When we reached the venue, a few others were already there, with a row of empty glasses in front of them, and several pieces of bread and cheese too, for us to change our taste after each sip of the wine. Alok showed us how we should, first, hold the glasses only by the stems so that the heat of our hands wouldn't affect the tasting. Then he showed us how to swirl the wine around in the glass, dip our noses right into the glass to get the aroma, and then how to sip, and possibly, spit out the wine into a spittoon, in case we were worried about getting tipsy with all the sips! Throughout the evening, Alok never talked down to us, and was most helpful about filling in gaps in our knowledge. He emailed me later that he thought that we had a lot of gumption to come and meet a whole lot of new people and try something new!
There was a detailed instruction sheet in front of us, too, asking us to mark on various aspects such as the colour, legginess (legginess? that refers to the way the wine would slide down the sides of the glass after being swirled), aroma, taste, body, and an overall comment....Alok then told us not to take that paper too seriously!
I felt a bit of a fraud, I haven't even tasted too many wines as I have never got to like wine enough to start trying out all the varieties that Mohan buys. I didn't rate the whites very high and was thinking that this must have been because of my inexperience, and then I found that I rated most of the reds pretty much the same(except the tannin-y one) and was rather pleasantly surprised that most of the experts there seemed to have shared my opinion...well, I will certainly never be able to state that wine "A" has more merlot in it and wine "B" has predominantly pinot....but I can just about make out what I prefer!
....I did enjoy the snacks, though! I don't know how they were carefully planned around the wines, but I didn't need the wines to wolf 'em down!
I must also confess to being a little apprehensive about the snob-rating of the evening, and that was a pleasant surprise too. I didn't expect it to be such a small gathering either, and was actually wondering how to do the wine-and-cheese small talk, or the page 3 small talk! I didn't need it at all, and that was a relief! Of course there were the anecdotes from the experts about what Sabeer Bhatia told one or how the other tasted this super-expensive but super-good wine at some fancy dinner...but it's always nice to listen to people who are knowledgeable about something, so I enjoyed listening to all of the conversation.
A pleasant evening..... I will never dare to lift a wine-glass lotus-fashion any more..... and who knows, the next time I go wine tasting, I may have gathered a little more knowledge of wines!