Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wine Tasting Class #6 and #7

Class number 6 was our mid-term exam. There was both a written portion and a tasting portion. Assuming I wouldn't do to well on the tasting portion (yes, confidence issues, I'm working on that), I studied my butt off for the written part, in the hopes that I could make up for the loss of points in the tasting. Well, I got the results back on the tasting and I'm thrilled to say I made 93%! I couldn't believe it. In fact, the entire class did phenomenal.

Which brings us now to class 7, where Paul decided to step it up a notch, given how well we had done. Probably one of the craziest tastings we've ever done, with grapes I've never even heard of – FUN!

Before I go into the tasting portion of the class, I thought I'd touch on one of the chats we had. One of the students said her husband doesn't drink wine, but she'd really like it if he did. How can you convert someone to be a wine lover? Paul had some fantastic ideas:

- Start them off with a sweeter wine, like a Riesling
- For red go lighter, like a Beaujolais and put it in the fridge ahead of time
- Biggest thing, pair it with the right food

Pairing the wine with the person's favourite dish is a very good start.

Another area you could venture down is with apple cider (good intro to white wine), or flavoured beers, infused with strawberry or cherry. On one of Paul's talks on the radio, he had the guys try some flavoured beer, which they did not like. Then he got them to drink it with some hot wings, and they LOVED it. Pairing drinks with the right food is magical, and creates some pretty awesome memories of the meal. It just seems to complete the entire experience.

Wine Tasting
1. Serra de Estrela Al Barinho 2008 CSPC 167999 $17.95
This wine would be compared to a mix of Reisling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Sight: Medium yellow
Aromas: Lime, mineral, green apple, grass, pear
Weight: Light to medium
Acid: Light to medium
Taste: Citrus, mineral, pear, apple
Finish: Short to medium
Suggested Food Pairing: Refreshing, clean style wine, great with seafood, antipasto (if you're primarily a white wine drinker).
Thoughts: Great summer wine for sipping. Would buy for sure.

2. Muscat Alsace (Allimante Laugner) 2008 CSPC 930362 $17.95
Sight: Pale yellow
Aromas: Tangerine, apricot, lavender, ginger, floral, honey, honeydew melon, candied pear
Weight: Light to medium
Acid: Light to medium
Taste: Citrus, honey, pear, grapefruit, a bit vegetal
Finish: Short to medium
Suggested Food Pairing:
Spicy food and creamier cheeses
Thoughts: Very different but really nice. It's kind of like a mix between Gewurztraminer and Riesling. Would be a great substitute if you find Gewurztraminers too overpowering.

3. Vouvray Demi Sec (Domaine Sylvain) 2006 CSPC 171462 $15.95
Vouvray: appelation in Loire Valley, France. 100% Chenin Blanc.
Sight: Pale to medium yellow
Aromas: Wet wool, wet dog, flint, sulfur, musty, mineral, citrus
Weight: Light to medium
Acid: Light to medium with some residual sugar
Taste: Tastes way different than what it smells like. Peach, melon, crème brulée, citrus, honey, slight spice, asian spice undertone
Finish: Short to medium
Thoughts: Also a really nice wine, smooth. Different but good. The difference in the smell vs the taste is pretty crazy. Kind of like eating a stinky cheese - it's just awesome.

4. St Chinian Grange de Combe 2007 CSPC 155804 $16.95
Blend of Syrah (spice, smoke), Mourvèdre (plum, dark chocolate), Grenache (earthy, blackberry spices)
Sight: Dark red with a brick hue
Aromas: Dark cherry, spice, truffles, raspberry, dark chocolate, smoke, cedar, pepper, herbs
Weight: Medium
Tannin: Medium
Taste: Raspberry, spice, plum, dark chocolate, sour cherry, black pepper, ripe strawberries, smoke, espresso, dark coffee bean
Finish: Medium
Suggested Food Pairing: Rack of lamb marinated in port overnight and then rubbed in pepper.
Thoughts: Really nice wine – I loved it! Has only been fermented in stainless steel, which is really surprising.

5. Zenato Ripassa 2007 CSPC 479766 $24.95
Blend of Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara
Sight: Dark red with brick and purple hue
Aromas: Menthol, chocolate cherries, leather, black licorice, tobacco, dark cherry, dried raisin
Weight: Medium to full
Tannin: Medium
Taste: Raisin, black cherry, plum jam, pomegranate, dried fruit, chokecherry jam, bit of smokiness, leather, black licorice
Finish: Medium
Suggested Food Pairing: Older cheese, steak, game meats, stew – slow cooked with meat, lasagna and other traditional Italian dishes
Thoughts: Delicious, would definitely buy this wine.

6. Custodian Grenache d'Arenburg 2007 CSPC 713040 $19.95
Sight: Medium red with brick hue
Aromas: Red fruit, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, spicy, vanilla, earthy, plum
Weight: Medium to full
Tannin: Light to medium, but a lot of acidity though
Taste: Red fruit, vanilla, overabundance of red, jamy fruit, eucalyptus
Finish: Medium to long
Suggested Food Pairing: Rabbit, veal, pasta with rosetta sauce
Thoughts: Good, however I probably wouldn't buy this one. I'd go for the other two reds first. It's a bit too acidic for my liking. Australian wines are known for high acidity.

While tasting the reds, my teacher touched on a subject near and dear to my heart, Amarone! They take the Valpolicella grapes and either hang them or lay them flat on mats to dry for 6 months, turning them raisin-like. Then they are pressed (resulting in a much stronger juice).

A Ripasso is made putting the skins from the grapes used in the Amarone, into already fermented Valpolicella, that's where the second fermentation starts. And if that's not enough, they then use the skins, seeds and stems to make grappa. Crazy!


Holly Bruns said...

Congratulations Rachelle! 93 percent - you are a real wino.

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