Another extended absence, but it was worth it.
This summer was a great opportunity to spend more time in Rioja and get get to know the culture there properly. It is really worth getting immersed in other cultures as you see so much more than you get to see by visiting it for a few days. Obvious, of course, but it is not about studying, so much as of absorbtion. There is only so much you can be exposed to in a short trip, but just being there for 3 weeks means you pick up on all those little things that just happen while you are there.
A particular point of interest was the variety of sizes people 'serve'. We are so used to standard, legally-enforced measures that our wine experience is naturally limited to what we can manage to drink. If you are drinking 175ml or 250ml glasses each time, there are only so many you can try. But when you go from tapas bar to tapas bar in Logroño you get served everything from thimblefull glasses for €0.50 a glass (35p!!) to larger glass for a few Euros.
On the other hand, most punters are not interested in which wine it is that they are drinking in this context, and I don't really know why. One for the future.
Back to the main topic. Yesterday I attended the 2nd Wine Show in London. Whatever you might say about the range of wines on show, the fact that consumers can wander around, taste and learn about wine MUST be a good thing - as long as it is not an off putting experience of course. I will follow up on a few of my tastings in the next few days, but I would recommend you consider it next year (keep an eye on http://www.wineshow.co.uk) and you might even see me on a stand there next year.