San Francisco Blind Tasting Flight on Wednesdays (poured by an Advanced Sommelier)

Hello San Francisco Somms,

Over the next few months, I plan to pour blind tasting flights for interested candidates on Wednesday afternoons in Union Square. I'm an Advanced Sommelier, and I'd love to help other sommeliers in the area who might benefit from practicing blind tasting. Anyone who is interested may participate, whether you have an exam coming up or you would just like some practice and coaching. I've worked with fairly small groups in the past, but the more the merrier; everyone benefits from seeing a multitude of tasting styles so feel free to invite anyone else you think might benefit.

Format: There are several formats that will potentially take place on a rotating basis, depending on the needs of the candidates. I am open to other suggestions from regular attendees, as well.

  1. Blind flight of 6 wines (3 white, 3 red, maybe more). We will use the CMS deductive tasting system as outlined in the Introductory Course. Candidates who would like to take a wine from start to finish on their own may do so. Others may prefer a round-robin style, in which one person takes Sight, then another person assesses the Nose, etc. through the Final Conclusion. After a conclusion has been offered, we will take a few minutes to discuss the wine before moving on to the next one.
  2. Advanced candidate solo flight. In this case, a candidate preparing for the Advanced Sommelier Exam will go through a flight of 6 wines in 25 minutes in front of the group. This is the format used in the Advanced & Master level tasting exams. Like in Format 1, we will open the floor to discussion of the 6 wines after the candidate's 25 minutes have elapsed.
  3. Blind flight of 4 wines (2 white, 2 red). In this case, we will use the written deductive tasting grid utilized in the Certified Sommelier exam. Each person will taste through the wines & (silently) fill out the grid. Once the time has elapsed, we will discuss the wines & reveal.
  4. Benchmark wine with Theory discussion. To break things up, I will occasionally bring only 1 wine from a benchmark producer to blind taste. We will blind taste the wine as a group, followed by revealing the wine, and then a detailed Theory discussion on the producer & region. The focus will be on cause & effect. We will work on connecting the Theory information (climate, topography, grape varieties, viticulture, vinification) to what we can observe in the glass.

Cost: None. I will bring the wines, you just need to show up & work hard. If anyone would like to make a contribution to help me cover the cost of the wines, that would be appreciated, but not necessary. I learn a lot from working with you all, and helping someone pass their exam is payment enough!

Location & time: ENO Wine Bar, 320 Geary Street. 1:00pm on Wednesdays (if there is a strong push for another time frame, this can be moved)

The first session will be this coming Wednesday, the 8th of August. I will endeavor to continue on each Wednesday after that for the rest of the year as my schedule will allow.

If you would like to participate, please e-mail me at tom.a.renshaw@gmail.com to ensure that I have a flight poured for you.

Thanks & I hope to see you soon. Blind tasting takes a lot of practice, so take every opportunity you can!

Best,

Thomas