Wine Wednesday: “V” is for “Vertical Tasting”


Welcome to what might be that last Wine Wednesday Wordologie posts {at least for 2015…maybe…}, my dears! If you read my “Hello December” post from a couple of weeks ago you know that things are in a bit of intentional transition here on the blog for the next few weeks, so the routine is definitely not guaranteed to be in effect.

But the effervescent vocabulary lesson is in effect for today though, and we are all the way on the letter “V.” So what does V stand for this week?

Wine Wed Word Vertical tasting (defn)

Not to be confused with a “horizontal tasting,” a vertical tasting can happen in a couple of ways: (1) you taste different vintages {years} of a specific, singular type of wine like the 1967, 1991, 1998, 2004, and 2005 blanc de blanc vintages of Taittinger Comte de Champagne; (2) you taste  all of a single winery’s bottlings, i.e. all the  blanc de blanc or blanc de noirs of a single champagne house {regardless of vintage year}.

Taittinger comtes de champagne vertical tasting

{image courtesy of}

The normal process for proceeding in this structured tasting is that wines are consumed from the youngest vintage to oldest because the older wines tend to have more complexity that their younger counterparts. If you want to start off with a bang by having the most complex wine first however, go right ahead. Who am I to judge?

I really love “vertical tastings” because it’s a fun and unique way to really get a chance to taste the similarities as well as the subtle–and sometimes not so subtle–differences between vintages for a single winery. A champagne house’s winemaker will definitely have a distinctive style when it comes to creating the blends of the wines. Where the distinctions can come in though is when you look at difference in the growing conditions from year-to-year as well as {although this happens a lot let frequently} when a head or senior winemaker moves from one champagne house to another.

I attended a superb vertical tasting for Champagne Mailly  earlier this year where the Champagne House brought bottles of almost every one of the wines it produces {which is considered a single winery’s bottlings}. It was an unforgettable evening and I look forward to having the opportunity to do vertical tastings with other champagne houses as well.

The majority of the Champagne Mailly Grand Cru portfolio chilled and waiting to be sipped. And isn't the hue of the rose absolutely gorgeous? {photo credit © Davon D. E. Hatchett}

The majority of the Champagne Mailly Grand Cru portfolio chilled and waiting to be sipped. And isn’t the hue of the rose absolutely gorgeous? {photo credit © Davon D. E. Hatchett}

In fact, a few of the vertical tastings that I’d absolutely love to experience include {but of course aren’t limited to}:

Taittinger {as so cleverly mentioned above}

Bollinger {like this one by Wineanorak–I recently sipped the Grand Anne for the 1st time last week and it was beautiful!}

Krug {it made my “Ultimate Gift Guide for Champagne Lovers list.” Enough said}

Louis Roederer {I attended a champagne dinner for the house in 2013 which included Cristal and was in heaven}

Dom Pérignon {seriously, do I really need to expound on this one?}

Billecart Salmon {experienced the 1999 Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart this summer–O.M.GEE!}

Champagne Ruinart {the Hubs and I had the Blanc de Blanc to drink at our wedding}

Nicolas Feuillatte {I have a bottle of the blue label Brut in my champagne vault and am dying to try the Palmes d’Or!}

Nicholas Feuillate vertical tasting

That said, if you’re a lovely champagne houses and you’re reading this {and why wouldn’t you be?}, please be aware that ANYTIME you’d like to extend an invitation to me for the opportunity to experience a vertical tasting on your “home turf” just know that I have absolutely no qualms at all about hopping on an airplane to De Gaulle at the drop of a hat for the experience. Seriously. At ANY time. Just say the word.

If you think I’m only kidding, there’s only one way to find out. I always have my passport on standby for a spontaneous bit of International travel {wink}.