We’ve all been to wine tastings — usually they feature a country or region. We like to have one around February to dog race the random and sundry labels we were given over the holidays.
The more serious of you might have been to, or hosted, a Horizontal Tasting. These involve wines from the same vintage. You can narrow this field by having only red wines, or wines from a single grape variety, or just “Bordeaux First Growths.” This is a good way to see which winery was most successful within a given year, or to detect styles for which a certain winery may be well known.
A Vertical Tasting, on the other hand, involves wines from different vintages the same winery. If the winery produces more than one type of wine, you would select just one and taste multiple vintages of it. For instance, you might have five vintages of Chateau Mouton Rothschild. When you hold a Vertical Tasting, you are learning more about the differences between vintages rather than differences in wineries.
Either of these tastings could include two or twenty wines. It’s up to you, but experts recommend no more than six.