quote:My monthly blind group doesn't get too wine-geeky
But that may be the entire idea OTOH. BYO is fine and it's fun and I like those groups and participate in a few from time to time, but you have other options if you want to get more geeky, which is exactly why I wanted a tasting group in the first place. Otherwise it's more of a good time group and that's completely OK too, but it's different and far less pedagogical.
One idea is to have everyone kick in some fixed dollar amount at the beginning of the year and buy from that - reimbursing people who bring from their cellar at some reasonable rate - and the point isn't to offload their aged wine at top dollar. And then stick to a regular date. That way if someone can't make it, you already have the money and the group doesn't suffer. And then have one person take charge of the tasting. If you want to taste sangiovese for example, you can just do that, or you so something more interesting like can focus on a single vintage to see how the wine is at say, 10 years, or 15 or 20 years, or something along those lines. Or you can compare 2 or three vintages, regions, winemakers, etc. If you pick something like 1997 Chianti or some older vintage of Barolo, you won't have people stop off at the store on the way over. You either have the wines between you or you source them.
Even better, you don't get locked into one price range. I think it's valuable to blind taste a series of wines side by side from different price points - no reason not to have a sub $20 wine in the tasting with wines over $100 and that's exactly what I'm going to do next month in fact. I have one that was less than $10 that I'm putting in.
It's a lot of work though. One person usually has to handle everything - coordinating the wines people are contributing if any, and sourcing the rest. And then you pour them all at once, spend a couple hours evaluating and rating, and then you can unveil. Since you're not at a restaurant and you're not paying food and corkage, it's not actually all that expensive to buy a series of wines that may run over $100 sometimes.
I went out the other night and spent $100 for my food and also brought 3 wines. That was for an old friend and was worth it, but if that's OK, I figure I can also spend the same $200 - $300 on a more focused tasting and not worry about dinner plates, etc. You need a lot of glasses and you need space for everyone to have all of their glasses set in front of them however. That's one reason it's better to have a home vs a restaurant - I have sufficient glasses but if people have preferences, they can bring a set of their own and just leave them.
A lot of people really HATE that format and think wine should only be enjoyed with dinner or food. That's not the point though - the point in this case is to learn and the enjoyment comes from the learning as much as from drinking the wine. I wouldn't want to drink every wine in that way, but it is another option. On the other hand, I don't want to make a record of every wine I drink either, so I keep notes from tastings like that where the focus is only the wine and when I'm out with friends and wine, I don't play Parker at dinner.