That’s the theory… but faced with a bottle with a VW camper van on the label… or a TWS exhibition Hermitage… which would you pick up first?
I regard large walk-around tastings as nothing more than some sort of coarse filter to explore wine I am unfamiliar with, to see if they merit more attention from me with view to buying and drinking. Oh, and I taste a few wines I am very familiar with, in an attempt to “calibrate my palate” for the others.
I agree absolutely that you need to drink a wine in context to properly understand it, and preferably on a few different occasions I think. I have theoretical knowledge of what to expect of a “good food wine” from a quick taste, but it is never very useful for me in practice.
I no longer find any tasting as much fun as I used to, and in the last year or so I have hardly missed them at all, so I will probably attend fewer in the future. Also, while I am sure there are lots of exciting wine styles I haven’t tried yet, there are relatively few new ones that wash up on these shores every year.
My experience has generally been with TWS walkarounds, which I find are perfect for me. I have also tried a few Lea&Sandeman tastings, one of which had such tannic reds that I pretty much gave up on that whole category - not an enjoyable experience. Multi supplier walkarounds can be very hit and miss, mostly the latter, as one table can have lots of interest (and a big crowd) and another nothing. The lack of a theme is their weakness in my opinion and conversely an aspect of TWS events that works brilliantly.
The best TWS tastings have about 20-24 wines and I like to try them all, in the suggested order, missing out only those wines I have bought previously. It is also interesting to return later to those that made a good first impression, to check whether my initial views change during the evening. The occasional event of 40 wines (Rhone in Leeds springs to mind) forces one to be selective! If I had to miss some wines, it would be orange, oaky white Rioja and young reds that need 5+ years.
I enjoy challenging my preconceptions and am happy to try anything, also being more confident and responsible about spitting nowadays!
I miss out Spanish wines as they don’t agree with me.
Spain has a hugely diverse range of wine styles, even within regions. I am sure you would get on with some of them, and large tastings are a way to find those you like.
(Just trying to be helpful.)
Thanks for the thought but missing out on one country is no big deal for me when there are so many other wine making countries to explore! And I do drink sherry which doesn’t disagree with me. Oddly, Portuguese wines are also usually OK.