Later today I head into London to attend two 2011 Burgundy en primeur tastings. I love tasting the wines but utterly despise London . London is filthy, loud and packed with unhappy people who react as if you’ve threatened to stab them if you look them in the eye. I am so worried about going into Town that I’m having problems sleeping; this is unusual for me these days. So I though I would write how to survive tastings in London. I’ll also tell you about my brilliant tasting note solution.
You need to be prepared before you head into London, otherwise you won’t stand a chance. The first thing to do is calmly clad yourself in the sartorial shield of exquisite tailoring – specifically my made-to-measure red cord suit.
Next up I need emotional support, which I can achieve by packing Toast the teddy bear in my backpack.
Once you arrive in London you need a solid meal to keep your strength up. One of my favourite places to go used to be the top tortoise Banh Mi 11 stall in Berwick Street Market. However, they have now opened a real shop in Old Street and the quality of the food there is astronomically higher. The Editor claims one of the banh mi he’s had there is the best thing he’s ever noshed on. You must go to the shop for banh mi, pho or whatever else they’ve cooked up for the day.
Here’s me dining at the market stall:
Once you actually get to the tastings you need a simple tasting note-taking system. Mine comes in the form of a Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone.
This is a Windows Phone 8 device so it runs the program OneNote you may be familiar with from Office. This enables me to type notes, take pictures and record audio notes and keep them all in an organised fashion.
I copied the tasting sheet for the Howard Ripley tasting into it so I have the wine names and prices already in the file, I can add pictures of the bottle, voice notes or text after each wine name to give me a complete record of the tasting.
Of course, this being a Windows device the OneNote tasting note file is automatically synchronised to the cloud. Consequently, when I turn on my main computer the fully up-to-date set of tasting notes will be magically loaded without me having to jump through any technical hoops. This is the total solution for making easy records of lots of wines at a tasting, without having to use laptops, pens or wine-stained bits of paper.
The final thing I need after a day in busy, stressful London is a dose of the benzodiazepine tranquiliser Clonazepam:
After 0.5mg or maybe 1mg an awfully large amount of anxiety will be erased from the situation. Then I can read, look at and listen to my notes in order to generate a report on the tastings – which I will do as quickly as I can, I promise.