Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Paramount Mess

Funny that I was blogging about Fall tasting season just yesterday when today I happened to attend the worst trade tasting of them all. One of the country’s largest wine & spirits wholesalers held their event today and I can safely say it has become the poster child for what is wrong with trade tastings. Everything about the event was a gigantic disaster.

For a more colorful account of the spectacle, please see Taylor Senatore’s piercingly accurate rant. I add my overall assessment below…

For starters, there was no rhyme or reason to how the tasting was set up making it virtually impossible to find any of the brands you might want to try. The floor was a maze of tables and the few signs were like cruel jokes pointing you in the wrong direction. On top of that, the room was entirely too small for the amount of people and brands that were crammed into it, causing pushing and shoving and general disorder.

There was at best one spit bucket for every two tables of wines/spirits, seemingly because two thirds of the attendees were more interested in getting liquored up than tasting the wines professionally. For many attendees, the wines seemed to take a back seat to the buffet, at which the notorious asparagus was omnipresent.

Attendees who were not loaded all seemed to have the same look of anguish across their faces and, among likeminded professionals, eye rolls and exasperated sighs were exchanged while weaving through the crowds. All in all it felt a little bit like a high school dance where all the kids were pushing and shoving to try and get to the one spiked bowl of punch.

To top it all off, we did not find one exceptional wine in the whole bunch. That is not necessarily to say that this particular wholesaler does not carry any outstanding wines, just that one might need the navigational skills of Magellan and the patience of a saint to find one. Never again. Never ever again.

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