Taste Lab Kits: Your Questions Answered

Wow – that’s quite a response we’ve had to launching our Taste Lab Kits. We’ve also had a lot of questions come in through email, Facebook, and even face-to-face, so we’ve put together a quick summary of those that we’ve been asked several times below.

Remember, you can order your Taste Lab Kit here.
Q: So, you’ve decanted the wine out of bottles into glass test tubes. Won’t they all be horribly oxidised?
A: Our brows furrowed a little at this point too, but, basically, science and technology have prevailed, and the wines taste exactly as they would if they were poured from a freshly opened 750ml bottle.
The technical explanation is that the tubes are all filled in a 100% inert atmosphere, and then sealed with a crimped aluminium screw cap to ensure no air can get in on their journey from us to you.
Just to be extra safe, we do recommend that you drink the wines within 3 months of receiving your Taste Lab Kit.
Q: Admit it. The wines in the tubes are completely awful bin-end type leftovers, aren’t they?
A: Er, no. In fact, every single one of the wines in the Taste Lab Kit is available on our website, and has been subject to the same rigorous audition process as any wine we list.
These are hand-on-our-heart great wines, chosen to be included in the Kit because they very clearly demonstrate key wine characteristics.
And no, we’re not going to tell you which wine is which – part of the fun is that this is a blind tasting. If you buy a Kit and complete your Taste Selector you will get an email listing each wine straight afterward.
Q: How many people can use one Kit for a tasting?
A: Really, there’s only enough wine in the Kit for one person to complete the Taste Lab Test – you’ll be directed to taste each wine several times in different combinations to compare and contrast.
That said, if you and a friend are especially dainty drinkers, you might be able to eek out two people on one Kit (but take very small sips, please!).
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The wines come packaged in two swish black presentation boxes (the Kit makes a lovely gift). Read more here.
Q: How long will the tasting take?
A: Most of our early Taste Lab experimenters are clocking in between 90 minutes and two hours – remember, each Kit contains 500ml of wine, or the equivalent of two-thirds of a bottle, so you won’t be able to rush through too quickly.
Just putting our grown-up hat on again, we do we think it’s worth considering splitting the tasting over two nights – whites the first night, and reds the second – to give your palate time to rest and refresh.
Q: OK, I’m sold, am I’m going to make a night of it. What food pairings do your recommend for each wine?
A: Whilst we’re thrilled you’re so committed to the Taste Lab cause, we have to be really boring and parental here and say that anything with too strong a flavour is going to interfere with your palate, and affect how you perceive the wines.
If you must eat, stick to plain nibblies like plain salted crisps and nuts. And book a table somewhere fabulous for afterwards.
Q: You know, this sounds like it might be quite a fun thing to do as part of a big group…
A: It really is – we tested the Taste Lab concept with two separate events at London Wine Week 2015, and they were a rip-roaring success (see some photos below). You can, of course, organise a DIY tasting with a group of friends and several Taste Lab Kits, but we’re also offering Taste Lab as a home or corporate tasting experience, when one of our wine experts will come and lead your group through the tasting. If you're interested in finding out more, please contact our events team.