'Tis the season for tastings, and so these past few weeks I've been busy standing behind tables pouring my wines that are distributed in NYC. At T Edward's tasting Jean-Pascal Aubron's Muscadet got very good reactions, a testament to his wine-making skills. But the biggest taste test was at Orsay, where Gabriella Wines held their Fall Portfolio Tasting. I poured four wines (Chateau La Bouscade, Clos Bagatelle, Felines Jourdan and Chateau Haut-Musiel) for eight hours, standing in a low-ceilinged room while hundreds of store and restaurant wine buyers filed past, sniffing, swirling, tasting and spitting (for the most part). To say I am exhausted is putting it mildly.
But I did find some things very interesting. For one thing, many folks are upbeat about the economy, which is a plus for everyone. Rising tides and all that. For another, it was really fascinating to see how the people who choose the wines the end consumer finds on lists or shelves make their decisions.
Most stopped and listened, either out of politeness or interest or both, as I rattled off the information about my wines. Many seemed to enjoy learning about what they were tasting, and took the time to ask questions and probe deeper. Others shot past, gulping the wines quickly and nodding a quick thanks.
But I found it fascinating to think that all these people would be making business decisions that would affect what ends up in the glasses of the end consumer. Just like I'd gone through thousands of wines before choosing the ones I represent, they had to taste through hundreds of bottles lined up on tables like soldiers on the march. Like me, they seek the wines that are both well-made and sellable (the two are sometimes mutually exclusive, sadly).
With so much to taste, it is easy to become overwhelmed and fall back on the standard labels. So it was nice to see how dedicated these buyers were to finding interesting wines (sometimes mine! yay!). For me, it was physically and mentally exhausting (you'd be amazed at how tiring it can get, standing and talking ad nauseum about my wines for hours on end, and I love my wineries. But it's a part of the job I love precisely because I get to talk so much about my portfolio. And folks seemed to appreciate the effort, I am happy to say.