(Here ought to go a pile of apologies for forgetting how to blog. Let's call that done, and get to the good stuff.)
Way back in February, my adopted group Glynn Rhe, threw an event called Wine List. The "List" part had to do with a tournament, in which all participants put a bottle of wine on a blanket, and then everybody fought everybody else, and the winners* got to take home the wine, and some prizes, besides.
*There were teams involved. I really only understand about that much, and that the Viking was on the winning team, and that's why we had a pile of wine to take home. I was busy with the next bit.
The "Wine" part of Wine List not only has to do with the prizes for the "List" part, it is also the theme of the non-fighting part of the event.
I love a theme, therefore I appreciated wine. First, I learned how.
The fabulous Martabon (Mistress? Not sure. Didn't I say there was wine?) traveled in to help our own Mistress Odindisa show us how to talk about the wine we were appreciating. They gave us a chart, which was a particularly good idea, because now I can read what I thought about it three months later.
We graded wines on the following aspects (I quote from the chart, and editorialize in italics):
Appearance/Aroma/Flavor: Is the color pleasant or does it seem too thin? Are there distinctive aromas you can identify? Is it dry or sweet? Full-bodied or light? Does the flavor seem consistent with the aroma?
Overall impression: After the aftertaste has faded, what do you think of the beverage overall? Is it pleasant and applealing? Simple or complex? Are all the components in balance? Does it make you want another sip? (My favorite criteria.)
Drinkability: Is this good enough for you to drink an entire bottle by yourself? (Don't you like how the standards seem to be increasing?) Maybe you'd take a few sips and give the rest to your spouse? If served this beverage in a restaurant would you have to gulp it down so you could order another glass of something else? (Ick.) Would you serve this to good friends?
We drank/tested a fair few:
Barefoot CA Riesling, CAVA Brut, Fetzer Gewurtztraminer (by FAR the favorite at the event), a homemade blueberry, Morgan Creek blueberry, Beaujolais Louis Jadot, Frunza Merlot, Barefoot Shiraz, Barefoot Chardonnay, and Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon.
We also used 5 steps in our appreciating:
- See - clarity and color.
- Swirl - look for "legs", the drips back down the glass vary in viscosity, and "strong legs" is called a more full-bodied wine
- Smell - here we tried to assign metaphors like "floral" or "fruity" (other than grape)
- Sip - My notes say here, "ketchup: Shiraz, mustard:Merlot, Pinot Noir/spicy". There were TEN samples, y'all.
- Savor - What's the aftertaste? Disa and Martabon had these lovely "wheels of flavor" which were very helpful to pin down a flavor, or just jog one's vocabulary.
Since I'd had so much fun appreciating wine, and Martabon's husband Sir Gwydion seemed lonely at the Beer Appreciation table (the fighting was just winding up), the class headed over there. Fortunately it was close by.
Warning: I am learning to be downright snobbish on both beers and wines. And now I have picked up some knowledge to reinforce my uppity opinions. Did you know that hops, those awful sour things, were only added to probably perfectly good beer as a preservative to keep the beer good on the way to India? Which occurred AFTER 1600? So there, I now feel I never have to drink a hoppy beer again.
Here are the ones I really liked.
I also like the taste of malted barley, which could just be sprinkled on the top of baked goods, to my mind. And the explanation of the yeast eating up the sugars in the fermented barley, peeing alcohol, and then dying in its own pee, is never going to leave my mind.
After so much alcohol appreciation, we waited around for dinner, and the Viking appreciated cabbage, by frying it with bacon, and we all sat around and appreciated more wine, and the smell of dinner cooking.
There. A proper blog post. I have a couple more brewing (ha!) and am headed to Kingdom A&S, so maybe I'm back on the wagon again.