Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wine 101

The other night I did something I've been wanting to do for a long time: I took a wine class! I learned a lot about the things you'd expect to hear about (acidity, tannins, etc.), but I think the biggest takeaway, for me at least, was learning how to detect different flavors in wines. Did you know that wines are made up of chemical compounds that actually match up to organic matter? So while there isn't actually any lychee or smoke or pepper or any of that other stuff in your wine, the chemical compounds mimick those flavors, so its pretty close. Definitely more scientific than I ever thought.

We got to try ten different wines (4 whites, 6 reds), and a cheese was paired for every two wines. These cheeses were stinky and flavorful and my mouth is watering just looking at this really bad iphone pic.

From the top going clockwise:

1) Vermont goat cheese, pared with 2 different kinds of Sauvignon Blanc. Very goaty, very good!
2) Sheep's milk from Spain, paired with 2 aromatic whites. Too gritty on the tongue for me.
3) Cow's milk cheese from the Netherlands, aged 4 years. This one was my favorite, slightly carmelized, sort of like cheddar. Paired with a Pinot Noir and Domaine de Montrieux.
4) Raw cow's milk from New York, paired with a Merlot and part Merlot, part Cabernet Sav. Savory, matched the oak-y Charles Smith Merlot. Yeah, oak, which is supposed to taste like "smokey, toasty caramel." Another thing I would have never known otherwise.
5)Sheep's milk from Spain with a quince paste, which is sort of like an apple jam. I kept really good notes on all the other cheeses but by the time I got to this one I was ten wines in and just wrote "YUM." Paired with a Shiraz and another red. I was skeptical, but the quince paste actually worked really well in the wine-cheese equation and had a great texture -- more solid than the jelly I was expecting.

What a great class. Learned a lot and got to meet some wonderful people as well. Can't wait to go back and try their more advanced classes (especially their 16 Wines, 18 Cheeses one).

NYC Wine Class

1 comment:

Nicole said...

I didn't like the stinky cheese, but the wine was divine!

Also, your posts make me hungry! Write more :)