Bookalokal: Chilean wine tasting

Last night we did another bookalokal verification, but this one was a little different. Instead of a meal, we went for an evening of wine-tasting (although there was some cheese available).

We made our way to a spacious loft apartment in the centre of Brussels where we were welcomed by Marwan, a British-Lebanese banker who works four days a week in Belgium, staying with his friends Jerome and Olga.

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Marwan had prepared some information sheets and tasting guides for the evening’s selection of Chilean wines, so that we could be sure to make knowing references to “notes” and “mouthfeel”.

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He also had an interesting “olfactory interpretation” kit. The idea is that you sniff the wine, then sniff a selection of small pots containing essences of certain aromas (blackcurrant, cinammon, leather, pepper, etc) and try to decide which “notes” you can detect in the wine. If you get the “correct” combination you should be able to identify the grape.

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There were also a few “bad” odours in the kit, such as the smell of a bad cork, and…er…

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Slurp and sniff, slurp and sniff…

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And nibble.

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A piece of decanting kit, intended to remove residue and aerate red wine. The ball blocks the neck of the vessel but the wine flows down through the little grooves in the side.

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Later in the evening a large number of the host’s friends arrived and things got a little more chaotic. The wine flowed, and was good, but the educational/tasting aspect seemed to fall by the wayside. Not so much of a problem for someone getting free wine in exchange for a verification, but if I’d paid the full price I’d have been disappointed at not learning more about the wines and how to appreciate them.

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P.S. One of the evening’s wines was a Merlot. I am unable to hear the word “Merlot” now without immediately recalling this scene.