How to host your own Vertical Tasting

by Bolney Wine Estate Limited November 21, 2019

How to host your own Vertical Tasting


A vertical tasting is a wonderful exercise that we don’t get to experience often at Bolney. Don’t get us wrong, it is humbling that our wines are so in demand that we sell out of each vintage, but it can be fascinating to compare them against each other. It’s also a great exercise to enjoy with friends and family during your Christmas celebrations.

A horizontal tasting would be sampling a range of different wine from different vineyards across the same vintage, but a vertical tasting is sampling the same wine across several vintages. It can be tricky to save past vintages of your favourite wines, but sampling two or three vintages together shows a fascinating insight into how the wines evolve and develop as they age. For example, our wines are made so that they express lots of fresh fruit when young, then more honey and complex notes when aged.

This Summer we released a limited edition tasting set of Lychgate Bacchus 2018 and Bacchus 2017, which is now, sadly, sold out. But, we have now just released another set which comprises of Classic Cuvée NV (a non-vintage blend with 2016 being the dominant year) and Classic Cuvée 2013. Once again we have a limited stock of this, so please order your set soon if you are interested in tasting these vintages together. Would you like to see us release more vertical tasting sets for our other wines? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you’d like to try!

Steps to hosting your own vertical tasting:

You will need -

  • At least two vintages of the same wine to sample (make sure you have enough bottles of each – a bottle should serve around six guests).
  • Pens and paper (or tasting note sheets)
  • Nibbles to pair with the wines, such as cheeses, olives and charcuterie. See if the winemaker has suggested any specific food pairings for the wines.
  • Producer tasting notes for each vintage.


  1. First taste each vintage on its own and get everyone to make notes. It can then be fun to compare your notes to that of the producer. See who picked up on what!
  2. Taste each vintage again, but this time pairing with food. Which vintage did you prefer alone? Which vintage worked best with food?
  3. Discuss together and share your notes. Do you think the style of wine works best when enjoyed young, or has it aged really well? How did the characteristics of the wine change over time- such as aromas, flavours, body and finish. Take a look back at the winemaker's notes- did they use any different winemaking techniques across the vintages and how could this have affected them?

 

Bolney Wine Estate Limited
Bolney Wine Estate Limited


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