Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(Tasting) the power of suggestion


The Wines of Burgundy tasting in Toronto this past Tuesday, hosted at the Art Gallery of Ontario, was fantastic. What was more fantastic than the actual tasting, however, was the epicness that ensued afterwards. Ah yes, the string of events over the three and a half hours or so it took us to take the subway back up north from downtown will forever be seared into my memory of the evening. Who knew a night of tasting fine Burgundy with the boys would turn out so?

Out of respect for the parties involved, I won't divulge specifics. Yet.

I'm working on consolidating my full tasting notes, and they should be up by the end of this week. Please stay tuned - this was a great tasting. Highlights included the Bouchard Père et Fils and William Fèvre tables. In the meantime, I wanted to address something that's been bugging me, something that became even more obvious during this event. I'm referring to the power of suggestion.

That is to say, when you taste wine, opinions of the people around you have a tangible influence on what you actually taste. Yesterday's tasting was fairly crowded, and I couldn't help but overhear some of the other attendees talking, not to mention the Domaine representatives present who try to give you a tasting note before they even finish pouring. An errant comment about fruit, oak, whatever, and suddenly my tasting notes are altered. I should know better. But how come I'm still susceptible, if even for the slightest instant, to tasting remarks from people who should have no place in informing my palate? Maybe I need to start wearing ear plugs to these things.

In the end, I completely drowned out all ambient noise. I even started ignoring what my friends were saying to me. And the result is that I'm more confident about these tasting notes than ones from any other tasting I've attended. Now, if only the rest of our night had gone as well . . .

Photo courtesy of ROKChoi.


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