Every Tuesday, it’s a craft, a cocktail, and friends. To get in on the fun, check us out on Facebook or read all the posts at www.toocutetuesday.com. Comment, suggest crafts, or start your own TCT chapter. It’s fun!
When my friend Sue said her wine expert friend John would be in town and asked if I’d want to hold a wine tasting/lesson instead of our usual craft format, I knew I’d be crazy to say no. I also knew I’d be doing this writeup on Wednesday.
On my way to Craft Central, my car broke down on the side of the road. I called up and John and Sue’s husband Andrew came and rescued me. They popped open my hood and started talking about belts and fluids. Andrew kept going in his car and getting liquids to pour in and John told me that before becoming a wine person, he was a mechanic. That’s versatility!
After making my car safe enough to drive to my favorite garage, we left it and off we went to Too Cute Tuesday.
After this incident, John didn’t skip a beat and we all had a great experience. Here’s how you can approximate it without your own car mechanic/wine expert on hand:
6 bottles of wine, shoot for the same kind of grape and same year but different regions. We did Cabernet Sauvignon in 2008-2009 vintages from four regions of the world.
Baguette, fancy crackers, and fancy cheeses: both palate cleansers and dinner substitutes.
Ideally one wine glass per wine type per person. Ideally, the same glass size and shape. We only had three per person so we worked with it.
Container for dumping the wine (there is probably a better technical name for this and, while it is sad to throw it out, six people drinking six whole bottles of wine would not have made for a nice Wednesday morning)
Cocktail of the Night: Um… wine!
1. Line up the bottles (don’t tell people prices or specifics).
2. Pour small glass of each wine to excited TCT participants. First smell, then swirl the glass and smell again. Discuss how the smells change.
3. Take a sip and discuss how it’s different than the smell.
4. Go through different regions of the world (Chile, France, New Zealand, and the Pacific Northwest) and see how different the same grape can taste. Talk about what different people taste; it really does help you pick up on things you may not have noticed.
5. Cleanse palate in between tastings (or use it as an excuse to eat way more Brie than necessary). If you have less glasses than wines available, after the first three wine tastings, dump your least favorite. This way, you always have some wines for comparison.
6. Learn about individual wineries, cork variations (synthetic versus natural versus composite), and the kinds of bins wine can age in (oak, concrete, steel).
7. Towards the end of the evening, discuss which is most expensive. Have the person leading the tasting put the bottles in order of price.
At the end of the evening we had four different favorite wines between the six participants. This is apparently really normal.
What I found out in my first ever wine tasting ‘class’ is that there is no right or wrong way to taste something. It can be effected by the food we ate growing up, what we ate over the last few days, and even how we are feeling when we drink it.
The other part of it seems to be fun science experiment. Eliminate as many variables as possible (wine glass differences, year differences, grape differences) to just compare one variable: in our case, region of the world. Remember it doesn’t have to be expensive wine to be good. Ours ranged from $10-$25 a bottle.
Aren’t you quite the wine connoisseur now?