Wane Tasting Course. You know, $75.00 is expensive - yes, BUT I had a great time. There were 9 of us at two stone top bars. We had the fun bar, a French Canadian man, me, a SoHo hipster with a shag haircut and horn rimmed glasses, a shaved head Brit, and a buttoned down married couple, he in the requisite Brooks Brothers suit, and she was a fun blonde. All of us had paid our money because we like wine and wanted to know more about it.
To start, the wineshop on Broadway between 70th and 71st bears the motto "Wine Made Simple". There are no pretensions, no dinner jackets, no Niles Crane types waffling on and on about appellations and vintage. It was a straightforward tasting of nine wines, starting light and white and ending with a rich dessert wine. You get two Riedel multipurpose wineglasses (to keep), a big plate of cheese and crackers to munch on as you work your way through the wines, and a powerpoint presentation with commentary about the basics of wine taste:
Color and Clarity; Aroma & Bouquet; Body; Taste Components & Flavor Concentration.
And the group participation of the class was smelling essential oils and identifying them. That is when our Bar started having fun, we sniffed, and guessed, then sniffed again, and then passed the bottle to the next person. It really broke the ice. We joked around, debated smells and had fun.
Then we sipped our way through the wines. I was cuffed at the end of the evening to find out that my favorite for the whole night was also the cheapest bottle! $12.99 Graff Riesling. I bought a bottle, and my next review will be of the Graff. Will this make my reviews any better - well, I hope so.
Carol, our teacher, also turned me on to a new in bottle aerator to try in place of the Vinturi, the Soiree. I bought one and I will test it head to head against the Vinturi on my next bottle of red. Both Carol & I agreed that decanting makes a HUGE difference, so I will stick to my guns and say that an aerator can make your cheap Trader Joe's bottle of red wine much much better!
I was chatting with the sales clerk as she was ringing up my purchases, and she was talking about cooking - well, with a few glasses of wine in me, some great cheese and good company... I was all about talking food. She was talking about reading magazines to get ideas, and well, my advice was cook what you love and then expand on it. Find flavors that make you smile, develop a signature meal, serve it to people you love, and grow from that satisfaction. Food and wine always taste so much better when you are sharing it with people you like.
I'll try to incorporate some of what I learned in my future reviews. It wouldn't be fair for me to transcribe the whole class.