Once you start getting into tasting routines, a few things become clear. There are different styles of tasting set ups.
One is setting up of tables with a variety of wines. You, with a tasting glass in hand go to the table of your choice and ask for the wine you want to taste. This style (stand up ambulatory) tasting is inconvenient for writing notes, rinsing the glass, and selecting the wine.
Generally organizers provide some food, mostly cheese, bread, pates, and sometimes cold cuts.
All are really inappropriate for serious tasting. Generally, there are too many wines in such tastings. Some are too cold, others too warm. Information is difficult to come by.
Sit-down vertical tastings are better suited for serious tasters. Here wines from a number of vintages and from one estate or a single vineyard are poured; i.e Taylor’s vintage ports, or Chateau Latour, a single-vineyard Barolo, or Grange Hermitage from different vintages.
Each wine is poured from the youngest vintage to the oldest in glasses for tasting. Tasting form is provided. Cubed baguette is available as well as a glass of water to rinse.
Sit-down horizontal tasting involves a regional tasting of one vintage from different vineyards or wineries; i.e Clos de Vougeot from different shippers, Barbaresco Bricco Asij, Chianti Classico from different wineries.
Dessert wine tasting of different styles; i.e Sauternes, Tokaji, Trockenbeerenauslese from Germany, Muscat wines form Greece, Italy, France or ice wines from Austria, Canada or Germany.
Sherry tasting by style, – very dry (manzanilla), dry, olorose, palo cortado, cream, sweet, or very sweet.
Comparative champagne and/or sparkling tasting whereby a number of sparkling wines are offered blind, including champagne, to show the difference.
Blind tastings involve settings, where tasters do not know any of the wines and prices.
Actually, all serious tastings should be conducted blind or double blind in an attempt to eliminate bias, as many people consume based on hearsay, according to tasting notes provided by writers, or the winemaker.
Food and wine matching tastings are becoming more popular as many consumers want to know how to match food and wine.
Such tastings are time-consuming to set up, may become expensive pending on the food and wines chosen, require wait staff, preparation, and more importantly, a lot of time.
Here each course is served along with three different wines.
Tasters take a bite, and taste one wine. The same pattern continues.
New World wines that are fruit driven, low-acid and high alcohol fare poorly in such exercises due to their limited ability to stand up to food and cleanse the palate. Acid-driven wines always fare better and generally are better matches with food.
If you are interested in any of the above or all get ten good like-minded friends, and ask each to bring a wine either of your choice of theirs. A price range should be given to ensure an acceptable variation.
You will see how much fun and work you can have for little expense.