One of the fun things I like to do with friends is blind tasting and listening.
Each guest brings a bottle of wine, so they know at least what one of them is, in theory. Works best if people bring a bottle they have not previously tasted, that way everyone learns more, you included.
One guest (or a third party) has to set up the bottles, cover them up, and pour out a glass of each. The others have to guess what they are drinking, the country, the region and the grape. Taste a flight, and share the flavours and aroma you get: white orchard fruits, butterscotch, grapefruit, wet grass, old socks, whatever you are getting. It is always interesting when someone else pinpoints a flavour that you were struggling to pin down. Yesss, roadside fennel…and petrol…
After downing several glasses of each, you have to declare which of the wines you each liked best (and may be, why). That is the really tough one, when you discover no-one much liked the bottle you brought. Not even you. That should teach you to up your game. When it gets a bit competitive, miraculously, the wine people bring should start to improve. Win Win!
After everyone has revealed truthfully their likes and dislikes, each guest reveals how much their bottle cost. This part can be the most interesting. Sometimes the most expensive wine can be the least liked, beaten by a bottle costing half as much. It is like an A:B of vinyl pressings – until you compare, you don’t know which sounds best. Of course this part of the fun can cost you a few friendships. (What a cheapskate!)
Our favourite blind tasting is often the Viognier grape as a common thread. Strange thing about that seductive grape, it can taste completely different when grown in countries other than its home in France. Had an Aussie Viognier once, tie me kangaroo down, mate, was it “loud and overpowering!”. Stereotyping, moi?
Think you know your jazz? Try blind listening, it’s even more fun. After you have done with the wine business, and before you have finished the bottle, the host staggers to the turntable and puts on a jazz record selected from their shelf (keeping the cover well hidden). Guests now need to guess the artists, and of course the instruments – surprising how many people aren’t sure whether they are listening to a tenor or alto. Of course the host must not choose a recording which is an artist’s signature tune. Umm . . .Blue Train... let me guess, umm could the tenor be … (hesitates) …Coltrane?
The leader and front-line is the big question, then each of the sidemen. That is easier because once you settle on the lead instrument and player, you are likely familiar who they played with, narrows down the choices. Informed guesswork.
Remember this? 2015 quiz-night, twenty tenors, name them all, gosh that was fun, so interactive. I can usually guess horn players, piano less so, which tells me I need to sharpen up my listening skills.
A New Quiz
Today, time for another quiz, this time four artists, a quartet, even. No clues other than it was recorded in the 60s, that’s as much help as you will get. Give it your best shot, choose one player of each instrument out of ten choices, or add another. The real player may not be in the list. Then again they might be.
First, the recording:
. . .
Who are you listening to? (headphones recommended) If you are not up for guesswork, it’s a great track, so just enjoy.
The saxophone player is… your call from ten names or add another
The pianist is … your call from of ten names, or add another
The bass player is . . .
The drummer is . . .
Quiz open one week only, make your selection now. The winner will receive an all expenses paid luxury cruise…nah…nuttin’. . . but the satisfaction of being right. Something I seem to get less and less of nowadays. All will be revealed after quiz closes. Come back frequently and laugh at other people’s guesses. And no cheating.
LJC, Because Jazz Matters, and Wine, they go together.
“In the 1980s, just 35 acres of Viognier vines were left on earth. It was all but exclusive to Condrieu (Northern Rhone, France) where demand has sent prices through the roof. Viognier is very, very difficult to grow. It demands buckets of sun and ideal soil nourishment. It’s an aromatic bouquet of mango, pineapple and lychee that just doesn’t stop giving. With a long finish and a bright character, it’s the white wine for autumn.”
Majestic Wines (promo)
Latest wine escapade posted on sister LJC site, Age Improves With Wine. Ticket To Ride, Bordeaux To St Emilion