palate – to be publishing nonsense.
We all (as wine writers) think we are special. But can we really be serving our readers well if we’re publishing notes on wine no. 125 of the day when our palates and minds are fatigued, and all we give wine no. 125 is 15 seconds of our attention?