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Ian Sutton

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Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Ian Sutton » Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:27 pm

As mentioned a few minutes ago in the open mike thread, I'm interested to see if people would be interested in setting up a small scale palate calibration exercise, where we all aim to taste the same vintage of the same wine and compare notes.

Whether this would be through open mike, sunday chat, or whatever I'm happy to go with the flow.

The aim (apart from to enjoy the wine!) would be to see how different people judge the same wine (well as near the same as is possible with bottle variation :oops: ). Seeing how different people describe the features, what they like and dislike, how they express that in words.

As ever, there's no right or wrong answers, just views and opinions.

Getting a suitable wine available to all will be a challenge (but not too much I hope). Some suggestions for possible wines below (in all cases I'd expect a widely available 'current vintage', though I suspect this might even vary a little between locations):

- Cotes du Rhone e.g Guigal
- Chianti e.g. Antinori
- South American wine e.g. Montes
- Aussie shiraz e.g something from Penfolds
Others that might be possible include a dubouef beajolais or a Loosen Dr L riesling.

One side effect of widely available, means that whatever we choose would undoubtedly be cheap (or at least not expensive).

I've posted this without any pre-arranged plan, so it's here to kick around for a while to see if there's interest.

What are your views?

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Ian
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:49 pm

Great idea Ian. It would work on Open Mike for sure but Chat might be tricky? They did try this in the UK but their chat is slower than ours by a long shot I believe.
A possee is not too hard to form up here, lets see what others think so c`mon participate!!
Myself, I like the idea of Penfolds or Antinori. Which Penfolds however? Antinori CC is pretty easy for everyone to find eh.
Guigal has had some spotty press but maybe this is a chance to see what is going on there? Cote-du-Rhone??

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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Otto » Fri Nov 03, 2006 9:28 am

I'd be up for it if I can find the wine(s) in question! I think we have some vintage of Guigal's CdR, so that might work. We also have Penfold's Kalimna bin 28 Shiraz 2003 which I'd be willing to buy. So at least part of Ian's list is ok by me, if others are willing with these. I think it should be a fun excercice.

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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 03, 2006 9:54 am

Very much open to other suggestions as well.

The Bin 28 2003 should be easy enough to find, but I'd even be open to trying Koonunga Hill if that makes the experience more accessible.

Maybe Jacobs Creek is another widely available option?

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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Robin Garr » Fri Nov 03, 2006 9:58 am

Ian Sutton wrote:What are your views?


Ian, I love the concept ... as Jenise and Bucko and a few other ancient sages will recall, we actually invented it (and the name Palate Calibration) on the original CompuServe Wine Forum back in the '80s. Even got some press because the idea at the time was such a bewildering concept. ("They taste wine on their computers? <i>How?</i>")

It hasn't been easy reinventing the concept in the more modern age, and I think the biggest problem is one you've already identified: A wine that's widespread enough to be available to all, and modest enough to be affordable by all, yet interesting enough to yield much excitement for "wine geeks," is going to limit is to just a very few.

It should be noted that our old WineTasting 101 and the newer Wine Focus, Wine of the Month, Open Mike are all aimed at replicating and extending this idea in one form or another.

But all that nay-saying being uttered :) I'm up for it. I think that the basic tasting could easily be run as an Open Mike, and a Sunday Chat session to go along with it would make it even more fun, <i>if we can come up with a topic that will encourage folks to participate</i>.

I'll certainly support it, and if we provide sufficient notice, will also publicize it in a Wine Advisor in the never-ending effort to lure more quiet readers in here as interactive participants.
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Redwinger » Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:07 am

Assuming I can find the wine, I'll play. As Robin has mentioned, I think the key will be finding a wine that is widely available and interesting...even better if it were a controversial wine.
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:10 am

Penfolds Bin 28 is good for around here so lets see who else has some ideas?
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Otto » Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:17 am

So is it semi-decided to do Bin 28? Our Alko is closed tomorrow because it's a holiday, so I'll have to know within 3 hours what to buy for the weekend! :) Rushing things, I guess, but I'll get one since there seems to be a bit of interest. I don't think we have the Koonunga Hill here. Jacob's Creek we do, but frankly I'm not sure I want to taste one again. So though the Bin 28 isn't exactly a cheap option (it's about 20€ here), I hope there's a few who are willing to fork out the cash to taste with me?

