Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Portable Wine Tasting Device (no batteries required)

Sometimes, wine bloggers have been known to lack inspiration, wondering what to talk about next and hoping that an idea might just walk up to them, tap them on the shoulder and say, "Hi! I bet people would like to read about me".

Unfortunately, most of the time that doesn't happen.

But, like that dodgy chat-up line that fails 99% of the time, you can always dream that this time will be the 1% "pay-off".

Thank goodness for Steve De Long!

I was casually getting on with my day job recently when all of a sudden a rather charming man walks up to me and says "Hi!" (he forgot to mention the bit about the "I bet people would like to read about me", but I think he can be forgiven this time.)

It so happens that Steve is one of those virtual friends I mentioned recently, someone I met through the OpenWine Consortium.

Having mentioned I would be attending the Wines from Spain tasting in London in a comment, Steve, who happened to be visiting the same event, came round to introduce himself. We chatted about various things, he showed me an exciting project he is working on (which may be secret so I will not mention it) and left me a parting gift.

Now, it being a day job sort of day I was rather distracted, so I waited until I got home to investigate the gift.

To my surprise it was a very useful booklet which he has put together (with his wife I believe) that any aspiring wine enthusiast ought to have. The booklet is a 60-page wine tasting note archive where each page has all the reminders and key terms you might need to start the habit of taking tasting notes on the wines you drink.

It allows you to easily keep names and key details of the wines and highlight characteristics of colour, aroma and taste (using your own words or easily circling the pre-printed options).

Anyone starting out in wine will tell you that keeping track of what you taste can be daunting, and remembering all the different things you are supposed to judge can be tricky, so it is great to see it in a handy booklet that is also easy to keep on you for 'emergencies".

Best of all, there is even a cheat sheet in the back with lists of possible smells (aromas), useful terms and even faults.

I know I shall be buying a few for my relatives (sorry for spoiling the surprise if you are reading this) and in terms of the Wine Conversation, I applaud the goal of making it easy for anyone starting out on a wine tasting journey to track their progress.

One of the drawbacks of such a fragmented market for wines, where supermarkets can carry 600+ wines each and every restaurant has a different list, is that it is hard to remember what you have tried, and liked, before. This I imagine could be great tool (if used regularly - but isn't that the same for any tool?) for those of us with dodgy memories.

So, thanks Steve! I appreciate the gift and if anyone feels they too might be interested in tracking the wines they drink I recommend you check out www.delongwine.com


Alex said...

This looks cool because it looks quite small. I hate to say it ... but is it small enough to fit in a small handbag?! I have 2 note books - one tiny that goes everywhere and another, larger (though I still run out of space!) one dedicated to wine tasting that has to live at home.

Robert McIntosh said...

well, that rather depends on the handbag, doesn't it.

According to the site it is 3.5 by 7.75 inches (can we blog in imperial measures?) and it is quite thin

does that suit? Much better than those photocopied booklets the WSET give out

Unknown said...

I'm a bit of a fan of Tasting Buddy although juggling a tasting glass, a stylus and the handheld device I have yet to master properly. As a Diploma student it also helps me as the structure of the notes it imposes helps me.

The most important thing I have learned however is to observe. You can't write notes on anything unless you take the time to focus on what's in the glass (obvious I know).

Another handy guide which helps me with my colours can be found at essentialwinetastingguide.com. I think it cost me about a fiver including shipping from the other side of the world.