Recently, a group of StyleBlueprint investigative reporters went to Westport Whiskey and Wine for a wine tasting of my favorite wines, Conundrum, Belle Glos and Caymus, all made by the Wagner Family in California.
In the past, when I have been to a wine tasting, it was more of a social affair, where wine was pre-poured and people stood around socializing and sampling.
We arrived about five minutes late and this is what we walked into:
Okay, this is a classroom, not a wine tasting, right?
No, I see the wine, so everyone breathes a sigh of relief. But I also see this below. And, none of us have brought a pen (like that would have fit in our cute “going-out” clutches).
None of us has a clue what we are doing, but we all know how to drink, so we we sit down and prepare to get educated.
First the whites. Conundrum has always been one of my favorite whites, until…I met its sister, Silver.
At this point in the process, we are three glasses of wine in (and I mean FULL pours). The Wagner Family representative is telling us about each grape, where it is grown, what the weather is like, what we are supposed to be tasting. It is like we have all been hypnotized by his descriptions.
We move on to the reds, Belle Glos and Caymus.
It becomes clear that we are not going to be able to finish all these glasses of wine, despite our best efforts. So we pour into the Makers Mark dipped wine spittoon.
This makes all giggle, thinking of this scene from Sideways with Paul Giametti.
We learned that the Wagner family farms all their own wines; knowing the provenance of their grapes is important to them. We can taste this attention to detail.
We tasted seven wines in all. The crowd got progressively louder as the night went on, as you can imagine.
This wine tasting was $25 and we were tasting top-notch wines. Caymus is priced at over $100 a bottle. But, better than the tasting was the education.
Westport Whiskey and Wine has a full schedule of tastings. This schedule below was just the month of March and it included wine, whiskey and beers.
I asked the owner, Chris Zaborowski about the tastings there. What we attended is referred to as a “formal tasting” and the more social tasting that I had attended in the past is called an “open tasting.” A typical sit-down formal tasting averages 20-26 people; an open tasting averages 50-60 people. They have an “open bottle” tasting every Thursday night.
They offer Girls Night Out tastings monthly, and those average 25-35 people with higher-attended ones with 60 ladies there. Their most successful tasting was a fundraiser for Dress for Success where women sampled Little Black Dress wines. Over 400 people were there, 250 of whom were women in little black dresses.
You can arrange a private tasting party, which costs only $5 a person plus the cost of what is served. This is a great idea for an adult birthday party or a girls night. You can pick whatever you want to taste and you can bring your own cake too.
Here’s an added bonus: the night of the tasting, all wines are available for sale — and they are discounted. The night of our tasting, Caymus was discounted to $100, as opposed to the $124.99 regular price. And Conundrum was selling for $16.14 a bottle. We stocked up.
Westport Whiskey & Wines is located in Westport Village. If you do plan on going to a tasting, be sure to make a reservation in advance. There are only a certain number of spots for each formal tasting. To visit their website, click here.