Vertical tastings are tastings that are organized to highlight the specific characteristics of a producer. All of the wines tasted come from different vintages. This is in contrast to a horizontal tasting in which the vintage is fixed. By fixing some of the variables that change a wine's character you can focus on the variables you are targeting and how they effect the wine. This strikes me as a great way to learn about wine, and of course the method you choose should depend on what you are interested in learning.
If you are interested in how a producer makes wines and how they're growing over time set up a vertical tasting of only their wines. I guarantee at the end you'll have a great sense for that producer. This strikes me as being similar to reading all of the works of a specific author.
If you fix the vintage and taste through California you may not see as clearly at the end because the domain is so much broader. Still, you'll learn something and it will probably be good enough.
Vertical is about specific details. Snooth is a vertical search engine, which means it exists within a limited domain. You would not come to Snooth to search for information about boats, for example. Instead you might go to the boat search engine, or barring the existence of one of those to a horizontal search engine. Understanding the domain is something we are quite serious about. We hope that any Snooth user is going to learn a lot about wine(, and not so much about boats).
Vertical vs. Horizontal Tasting
- Blog comment by Dan, Feb 12, 2008.
Mark, good, claritive post. I am planning a horizontal with 2005 Napa Valley Cabernets later this month. I'll report back....
- Reply by Philip James, Feb 13, 2008.
I've taken part in a few vertical and horizontal tastings, but by far the coolest I'd heard of (which i sadly didnt get the chance to go to) was a horizontal tasting where different carrels of the same wine were matured in different oaks or steel. So in one tasting you could compare steel / american oak / french oak and hungarian oak, while keeping every other variable constant.