Okay, I’m from the Charm School generation. Seriously, my mother sent me to school to learn how to set a table, walk with a book on my head, and know how to wear gloves. (I’m might have flunked it… I’m not quite sure.)
Regardless, I did pick up a few things along the way. I had recent Emails with a colleague, and speed tasting came up.
Here’s what I wrote to him/her:
I sometimes wonder if raising my children’s generation on Sesame Street… “Today is brought to you by the letter ‘a’ and the number ‘9’” has anything to do with thinking in the sound bites that we’ve developed in this country. I’ve been to two wine bloggers’ conferences: one in Santa Rosa CA, and the other in Lisbon, Portugal. I found the US one a bit attention deficit… “Let’s do speed tasting!” A great concept that I still can’t like, regardless of anything. Call it my age, call it the way I was programmed; to listen and take my time learning as much as I can from info being fed to me in an educational format, versus speed talking. Meanwhile, Europe’s tasting was slow, measured, and informational on many levels with no speed. Speed dating and speed tasting… Sorry, guys, deliver it in a slow and thought provoking way, not a twitter sound bite.
What s/he wrote back:
I HATE speed tasting. Not only is it impossible, when speed tasting, to give a wine a genuinely thoughtful, useful appraisal; there is also no pleasure to be had in it. It’s an extreme sport, not wine tasting. I don’t know if it’s Sesame Street or texting or the Republicans that are responsible, but proponents of speed tasting have it all wrong. I love tasting a wine because it’s a wonderful opportunity to step outside of time and focus my whole mind and all my senses – my whole being – on one beguiling thing, and to try and make sense of it. It’s a kind of meditation, almost. The opposite of a race. Hardly a sport.
You now know where I stand…
What’s your opinion? It seems that you either love it or hate it.
Speed tasting wine is like test driving a car one block and making a decision to purchase or not. Unfair to yourself and the maker. Like yourself I’m old school, slow down and enjoy the ride….
Good simile, Roger, especially the “unfair” part… something I didn’t touch upon.
When I saw speed tasting at the Wine Bloggers Convention I thought it was the weirdest thing ever. But what do you expect when you put Twitter and tasting together? Of course those tweet tasting notes are completely useless, but on the other hand, there’s no harm done, because nobody takes them seriously anyway.
I hadn’t quite thought of it that way, Steve… Another term for speed tasting is tweet tasting. Twitter is so quick, it’s impossible to have long term effect, or better yet, and results that a winery can write home about, use in a piece of marketing material, etc.
I can see not value to be gained in ‘Speed Tasting’, one might as well not even bother at all. What possible enjoyment of the wine could be gained?
I also would wonder what else in life a speed taster would want to rush through?
I enjoy tasting it longer.. don’t see the pleasure in speed tasting.