Posts Filed Under wine tasting
I’m guessing that most of you out there have probably been to a wine tasting room in a winery before, and went there to sample that winery’s wines.
Which means that the same number of you have probably encountered at least one severely drunken patron acting in a totally obnoxious way.
Which also means that the same number of you understand the phrase “suppressed the urge to do bodily harm.”
Now, I am fully aware that wine tasting room etiquette is not a novel topic, and has been covered before by several sources, including wineries themselves. Most of these sources talk about how to prepare yourself for a tasting room visit (no perfume, chewing gum, etc.) and how to taste the wine while you’re there (swirl, sniff, sip, savor, etc.).
They don’t tend to touch on what I’m about to lay down about wine tasting room etiquette, however.
Knowing me, it will come off as a bit of a rant, but it’s not meant to be a rant (and it’s not directed at you, dear reader – it’s directed at the small minority of wine tasting room visitors who just still don’t seem to “get it”).
And it’s a simple plea, really…
If you plan to get totally hammered on wine, and you happen to also be an obnoxious drunk, please don’t go to a winery tasting room.
By providing a tasting room, a winery is primarily trying to teach you about – and to sell you – their wine. They are not providing a place for you to drink yourself stupid, get loud, and ignore the winery staff. There are places where you can do that (within reason) – they’re called bars.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t plan to have a great time when visiting a winery tasting room, and I’m not even saying that you should stay sober when you visit a winery tasting room (assuming you have arranged transportation, of course).
I’m just saying that you need to stay sober enough – enough to retain adequate coherence so that you can take advantage of the winery staff’s knowledge, ask them questions and engage them in conversation about their wines, and remain civil and reasonably polite to your fellow patrons.
I am saying that if you plan to get smashed and act in any way that you want when you hop on a winery tasting tour or visit a winery tasting room, then you need to stay home instead – because you’re not respecting the wine, the winery, or the the winery’s patrons.
And I don’t think that’s asking for too much.
Thus endeth Dude’s diatribe.
(images: rockstarsmommy.blogspot.com, pleasanthillwinemerchants.com, woodbridgeliving.com)
This week, I had the pleasure of attending (yet another) amazing wine pairing dinner at the fabulous Teikoku restaurant in Newtown Sqaure, PA. I know that you’re already sick of hearing about how much I love Teikoku, so I will mention only this:
If you ever find yourself there and you notice “Pan roasted tilefish with Chestnut risotto and tempura style matsutake mushrooms” on the menu, immediately close the menu and order this dish with a bottle of Chardonnay. Immediately. You will thank me later.
The wine pairing theme of the evening was A Tour of California, and we couldn’t have had much of a better guide than wine educator Michael Walsh of Majestic Wine & Spirits. Michael had total recall of his CA geography; in fact, his level of knowledge was downright scary without being too pedantic or at all intimidating.
This got me thinking about the difference between a wine geek (who loves wine passionately and wants to share that passion with others) and a wine bore (who gets off on intimidating others with his/her wine smarties). For more detail on what makes a wine bore, check out Michael Broadbent’s excellent treatise on the subject…
Anyway, what struck me was how Michael Walsh casually used his impressive wine smarties to enhance our table’s enjoyment of the event, and not to try to overpower it. Case in point: during the event, I was chatting with fellow press guest Mary of WC Dish about a tasting of some excellent German QbA wines (more on those in a future post) that I’m currently working my way through. Michael noticed the confused look on the faces of my table mates, and chimed in (with perfect timing I might add) to clear up the confusion and quickly explain the QbA concept and pronunciation (Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiet or “quality wine from a specified region”).
I was impressed – rather than recite the entire WSET Advanced Certificate study material on the subject, he offered the perfect amount of wine info., at the perfect time, without being stuffy or overbearing. It was a style that I consider the hallmark of what constitutes the best in a wine geek!
As for the wines – here are my reviews of Michael’s picks:
06 Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc (Monterey): Cooler climate grapes for CA. Grapefruit & lemon grass, but the minerality still eludes hot CA.
05 Forestville Reserve Chardonnay (Russian River Valley): Butter & oak, but somehow acidity, creaminess, & caramel save it from oak disaster
06 Esser Vineyards Pinot Noir (South Central Cost, CA): So much cherry, you might mistake it for Gamay. Spice on the nose makes it a winner.
04 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa): Cassis, currants, leather straps & – bam! – olives! A tiny bit overextracted, but who cares!
NV Merryvale Antigua (Medera, CA): Late harvest fortified Muscato. All toffee with an almost glycerin punch. Tasty, but clear your schedule.
