Generalizing about the ways men and women are different is always a dangerous thing to do. (The president of Harvard University, for example, got into a lot of trouble for speculating on why men are more successful in science than women.) And while my husband and I don't spend much time discussing string theory, we do test one other regularly in a Guess That Wine game. As a result, I've learned as much about how we approach game playing as I have about blind-tasting wine.
Our rules are pretty straightforward: One of us will pull a bottle from the cellar and the other has to guess what it isincluding, if possible, producer and vintage. We play the game before dinner almost every night that we're home. I know several people in the wine business who do much the same thing, though some on a more impressive scale. One prominent wine educator, for example, claims she and her husband go through "a case of wine a night" in their guessing game (presumably tasting, not drinking). And while I admire their stamina, I think that by the 10th bottle or so, I'd care a lot more about eating dinner than I would about whether the Pinot Noir I was tasting came from Martinborough, Marlborough or, for that matter, Morey-St-Denis. Besides, I can't imagine piling up 84 empty bottles a week and explaining to the garbage men they were all the result of "a game that my husband and I play."
The British and Australians have a version of this game called Options. The first question, for example, might be "Bordeaux, Burgundy or Rhône?" and from the next few that follow, the guesser might deduce that the wine was a 1986 Château Kirwan from the Margaux commune of Bordeaux. Of course, this is an impractical variation if, like the wine educator, you're tasting a case of wine every night. Who has the time to ask some 60 questions, let alone the patience to listen to the replies? This version also strikes me as somewhat arcane, dating back to the 1970s when there weren't as many important wines or wine regions to know. Today, of course, there are tens of thousands and I think more than five questions would be required to come up with a 2001 Tenute Rubino Salento Torre Testa from the Italian region of Apulia.