Tasting Etiquette: Should the Lady Swallow or Spit?
There’s a point in every wine tasting where I feel like the ultimate poseur. And that’s when it comes to spitting. I hate to spit. Which is really funny, since, as a kid I was the ultimate tomboy. And even though I think of myself as a proper feminist, I just find spitting so — heaven forbid I’m going to sound like my mother — horribly unladylike!
po ▪ seur, po ▪ ser
- one who pretends to be someone whose not.
- who tries to fit in but with exaggeration. An Avril Lavigne fan
- A person who attempts to blend into a specific social group. Justin was such a poser-goth; sure, he comes to school in all black, but he doesn’t even know who Edgar Allen Poe is. From Urban Dictionary
I know that spitting is a necessity, if one wants to be a proper sommelier or wine taster; or simply to keep from getting drunk and looking like a complete idiot — which is even more unladylike! But I am not yet able to do so properly, especially in a crowd. While attending the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux Vintage 2006 Tasting, I found spitting even more difficult.
At 5’2″ (157.5 cm), I am not a very tall person! Yet when we arrived at the tasting set up in the Dallas Frontiers of Flight Museum, I noted that all the spit buckets were set atop tall cocktail tables. Now I know we Texans are rumored to be tall. I also know that cocktail tables come in various heights, usually 30″ 36″ or 42″ (76.2 cm, 91.4 cm, 106.7 cm) high. But these tables, all set at the same height, looked really tall.* And after adding the height of the fancy spit buckets, the height simply appeared insurmountable. To spit into the bucket I would have had to either lay my chin on the bucket and dribble over, or pick up the bucket (without being able to see the level of its fullness) and bring it down to my small stature to spit.
This would have been entirely too much work in an already daunting experience of tasting so many wines while picking up snippets of French, dodging much taller Texans, and dealing with line jumpers and loquacious tasters of much more veteran status. So instead of tasting all the representative Bordeaux and spitting them out, I sampled about one-half or less as many as Joe, swallowed, and concentrated on snapping pictures.
Of course, after I had finished most of my tasting I discovered that spit cups were available for short people — but these cups were simply not visible or available when we entered the tasting one minute following its opening! What was visible, and I found amusing, is that the myth of “Dallas” is obviously alive and well in France!
*Note to tasting event planners: At least a few spit buckets should be set on shorter cocktail tables!
~ Amy Corron Power,
Here are more pictures from the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux 2006 Vintage tasting at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field in Dallas, Texas.