Conducting a Vertical Wine Tasting is Another Fun Way to Enjoy Wine with Friends
Unless you have spend some decent time in a tasting rooms or at wine-pairing dinners, you are probably asking, “What is a vertical tasting?” A vertical tasting is when you have two wines of consecutive years from the same winery that are also the same varietal and usually from the same vineyard. The goal is to compare how the factors of the two different years affected the wine…is one more fruit forward? Is one more complex? It is really fun if you can get your hands on 2 bottles that are 15+ years old, but even 10 or 5 year old bottles will provide you with an interesting tasting.
You’ve opened your wine, what next?
While the bottles are taking their first breaths of oxygen in several years, prepare 2 wine glasses for each guest. It is important to differentiate the two glasses either by size or shape or with our magnetic wine charms so you remember which year is in which glass. We marked our ’97 Stolpman Reserve Merlot with a Swarovski crystal magnetic charm and our glasses with the ’98 wine with a flip flop glass marker. Now pour about 2 ounces in each glass, making sure to follow your marking system. (This becomes more important after a few sips!)
What to Look For in the Wines
Together as group, start analyzing and tasting the wines. How do the colors compare? How are the noses different on each wine? What tastes do you discover when tasting each for the first time? Which is each person’s favorite wine? Now sit back and chill for 15-20 minutes, maybe giving each glass the occasional swirl. Taste again…you should notice some differences. Continue to enjoy over the next hour, and possibly serve some appetizers to complement the wine. As you near the end of the bottles, ask for everyone’s final impression. Which wine ended up being the favorite in the end?
A vertical tasting gives everyone a chance to enjoy wine in a slightly different way while also learning something new. I promise it will be an experience your guests will cherish and remember, and the best part is, every vertical tasting is different, so it is an entertaining model that can be enjoyed a couple times a year.
Have you ever done a vertical tasting? If so, we would love to hear about the wines and your experience!