In the spirit of getting started, I decided to create my first post around Vinotempo‘s class Intro To Wine. I took this class just recently as a work assignment. Tough job, I know.
Now, although I do know the difference between a Pinot Grigio and a Pinot Noir, I’m by no means a wine expert. This class was great for basics, but also had some pretty decent info, and our sommelier instructor was great.
I took notes.
And studied hard during class.
Nifty things I learned:
1. Corks are expensive as heck! They can cost up to $1-2 bucks each. Who knew? Also, our sommelier was of the anti-screwcap persusasion, and went off on how much they suck and are essentially blasphemy. Don’t even get him started on those weird plastic corks you find sometimes. Personally I’ve had some pretty nice screwcap wines, but in general I do believe that corks are better at prolonging the shelf life of your wine, and are also more eco-friendly than screwcaps. Corks are made from the outer shell (similar to bark) of the cork tree, not the actual tree itself. After having its outer layer removed, the tree will regenerate another one, making wine corks completely sustainable. You can recycle them as well–Whole Foods usually takes used corks.
2. Sometimes taste and bouquet can be difficult to define exactly. Try thinking of a memory they remind you of rather than the individual notes. For instance, we tried a rather unique red blend in class that immediately reminded me of Christmas. Once I had that in mind, I thought of all the smells and tastes I usually associate with Christmas, and voila! Notes of pine, cranberry, and candied pecan (broken down further into brown sugar/nut/caramel).
3. Don’t drink all of one taste at once trying to figure it out. You’ll probably go back and revisit it later in the class and then look like a idiot with your empty glass while everyone else is happily jotting down their second round of notes. Oops.
I can’t remember the last class I took that was anywhere near as fun as this. I didn’t think it was possible to be more excited about the sommelier program, but this ratcheted it up even further! Plus our instructor complimented me on my palate (yay, there is hope for me!) If there’s anything like this near you, I highly recommend enrolling–and bring a friend with you. That way if you do drink all of your tastes in the first round you have someone to copy off of.