Another Wine Byte 9: Vertical Tasting

Here is the ninth in our weekly series of Another Wine Bytes; information about wine you can use to impress your friends (but not in an obnoxious way, of course!)

AWB #9 – It’s Not the Mile High Club

Ladies, have you ever felt like slapping a guy who just invited you to a horizontal tasting? How about a vertical tasting? Don’t!  As suggestive as it sounds, a vertical tasting isn’t an initiation into the “Mile High Club.”


Wine tastings are usually a variation of three forms — a general tasting, a horizontal tasting or a vertical tasting.

Vertical Tasting: A vertical tasting is one in which several vintages of one varietal from a single producer are tasted.  This way you can see how dramatic or subtle a wine changes from vintage to vintage.  We do this with some of our wine clubs that deliver just twice a year in the Fall and the Spring. Although a vertical tasting is not quite the same as our side-by-side comparison in the linked post, because the wines we tried were from grapes of different vineyards. To do a pure vertical tasting, for example, you could taste  Chateau Dauzac (Margaux) wine from 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Horizontal Tasting: A horizontal tasting is one in which a number of different wines all come from the same vintage. We did this when we attended the 2006 Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. A horizontal tasting allows you to distinguish the differences between wineries.  You can do a number of different things with a horizontal tasting — concentrate on only one varietal, like the ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) Festival; or limit your tasting to only Cabernet Sauvignon, and compare those of Napa Valley, Sonoma and Calaveras County.

General Tasting: A General Tasting is one in which the wines are not limited to a single varietal or vintage.  It can include reds and white still and sparkling wines. We had one of these during last year’s Wine Blogger Conference, but ours had a little twist:  it was a tasting with Live Blogging. I usually refer to that one as Speed Tasting. We sat at tables of 10 or 12 while each winery had a very few minutes to pour and describe the wine.  Then we had a minute to blog about it.  It was so fast that I just got to the point where I snapped a picture of the wines I preferred, which is how we ended up visiting Murphys in Calaveras County, and Twisted Oak a few weeks ago.

So the next time you’re invited to a horizontal tasting – resist the urge to counter “in your dreams!” and consider it a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a variety of wines!

And that’s this week’s Another Wine Byte. Stayed tuned for extended posts about our adventures in Murphys, Twisted Oak, Occidental and Barrel Tasting in Russian River Valley!


Amy Corron Power, the WineWonkette~ Amy Corron Power,
aka WineWonkette

Posted in Education, Posts

Amy Corron Power View posts by Amy Corron Power

A licensed attorney, Amy is a wine-lover, foodie, photographer, political junkie and award-winning author who writes about Wine, Food, Beer & Spirits. As Managing Editor & Tasting Director for Another Wine Blog, she travels all over the world's wine regions to share her experiences with her readers and legions of twitter, Instagram and Facebook friends and fans. Amy holds certifications through the International Sommelier Guild, and is also certified, with honors, as a California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). She is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and regularly attends Houston Sommelier Association events. Amy is also a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books, and was most recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Gratitude.
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