I took part in judging the “Sexy Syrah” event at Salty’s in Seattle, which involved tasting 58 Washington Syrahs and Syrah blends. It is an extremely popular event that benefits FareStart. As a judge I got to enter an hour earlier, which I was grateful for as the place gets packed.
How do you survive tasting 58 Washington Syrahs in a few short hours? The first thing you have to do is spit. I’m not good at math, but luckily Wine Folly has broken it down for you as far as what happens if you actually drink all the wine poured for you. I can only come up with three numbers for you if you don’t spit: 911. What I can give you, however, is a few tips on how to keep your palate fresh and help it recover.
- Take a break and enjoy the view. Luckily Salty’s has a pretty damn impressive view of Seattle. Grab a glass of water, step outside, and take five.
- Talk with winemakers and winery reps. A few questions about the wine will let some of those tannins melt away. You know I wanted to know more about this keg of wine!
- Eat, preferably encased meats. These little bratwursts were my savior.
- Drink a beer when it’s all over. I cannot stress this point strongly enough. After tasting almost five dozen red wines, few beers will be as delicious as this one. And since you spit all the wine, it’s cool to have a beer.
Two of the wines that really impressed me in the Syrah and blend categories, respectively, were the 2009 Purple Star and the 2009 Gamache Vintners Boulder Red. The Purple Star was fresh and fun, but certainly not delicate. And the Gamache distinguished itself with a big chunk of Cabernet Franc in the blend that really shined through.