Importers, distributors, country trade commissions, and individual wine regions have long put on tastings for the trade and media to showcase wines in the hopes of increased sales and better media coverage. One of the most encouraging trends I see in the wine world continues to be the proliferation of such tastings available for the general public.
Let's face it, even someone who has a bottle of wine with every meal only gets a couple hundred tastes of different wines every year. And most people tend to stick with the wines or grape varieties that they know. No matter how adventurous the palate, there aren't that many opportunities to learn what you like and what you don't like during the course of normal consumption of wine for pleasure at mealtimes.
Instead of consumption for pleasure, those interested in wine need to consumer for education, which is where large public wine tastings come in. The chance to sip and spit sixty, eighty, even one hundred wines for the price of a couple of bottles represents an unmatched opportunity to educate your palate.
The latest opportunity for such an education is around the corner in San Francisco. On May 3rd, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board is bringing a whole lot of Riesling and Gruner Veltliner to town for you to taste, along with cheese and various Austrian finger foods.
Austrian Riesling, in particular, is one of the world's greatest food wines and anyone who isn't that familiar with it should take this opportunity to find out why. Likewise, you might decide to discover why Gruner Veltliner is so popular with sommeliers in this country.
Austria Uncorked 2010 San Francisco
Monday, May 3rd - 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
The Officer's Club
1 Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123 (PDF map)
Austria Uncorked 2010 New York City
Wednesday, May 5th - 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
2 Desbrosses Street
New York, NY 10013 (map)
Tickets for San Francisco $60 and New York tickets are $70. Both should be purchased in advance online. Use the code: AUSTRIAEB at checkout to get a $15 discount !!!
For those who may not have tasted a lot of Riesling in one sitting before, the wine is quite acidic and can make your teeth hurt after a while. Drink lots of water and eat as you go to minimize this effect. My other public tasting tips also apply -- get a good night's sleep, make sure you have some food in your stomach before you taste, and be sure to spit so you can learn something as you go, instead of getting schnockered after 10 tastes.
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