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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:07 am

Hang in there Otto!!! See my PM.
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:28 am

Otto
No specific rush IMO and I'm quite happy to take thoughts from other folks. Once we've got a range of suggestions I can post a list of 'possibles' (probably in a new thread) to get people to say whether or not they can get hold of them. Bin28 is indeed a possibility, but I'm very keen to see a list of about 6-10 wines that we could then poll people about availability.

I'd also love to give people at least 2 weeks, maybe even a month to source the wine.

Robin
Thanks for the history and the support - and apologies for my rampant plagiarism! If you were to put some promo words on wine advisor, do you have a preference for no of days in advance (e.g. a week, fortnight, month) to get maximum interest. Happy to go with your suggested timescales. Initially I'm thinking either 1st weekend in december (before the silly season really kicks in) or in mid-january to liven everyone up from their seasonal slumbers.

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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:32 am

Otto Nieminen wrote:Creek we do, but frankly I'm not sure I want to taste one again.

-O-

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If you see the Dry riesling by Jacob's Creek, give it a go. Non spoofed (albeit it must be quite difficult to spoofulate a riesling) and IMO pretty impressive for the price. Personally I'd take JC in preference to Rosemount or McGuigan.
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Robin Garr » Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:51 am

Otto Nieminen wrote:So is it semi-decided to do Bin 28? Our Alko is closed tomorrow because it's a holiday, so I'll have to know within 3 hours what to buy for the weekend! :) Rushing things, I guess, but I'll get one since there seems to be a bit of interest. I don't think we have the Koonunga Hill here. Jacob's Creek we do, but frankly I'm not sure I want to taste one again. So though the Bin 28 isn't exactly a cheap option (it's about 20€ here), I hope there's a few who are willing to fork out the cash to taste with me?

-O-


I think Bin 28 is a good option, Otto, but I'm thinking it might make sense to defer the event for next weekend, to allow plenty of time to promote it to a wider audience.

That doesn't mean we couldn't do one informally this weekend and a big "grand opening" next weekend, though. Ian and Bob seem to have things well in hand here, so I'm inclined to just lead the cheering section and let them do the work. :)
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Robin Garr » Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:53 am

Ian Sutton wrote:Thanks for the history and the support - and apologies for my rampant plagiarism! If you were to put some promo words on wine advisor, do you have a preference for no of days in advance (e.g. a week, fortnight, month) to get maximum interest. Happy to go with your suggested timescales. Initially I'm thinking either 1st weekend in december (before the silly season really kicks in) or in mid-january to liven everyone up from their seasonal slumbers.


No plaigarism at all, Ian ... the concept has long since moved into the public domain. :) I was simply citing a little historical record, and bragging of course ...

As I told Otto, I don't think there's any need for a long delay. Perhaps try something casual in the forum for this weekend (if it's not too late for Otto to scurry over to Alko), then a bigger deal the following weekend, allowing me time to promote it to a wider audience. Then if it goes well, we can make it a little more recurring.
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Jeff Yeast » Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:08 pm

Count me in. We do this pretty regularly over on the bourbon site and it is a fascinating exersize. It really brings a deeper understanding of taste profiles and the vocabulary required to express them. It also makes very clear the chemical and biological differences in each of us from the sometimes polar opposite impressions.
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:08 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Ian Sutton wrote:Thanks for the history and the support - and apologies for my rampant plagiarism! If you were to put some promo words on wine advisor, do you have a preference for no of days in advance (e.g. a week, fortnight, month) to get maximum interest. Happy to go with your suggested timescales. Initially I'm thinking either 1st weekend in december (before the silly season really kicks in) or in mid-january to liven everyone up from their seasonal slumbers.


No plaigarism at all, Ian ... the concept has long since moved into the public domain. :) I was simply citing a little historical record, and bragging of course ...

As I told Otto, I don't think there's any need for a long delay. Perhaps try something casual in the forum for this weekend (if it's not too late for Otto to scurry over to Alko), then a bigger deal the following weekend, allowing me time to promote it to a wider audience. Then if it goes well, we can make it a little more recurring.

