Monday, October 31, 2005

Speed Tasting
Let me ask a question. Is it important to you to be able to identify a wine in less than a minute? If so then I have just the game to stimulate your competitive juices. Speed Tasting! Described as a new concept in wine enjoyment, Speed Tasting was introduced by Explore Wine late last week at The Wine Show, a three-day wine tasting extravaganza staged at the Business Design Centre in Islington (UK) on 27-30 October 2005. Contestants have to wear a blindfold and headphones and must identify color, grape, origin and age of three wines in less than a minute per wine in order to have any chance of wining the case of wine offered as a prize.

I’m certain that this is something I could not do. After all it would take me a minute to get the glass to my mouth, swirl, sniff, sip, and swallow. Think about the wine for a little, and then repeat the process just to make sure. And repeat again, etc. I’d probably win for the slowest time, provided that the glass was not drained before I reached a conclusion. It has happened.

While I applaud those who can identify a wine so quickly, I’m not sure I see this as positive development in wine tasting. Several Masters of Wine (MW) have taken the challenge, although their scores have not been revealed. And they don’t appear in any of the photographs of the winners! That is most likely because a lot of knowledge of wine styles would not be helpful in this game. The process of elimination used to reach a conclusion on the identity of a wine from a large database of knowledge does not lend itself to speed. But if you have a good knowledge of the Explore Wines portfolio, then you might have a chance. Why? Well Explore Wine invented the speed test because it claims that its wines are so distinctive.

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