Back in January, I decided a good way to become more proficient, accurate, and/or experienced in recognizing wine varietal monikers- flavor profiles/ aromatic notes/color intensity as it pertains to age, grape, climate… was to begin a study group. I invited a few women who, like myself, are into wine, are studying wine, and/or work in the wine world. We are all at various stages in our journeys, but the passion for knowledge brings us together a couple of times a month. My “Wine Wednesday Women into Wine Study Group” was born!
Our first study session was held on January 27th. We toasted our “kick-off” with a Spanish Cava-Hoya de Cadenas. Next we defined our goals and objectives: one varietal- Cabernet Sauvignon was what I chose for the first meeting- do blind tastings, use the Court of Master Sommelier tasting grid, spit and dump to retain a decorum of professionalism, and have small food pairings- cheese, fruit, etc to increase our understanding on how food and wine can elevate/throw off one another. It was an interesting evening! We ended up with 3 very different Cabernets, the best coming from Virginia!
The month of February proved more challenging. We were scheduled to meet once on the 10th, and then as a group, attend the Wines of Provence trade show on the 22nd. I unfortunately spent the 10th in the hospital with my daughter. No worries, we had also decided early on that life would interfere at times and we would be flexible. The trade show was wonderful! We spent the day reveling in the delicious wines of Provence- mostly roses, but also a few whites and reds. I then headed off to California for my Boisset retreat. February was a short, short month.
March had us delving into Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. We began with Zinfandel…with some lovely dark chocolate for our pairings…yum! This was the night we decided to forgo the “blind” tasting format. We had all selected a Zinfandel from California, Sonoma area. New goal- select wines from around the world to truly demonstrate how climate, region, and terroir change the grape’s profile. Next “Wine Wednesday” was held on March 30th. Pinot Noir was our varietal for the evening…but once again, we had a few bumps in the road. A couple members were unable to be there, but Leigh and I pressed on. This was actually a very good tasting lesson in that one of the bottles was tainted! We went through the 7 major faults that can occur in wine and decided which fault was causing the California Pinot Noir to taste so off! I should mention that the color- dark and cloudy and the opaqueness were the first clues that we had indeed a bad bottle! Our Pinot Noir from Bourgogne however was quite tasty!
“Thank you” to Wine Folly for the great info sheets and graphics!
We have delved into Sauvignon Blanc – a Sancerre from the Loire Valley in France and one from New Zealand- and Viognier- French, Californian, and South Australian. The changes we have perceived with our food pairings has been remarkable. Some wines we preferred alone, some were quite improved with the food pairing, and a few we intentionally tried with something that didn’t pair so well, gave us a glimpse as to the importance of balancing the wines and foods. Our busy lives have made our upcoming schedule a bit hectic, but we are determined to press on and continue our journey. Next up, Merlot!