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have done various themes from verticals, horizontals, wine makers, wine regions, weather (rainy season vs dry season), price points, production numbers, organic,  closures (screw, cork, synthetic), wines that don't suck, wines that suck, under $20, over $200, animals on labels, bottle size/weight, wines you never heard of, regions you never heard of, etc.

Was in two blind tasting clubs and each meetup was a region at minimum if not a theme of some sorts. Over the years we covered most areas and most themes, lol.

@billhike posted:

When getting together for dinner and bottles with fellow winos, do you folks prefer a themed evening or a free-for-all? I’ve enjoyed both. When these can resume again I’m considering reaching out to the locals to propose Champagne and Northern Rhône.

Really enjoy theme dinners as it provides for an opportunity to learn.  That being said, I would never turn down a free for, Can I get an invite?  Champagne and Rhone are right in my wheelhouse. 

@sunnylea57 posted:

With the TWC, we do themed dinners (Burgundy, etc.), complete free-for-alls where people just show up with something good, and dinners where we all declare in advance so we have a nice balance of sparkling, white, various reds, and then the chef builds a menu around our wine choices.

I recall an epic night in July of 2012 where I was blessed to join the legendary TWC for a night such as this.  Still one of the best "wine experiences" of my life.

@billhike posted:

If you feel like hitting Chicago’s western suburbs at any time, there is an open invite!

Let me get my second shot and I'll feel better about traveling.  March 31 is the magic date.  Might be able to get Sarbuze (Mike Mohammadi) to join in, although since he is in Jersey it would make more sense for you guys to meet and my house and raid the cellar and we can make him cook! 

I like themed offlines but they don't always work. As much as I love Brunello, I've been to a couple that just didn't work. Some of them (i.e. traditional style) get lost among a dozen bottles of sangiovese. The palate fatigue that SD-Wineaux mentioned above. I prefer a country or varietal theme.

Free for all works well if you're at a restaurant and everyone is ordering a la carte.

I had to laugh about this a bit and it made me think of an allegory on what my drinking habits have been for the past 12 months.

My 'safe circle' of neighbors have been getting together on a regular but I haven't really seen anyone socially outside that group since lockdown.

A couple months ago 'Mower Steve', asked me why I always bring a fancy glass to drink my beer in (Belgium Ale Tulip usually).  He wanted to know if it made the beer taste better or was special in some way.  I told him: "No, nothing special, just after a few hours all you jack asses can't remember whose Coors Light can belongs to whom or which solo cup is yours and I always can find my beer."

For most events in the past I found in general that themes created a lot of anxiety for some people and limited attendance.  Even for serious wine geeks pulling out or finding an aged Northern Rhone could be a limiting factor to attendance. 

What we started doing for themes was asking a few people to supply the wine, and everyone else to bring a dish of some kind.  Take the pressure off.

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