Sunday, 27 May 2012

Just Another Day at the Office...

The other day at work, I heaved a great sigh. It has since been pointed out to me that I have a tendancy to sigh aloud much more than I think (I claim it it is my way of meditating), but in this cause it was a sigh of fatigue at the half-way point of a long day at work.  The exhausting effort that lead to said sigh was opening 4 bottles of wine in a row. Now, you'd think this to be a trivial, perhaps exciting, task, but when these bottles represent exactly 4% of the total wines I sampled that day, you can see how tiring it may be to open 4 bottles of wine.
You see, twice a year our Buyer collects a panel of palates to sample from the nearly 500 wines he is submitted for potential large-volume buys for our company. In the span of 4 days, these panels sit, sip, and spit their way through 50 - 60 wines a day. The result is that no more than 2 minutes is spent deciding on the attributes (or lack thereof) of whether a wine is worthy of a large purchase. On this particular day, we set a company record: 100 wines tasted in 6 hours. For the record, 80% of the wines tasted were dumped as being inferior to mediocre quality, 15% as "possibles", and only 5% made the unanimous "yes" list.
Still, how can you taste so many wines in a day, you ask? Part of the reason is certainly owed to the years I spent studying wines for my Diploma. With time and practice, one can educate their palates to discern qualities and shortcomings no matter the conditions. Another reason is switching back and forth from whites to reds, and back to whites again. Whites tend to be lighter in body with more evident, mouth-refreshing acidity, whereas the tannins of the reds tend to linger and become exhausting. Nevermind the Listerine, pass me a splash of Sauvignon Blanc instead and I'm good to go for another 20 or 30 wines. Also, I tend to be a team-motivator when the conditions are right; at 82 wines at 3pm I pronounced that we could do 100 by the end of the day. Problem is I got a call just then from a friend visiting from Amsterdam, so the remaining 18 wines had to be "power-tasted" in just 30 minutes; that's a wine every 90 seconds. Finally, I can also thank my long resume of over-consumption that 100 wines is "just another day at the office."
In the end, I was surprised that if it were not for the 3:30 deadline to get to meet my friend, I could've tried for more as my palate was not yet exhausted nor was I feeling any effects from the wines (spitting helps with that alot). It is also worth noting that the appointed meeting place was a Belgian pub in Vancouver because nothing will create a thirst for beer more than passing a day sipping and spitting 100 wines.

1 comment:

  1. So how many of those wines were: smooth, full flavoured but a little oaky? Or....bold, muscular and a little fruity?