Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Elusive Grape Pouring: Lessons Learned

So last Thursday(February 18th), I am travelling from Lake Mary to Tampa on my twice-weekly jaunt (three times a week now that we have a new employee who does not know, or does not care, that the national unemployment rate is just south of 10%), listening to Lady Gaga (yes I said Lady Gaga), when I get a telephone call from Robert Goulet (you have to be a "special" person to choose that hallowed name as an alias on a wine blog). "Hey," he said, "are you going to the Kapcsandy tasting tonight at The Elusive Grape?" Now I was totally baffled because I was not familiar with the winery or the scheduling of a tasting at the mentioned locale. I told him that I was unaware of the event but that I would give Bill (the owner of The Elusive Grape) a call. So I called Bill (I was a little hurt that Goulet knew about the event and I did not) and asked him how come I had not been invited. "I didn't have you on my mailing list," he said, "but come on over. It's going to be great." So I went.

When I got to The Elusive Grape in Deland, I found that the tasting was a benefit in support of Journey's End, a doggy hospice program. Attendees were assessed a $10 charge plus had to bring an item that could be used by Journey's End. All proceeds went to Journey's End. It is estimated that upwards of 100 people attended the event.

The wines on offer were from Kapcsandy Family Winery (2006 Estate Cuvee, 2006 Estate Cabernet, 2007 Estate Cabernet), Erba Mountainside Vineyards (2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 Merlot, 2004 Syrah, 2007 Chardonnay) and Pina Napa Valley (2006 Cabernet D'Adamo Vineyard "Yountville," 2006 Cabernet Buckeye Vineyard "Howell Mountain"). The 2007 Kapcsandy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was rated 100 points by Parker so having this wine poured in his establishment was a coup for Bill.

The wines were set up on a table to the left of the bar and patrons rolled by this stately assemblage with outstretched glasses so that Gerard Moffet, National Sales Manager for Kapcsandy, could deposit the valuable juice therein. A number of issues here. First off, the glasses that were utilized were very small and, combined with micro-pours, did not allow for meaningful evaluation of the wines. Second, Gerard could have been more suitably attired in order to align with the general attendee mode of dress (Gerard is the one on the right in the picture. Bill is on the left.). He also could have been more forthcoming in his answers to questions posed and could have looked at his watch 50 fewer times.

The size of the crowd, and the method of wine distribution, made it very difficult for Gerard to control who had which wine in their glass at a specific time. He did try to go from white to red and from least impactful to most impactful but people knew that there was a 100-pointer in the house and wanted to get at it. The fact that only one bottle of the 100-pointer ws on hand for a crowd of this size exacerbated the problem.

So what did we learn? First off, this was a pouring, rather than a tasting (see my 2/19/10 posting). Second, the appropriately sized glass is key in an event such as this (see Robert Goulet's posting of 2/22/10). Third, the winery representative should have enough wine to adequately conduct the event. Fourth, have the winery representative send you a picture of what he/she plans to wear to the event.

Both 2006 and 2007 vintages of the Kapcsandy Cuvee were poured and the "07 was obviously a very special wine. The winery, and its products will be covered in greater detail in a future post. The Elusive Grape will be covered in fuller detail in a future post.


  1. This Goulet guy sounds incredible, I've got to meet him:) Sounds like this tasting was BYOSG(bring your own shot glass)or a medicine dropper.

  2. Attache, is a french term, meaning a person officially assigned to the staff of a diplomatic mission to serve in a particular capacity. Another meaning is someone with expertise within a specific field/subj.

    So I guess he is an expert on the winery's overall mission, culture, philosophy and operational procedures.