A tastevin is:

A. An implement inserted through the bung hole of a barrel in order to draw out wine to be evaluated

B. A shallow tasting cup historically used by winemakers in wine cellars

C. A device for helping to decant a wine until its flavors are very expressive

D. A tasting kit used by Master Sommelier and Master of Wine candidates whereby small amounts of prestigious wines are rebottled to be tasted as part of the candidate’s study program


Silver, shallow-sided tastevins (tasting cups) were invented possibly as far back as the fifteenth century, for use by winemakers who were tasting wines from casks in dark cellars. The cups were more portable and less fragile than glasses would have been. More importantly, they had circular indentations in their sides that reflected candlelight across the metal base of the cup and made it possible to determine, in a dark cellar, the clarity of a wine just drawn from the barrel. Until the 2000s, many sommeliers in Europe and the U.S. hung tastevins around their necks (like necklaces).  It’s rare to see a tastevin (pronounced in French as TAS-te-van) being worn by a sommelier today.

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