About

We’re back from our 2010 summer break with a new format!
We are going to size down the panel to include Jens Strecker (Owner, Portalis Wines & Tasting Circle Founder), usually accompanied by Gina Gregory (Portalis Wines Manager, Sommelier & Owner, Premier Vineyard Tours), plus 1-2 other local wine professionals joining them each month to review & discuss the given lineup.  We’ll supply the wine notes & scores as before. In addition (& this is the fun part) we’ll post a video clip of the “unveiling” of the lineup favorites.  So follow your favorite local wine celebs as they pull off the brown bag & find out what they picked!

The Tasting Circle was founded in 2008 with the purpose of providing Seattle wine buyers helpful, educational buying information about wines in their marketplace.

“American wine buyers love rankings, but the ranking only help if the wines are available,” says Portalis Wines owner and The Tasting Circle co-founder, Jens Strecker.  The problem, he explains, is that when a wine gets ranked is when people start looking for it.  Unfortunately, he often has to tell them that he had the wine some time ago, but the vintage is currently sold out. 

Recently he and his wife, Julie Howe, who founded Portalis Wines with him in 2003, got an idea.  Let’s get a group of local wine professionals together on a monthly basis, give them a theme (varietals, regions, price points, etc.) and then blind taste and rank the lineup, providing attributes, tasting notes, and food pairing suggestions.  There is only one requirement … all wines must currently be available in the Seattle marketplace. 

Thus, The Tasting Circle was founded, with the goal of providing Seattle wine buyers helpful, educational buying information about wines in their marketplace.  The Tasting Circle is made up of Founding Members:  Jens Strecker, Portalis Wines Owner & Wine Manager and Gina Gregory, Sommelier & Manager, Portalis Wines; Regular Members:  local wine professionals who commit to a 6- or 12-month seat (see Tasters); and Guest Tasters:  local wine professionals and knowledgeable wine drinkers may also join a particular tasting by invitation.

 
The tastings are held the first Tuesday of each month from 5-6pm in the Portalis Back Room.  The tastings have a theme (e.g. price points, regions, winemakers, etc.) which will be known in advance.  The tasters will taste approximately 10 wines blind and will use a 100 point scale (based on the scale used by the Wine Advocate) to evaluate the wines.  The results will be published on the Tasting Circle Blog and promoted via a press release with wines, tasting notes, rankings and participating tasters noted.

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