What does a wine dinner look like? It depends. A bad one can be dull, uppity affair. They always offer an educational opportunity and the wine is almost always good, which is cool. But even very good wines struggle to overcome the slog of a pinkies-out event where stone-faced people drink joylessly and presenters crack jokes unfit for middle management-led office meetings. A good one can be a rollicking fun time. The guests don’t take themselves too seriously, and neither do the presenters. The stuff you learn tends to stick with you longer and the wine tends to be more enjoyable, simply because your brain associates both with fond memories of a happy evening.
I wouldn’t share the details of a bad wine dinner. Doing so is a waste of time. So when I tell you that Somm Journal sent me to Irvine’s TAPS Fish House and Brewery to cover a “France vs. Italy” wine dinner curated by Master Somms Fred Dame and Peter Neptune, and I’m willing to tell you to click this link and flip over to Page 112, you already know that pinkies weren’t extended and smiles abounded. Check it out, and then peruse the rest of the publication while you’re there.