Vertical tastings trace how Cape wine has evolved
Colmant’s Blanc de Blanc and Forrester’s FMC have attained icon status
The vernacular of winespeak is often a source of amusement and derision. From the simple “how can it be dry when it is wet?” to “plump, full-bodied and opulent, with a great mouthfeel”, the opportunities for satirising the verbal sallies of the wine world are varied and many.
Among the more readily ridiculed terms are “vertical” and “horizontal” tastings. Those in the know generally look pityingly upon the uninitiated as they explain that “horizontal” means all wines of the same vintage, while “vertical” means the same wine viewed over many vintages. People who drink wine for pleasure (as opposed to point scoring against other guests at dinner parties) might reasonably ask why anyone would waste good wine in either of these two exercises.
A horizontal tasting of Stellenbosch cabernets, for example, would reflect the performance of the appellation and the variety in a particular vintage. A vertical tasting reveals the development of a particular wine over several vintages. It would also hopefully illustrate the evolution and the aesthetic coherence of the winemaker’s intention...