Thursday, August 25, 2011

Make Me Laugh, Tout Suite

The esteemed tasting panel at Thursday's Tasting In The Dark.
Photo by Ashley Teplin.
Why are unexpected pleasures always the most delightful?

I was invited to visit the Tout Suite Social Club headquarters in St. Helena Thursday night to watch them film a blind pinot noir tasting and a tequila/taco segment with Jesus Padilla of Los Osuna Agave Azul spirits. Not having done my homework, I learned moments before the filming started that Tout Suite streams live broadcasts about interesting food and beverages out to its "social club" of followers every week, with two-way video that allows members to "call in" and interact with the live guests as part of the show.  The goal is to get incredible products and producers into your living room, no matter where you live.  Tout Suite launched on Bastille Day this year, and is presently in a kind of soft opening beta status while they work out the kinks and build up their online content.

Tout Suite's tasting commentators dissecting every
swirl, sniff, and eyebrow lift.
Photo by Ashley Teplin.
The shows have sassy names like "Tasting In The Dark" (their blind tasting competition), and "Meet Your Maker" (featuring producers of artisanal products), and an irreverent tone to match.  The blind pinot tasting, for example, involved a panel of four serious wine lovers -- a winemaker, a wine collector, a somm, and a blogger -- tasting their way through six masked bottles of pinot noir, while out of sight commentators offer helpful background and narrate the blow by blow with hushed tones and golf-like intensity.  Like real television commentators, they take enormous liberties speculating on the thought process behind every visible move, however minute or meaningless.  

A random sampling to give you a sense:

He's really getting that wine all the way back into his mouth....
Did that come out of his nose there?
She's like a sweet rose between two thorns.
Look at that spit! What an impressive spiral motion.

As someone who loathes golf (and particularly televised golf), I found this completely awesome.  Fortunately the shows are available to view after the initial live broadcast on the Video Vault portion of the Tout Suite website.  Check it out! It's free to join the club.


  1. It was a pleasure to meet (re-meet?) you last night. Love your writing style and the joyful way you seem to view life.

  2. The pleasure was mine, Brooke! So nice to see you in person, and have you representing on the tasting panel. Thanks so much for the kind words.
    See you around,

  3. Salut Deidre, merci very much for the nice article...We are glad that the concept brought you a smile.. We will have more coming...