by Michelle Kwan
Joios, as the name would suggest, celebrates the spirit of conviviality marked by fine wine, good company, and the idea that quality bottles should be accessible to all. Bringing together oenophiles of all stripes, Joios invites participants to partake in a blind tasting focusing on specific varietals or shared characteristics. With Joios’ unique “discover and uncover” approach, wines are brown-bagged and labeled so as not to reveal their identity; participants are then asked to taste pours of each and take notes according to their impression and preference. Afterwards, a tally is taken based upon tasters’ votes and notes. Finally, the wines are unveiled and background as to provenance, age, varietal, and vineyard are discussed.
At a recent New York tasting that we attended, Grenaches from several countries were sampled, including one from Spain and a particularly noteworthy smooth and fruity French variety. To kick things off, participants’ palates were primed with a crisp, undisguised French rosé. However, the tasting choices were all reds. The vineyards run the gamut of price ranges; for example, an especially pricy bottle from France’s renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape region was among those unveiled at the tasting. Bottles from venerable houses sit next to offerings from up-and-coming vineyards. The brown bag disguise over each bottle evens the playing field by eliminating any predispositions or bias on the part of the drinker. The only real determinant is the wine drinker’s particular palate. The host plays his part too, encouraging everyone to take notes on each wine based on what they smell, taste, and feel without giving anything away.
What distinguishes Joios from the conventional wine tasting is its willingness to bring together wines from various regions and backgrounds. Through its fun and informative gatherings of wine and wine lovers, Joios allows us to appreciate the importance of wine as a universal part of society, culture, and cuisine.
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