Possibly an issue for me to get hold of it (Bin 28 2003 vintage) this weekend, but perhaps next weekend under the auspices of an open mike/PCE taster?
Meanwhile still accepting further ideas!
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Robin Garr » Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:23 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:Meanwhile still accepting further ideas!


I would expect the Perrin family's more modest Rhone labels - Perrin Reserve and La Vieille Ferme - to be widely available at low cost, and they generally offer very good value.

From Italy, the Falesco Vitiano is widely available in the US in the $10 range, and it gets a lot of attention because it's a Parker QPR favorite. I wonder if it's as easy to find in the UK and Western Europe, though, or if it mostly ends up heading our way because of the Parkerismo.
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Jenise » Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:14 pm

I'll play! Sounds like the Kalimna bin 28 is one that almost anyone can find anywhere, even me. Ditto the Perrin products.
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Mark Lipton » Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:18 pm

Jenise wrote:I'll play! Sounds like the Kalimna bin 28 is one that almost anyone can find anywhere, even me. Ditto the Perrin products.


Not so easy to find in my parts (without a 60 mi excursion, that is). Perrin Reserve, FWIW, is easily found even here in the hinterland.

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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:22 pm

Certainly seen the Perrin and Falesco around.

Some possible candidates:
CDR
Guigal
Paul Jaboullet Aine 'Parallele 45'
Perrin Reserve
Hugel Riesling

Italy
Falesco Vitiano
Masi Valpolicella Classico
Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico
Antinori Chianti Classico

Australia
Penfolds Bin28 2003

Spain
Torres Gran Vina Sol
Torres Viña Esmeralda
* La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry * (should have thought of this before!!!)

even seen this listed in Oddbins Bonny Doon Bloody Good White!

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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Nov 03, 2006 8:50 pm

Well, it all seems to be coming along quite nicely eh guys/ladies! Putting another list together is a good idea there Ian.
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Nov 03, 2006 8:52 pm

Jeff Yeast wrote:Count me in. We do this pretty regularly over on the bourbon site and it is a fascinating exersize. It really brings a deeper understanding of taste profiles and the vocabulary required to express them. It also makes very clear the chemical and biological differences in each of us from the sometimes polar opposite impressions.


Which wine would be good for you Jeff? The Bourbon idea sounds like fun!!
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 03, 2006 9:05 pm

I'm very taken by the idea of the La Gitana Manzanilla sherry.
I think it's considered a failing if you think your own ideas are the best, but I'm happy with failure (supporting UK teams in most sports gives you a certain grounding :wink: ). Factors:

- It's cheap (well under £10, US$20, €15 etc)
- It's widely available (or at least I assume so)
- It's a serious enough wine
- It's a re-emerging style, which might well capture peoples interest
- It's feasible many (like myself) won't have tasted it before
- It's reckoned to be good with nibbles / tapas style food
- Should be plenty to talk about, not just in wine terms, but also to chat about food matches.
- No immediate worry about matching vintages (though there will be batch variation)

What's the view of others? Is it that widely available? Are you willing to try what was unfashionable and might just become very fashionable? Do I EVER stop asking questions? :oops:

regards

Ian

[EDIT: and in the middle of that I appear to have achieved cinquecento status - I must get a life :oops: ]
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Isaac » Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:44 pm

I have to say, I don't recognize any of the names listed as being wines I've seen on the shelves in my area. Perhaps the Penfolds. I'll look around and see if I've missed something.
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Re: Open Mike / Palate Calibration exercise

by Mike B. » Sat Nov 04, 2006 7:04 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I would expect the Perrin family's more modest Rhone labels - Perrin Reserve and La Vieille Ferme - to be widely available at low cost, and they generally offer very good value.


Coincidentally, Thomas Perrin is in town this Tuesday for a tasting. Bob P. and I will be there.

However, I'm sure the Penfolds Bin 28 should be fairly easy to find, and a decent enough wine besides.

Bob, if you know where some is, drop me a line and I'll pick up a bottle if that's the one we're going with.

Barring that, an Antinori Chianti should be readily available here.
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