Guest Tasters at W&S - Wine & Spirits Magazine

Guest Tasters at W&S

Guest Taster: Chris Struck

Chris Struck. photo by Aliza Eliazarov. Chris Struck. photo by Aliza Eliazarov.
Late of Racines, currently at White Street, native of Florida, Chris Struck helped us evaluate more than 2,600 wines for our June issue. He was with us through the mind-blowing, the good, the bad and the ugly, vetting wines from Argentina, Chile, Eastern Europe, Languedoc-Roussillon, New Zealand, Ribera del Duero, South Africa and Southern Italy.

Here’s Struck’s take on the tasting process:

Favorite music for tastings

I hate tasting to music. I much prefer no music at all.

Favorite tasting attire
Wine-color pants.

Favorite drink after a tasting day

A cocktail, preferably a Gimlet.

Tasting with the W&S Critics

I’ve always been in awe about what a tour de force the W&S tasting process is, As far as I know, it is unlike any other in wine publishing. I think it’s incredibly fair to winemakers and beneficial to consumers. I enjoy the playful editorial banter among W&S critics and the panel members, which is crucial to determining the collective opinion of the wine. I think of it as somewhere between American Idol and the Supreme Court.

Biggest tasting challenge

Palate fatigue with monochromatic wines.

Guest Taster: Sarah Sutel Looper

Sarah Sutel Looper Sarah Sutel Looper
Our August issue considers sparkling wines from all over the world (outside of Champagne) as well as rosé, and wines from Provence, Greece, Lebanon, Ontario, the Veneto and surrounding Italian regions, and Galician and Portuguese whites. We ran through more than 3,000 of them in total. For this issue we invited Sarah Sutel Looper as our guest taster. Looper recently ran the wine program at Mas (farmhouse) and now works for SevenFifty.

Here’s Looper on panel tastings at W&S:

Favorite music for tastings

Unless it’s really bad music, I don’t notice it and it just becomes background noise for me. I’m much more interested in the chatter at the table.

Favorite drink after a tasting day
First, lots of water! Then some sort of Gueuze or sour beer.

Favorite lunch spot on a tasting day
Lupulo—great beer list.

Gateway wine
Renardat-Fâche Cerdon de Bugey. It’s pink, bubbly, squeaky tart and off-dry. What’s not to love?

On W&S Tasting Protocol
I admire that we can’t see the price of the wine except where it’s a value [$15 SRP or less]. Price really does change one’s perspective. The discoveries that have made the deepest impression on me are the wines I “should” like, but don’t.

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