You want to learn about wine? You enjoy trying new wines? You like to taste wine? I have the same answer for each question: go to tastings. Or host them yourself. But there's just no substitute for tasting a bunch of wines in a single setting.
One of the nice things about public tastings, put on as they are by big organizations or publications, is that they often allow you to taste wines that you might not get a chance to taste otherwise for some reason -- whether that is because of their cost, their small production levels, the bass ackwards liquor distribution system in your state, whatever.
Of course one of the other reasons you might not get a chance to taste certain wines is because they've been so highly rated by some magazine or critic that they're pretty hard to find on the shelves of even the best wine shops in the country. Which is one of the many reasons why it's always nice to attend the Wine and Spirits Top 100 Tasting each year.
Frankly, unlike some of the top XX lists that are put out every year, inclusion on the Wine and Spirits list doesn't virtually guarantee a spike in price and a disappearance from store shelves, so this isn't a tasting to attend purely for the scarcity of the wines. But every year there are some excellent wines on offer from all over the globe, and the food is pretty darn tasty as well.
Like all public tastings, it comes with problems of crowds, and occasionally the food from one vendor runs out, but this tasting in general I find to be pretty high quality, and the $100 price tag keeps it from becoming a Fort-Mason style mosh pit. In particular, I'm generally very impressed with the cheese and charcuterie on offer at this tasting.
The wine selection is a great breadth of global wines from the ultra premium to the hidden value, which means that it is possible (as I have done sometimes) to actually buy some of the better tasting wines that you experience.
Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 Tasting
Wednesday, October 11th 6:00 - 8:30 PM
San Francisco Design Center
101 Henry Adams Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
Tickets are $100 and MUST purchased in advance on the magazine's web site.
My usual tips for such public tastings apply: get a good night's sleep before, wear dark, comfortable clothes, go with food in your stomach, and for Pete's sake, SPIT!
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