Laithwaite’s Wine have recently launched their ‘Tasting in the Dark’ event and I was lucky enough to go to one at their 2017 Vintage Festival. You know about Laithwaite’s wines? One of the trailblazing wine merchants, which imports direct from growers throughout the world. And stands up for the locals too – English wine is a growing part of their catalogue, especially English sparkling, which is world-beating in quality.
The idea behind this event is simple. How can we use our senses to change how we think about food? And not just sight (we all know that a well-presented dish is more attractive than a bowl of brown goo), but the others. So Laithwaite’s Wine gave us a Tasting in the Dark experience, letting us use a mix of senses to experience different tastes of their delicious wine (this is known as synaesthesia). And people, can I please tell you how well it works!
I’m going to describe some of the things that we did. And seriously, they really do change things – so please, please, please do go to an event.
So – spoiler alert. But actually, anything I say will do nothing to stop you enjoying yourself. After all, I know loads of Akon music but that doesn’t stop me paying anything to get to a concert.
So – we walked into the room and the lights were switched off. And it was dark. Really dark. We HAD to concentrate on our other senses.
- Sense of smell of taste. We were given samples and asked to smell and then taste them. This was possibly the closest to normal wine tasting we got, as after all, normally we smell the wine, and only then taste it. Of course, without being able to see the wine, the differences between a light, citrusy Pinot Grigio and a full-bodied fruity red were immense.
- Touchy feely in the dark experiment. This was weird in a very good way. One of those things I had never thought would happen. We first felt something velvety before tasting the wine, then something abrasive before tasting the wine again. And it didn’t matter what the wine was, after handling the abrasive texture, the bitter tones of the wine came through more. Seriously strange but true – the same wine tasted different with different textures.
- Music to my taste buds. Now I had done the texture thing I was prepared for anything. But even being prepared I was surprised by how strongly the sound influenced my sense of taste. With happy music, the wine tasted mellow, rounded – more happy in a way. The jarring music drew my attention to the more bitter, stronger tastes.
I was blown away. As were all of the other rather more glamorous guests. Seriously. I had thought myself a reasonably rational person, able to tell if something tasted good simply by using my nose and mouth. Nonsense I discovered. I am profoundly irrational, influenced by everything that goes on around me. A revelation.
So go on. Do try and go to a #TasteInTheDark at their next festival or show. It is life-changing. And fun.
And if you want to make sure your guests enjoy themselves if you ask them round one evening, make sure you have some mellow music and smooth, silky furniture coverings. If you don’t like them however…………..
After the Tasting In the Dark event finished, we were lucky enough to get to taste some of the other 380 different types of wines that Laithwaite’s had on show at the festival, meeting enthusiastic producers, trying the new, reminding myself of the old and just having fun. My conclusion – you have to visit this at least once.
Wines we tried in the Tasting in the Dark where
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