Wine tastings, much like wine, are experiences that rely a lot on personal preferences. Just as an individual may be a self-avowed fan of reds or hates Chardonnay or only goes for obscure and nearly unpronounceable native Italian grapes, there are a broad range of wine tasting experiences to be had and, most likely, people who adamantly hate and people who vocally champion each and every variety.
From raucous, free-pouring events--tastings in name only--to more buttoned-up, nose sniffing, mouth swishing, pour bucket-laden affairs, it's nearly as difficult to recommend a tasting event to someone as it is to recommend a wine. There are no guarantees.
But speaking from our personal tastes and experiences, we can safely say that you should give the wine tastings at Long Beach's The Wine Crush a shot. Held weekly, Thursday through Saturday, each tasting has a theme, varying by region, grape, country or simply highlighting a single producer. The wines featured here each week, regardless of their provenance, conform to the same ethos of the shop itself, highlighting small producers--often difficult to find in stores--with a strong emphasis on California-produced wines.
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Last week's Rhone-style tasting featured one white and five red blends from California, France and, strangely enough, Spain. The 2006 La Bastide Saint Dominique, from Châteauneuf du Pape, France was a stand out--full of dark fruit, well balanced and complete with a nice hit of musky funk. Check out there selection of Italian wines at one of this weekend's tastings, or consult their tasting calendar and plan a visit based a particular region or grape being featured that fits your tastes.
The Wine Crush: 3131 E Broadway; Long Beach; (562) 438-9463