And before I go, let me alert you to yet another fine food & wine pairing event happening at Teikoku on October 23, 2008!
Join Matthew Esser, wine educator and cellar consultant from Shiffrin Selections for an evening of Autumn wines along with Innovative food pairings from Chef Takao Iinuma to complement them
$35 Per person, reservations required.
Space is limited, RSVP now
For information and RSVP
Contact Christine Olmsted, Teikoku Restaurant Events Coordinator
@ 610-644-8270 or [email protected]
Cheers! (images: winecompliments.com)
It’s that time of month again… time to hip you Philly-area peeps onto some excellent wine-related events coming up this month!
First up are two wine & food pairing events in West Chester, PA. I will be trying to get my butt to these events – hope to see YOU there!
Tuesday, September 16
at Doc Magrogan’s in West Chester, PA
from 6-8pm, $35
- Tuna Thai Chili Glaze with Seaweed Salad and Wasabi Sauce with Banyan Gewurztraminer
- Smoked Salmon Quesadilla with Goats Cheese with Piko Sauvignon Blanc
- Blackened Seafood Cannelloni with Tomato Salsa with Evohe Garnacha
- Roast Pork with Port Wine Sauce and Toast with Hobo Cabernet Sauvignon
Space is limited, reserve now! Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House (West Chester PA), Ph: 610 429 4046, www.docmagrogans.com
Thursday, September 25
at Blush in Bryn Mawr, PA
from 6-8pm, $45
The food menu is being created but the following wines will be poured:
- Banyan Gewurztraminer
- Optima Chardonnay
- Evohe Garnacha
- Folk Machine – The Long Drive (Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Valdigue, Madera Syrah)
Plus, Blush is offering: 10% off any purchase graciously extended to any guest wishing to dine with us or relax at the bar after the event. Space is limited, reserve now! Blush, 24 North Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, Phone: 610-527-7700, www.dineatblush.com
Also happening this month: the next twitter taste live event, at 7PM on September 18th (click through for my take on the TTL events)! I will be joining the hosts, BinEndsWine.com, LIVE (along with some other east coast wine bloggers) at Wine 2.0 in NYC for the event. Head on over to the recently new-&-improved twittertastelive.com for the skinny. Check it!
(images: thcphotography.com, dineatblush.com)
What’s it like to “taste” wine live, online?
The concept sounds totally geeky, but it turns out that it kicks all kinds of ass.
For a few months running (since its inaugural run), I’ve been taking part in the Twitter Tasting Live event hosted by BinEndsWine.com. In summary:
- You buy a sample pack from BinEndsWine.com, they ship said wine to you
- You sign up at twittertastelive.com
- On the 3rd Thursday of that month, you log into twitter.com and taste live along with participating wine bloggers & wine lovers from all over the world, and the BinEndsWine.com staff, usually joined by a winemaker associated with that month’s sample pack of wines.
The kick-ass portion of this is not just live access to the winemaker (you can easily imagine the amount of cool info. you can get out of them by asking them questions live about the wine you are drinking at that moment).
The real kick-ass portion is that it takes the social connection that wine gives us when we drink it together, and extends it instantly across cultural and geographical boundaries.
For a wine geek like me, it’s a blast to see the jokes, comments, tasting notes, and questions coming from different personalities (some on different continents) tasting the same wine that I am having at the exact same time. We don’t always agree, but the wine does help us connect – amicably. Couple that with what I’m doing locally (hosting a wine tasting dinner party centering around the same wines), and I’m in 7th wine heaven.
Now, here’s what’s up for the next Live twitter tasting happening on Sept. 18…
I will be joining the BinEndsWine.com staff LIVE at Wine 2.0 in NYC at 7PM ET.
I’ll be at the BEW booth, drinking their wine, blogging about the event via twitter, stealing BEW’s water, and maybe making them bring me wine crackers! Or something like that. BEW will also have staff from CA wine producer Michel-Schlumberger on tap LIVE, to answer questions about his wines (which are this month’s focus for the tasting).
The event is being co-hosted by Wannabe Wino; you can also check out BinEndsWine.com for more details.
After the dust settles on the twitter live tasting events, I usually also provide more focused reviews of some of the wines from the event on my twitter wine “mini” reviews feed (please note this is NOT the twitter feed I use during the live tastings!). Below are a my “mini” reviews for a few of the wines included in the last twitter live tasting of Hugel’s Alsace wines:
|| 06 Hugel Gentil (Alsace): A kitchen sink blend of Alsatian grapes. Citrus, flowers & stone; good, but it’s got a bit of an identity crisis.
|| 06 Hugel Gewurztraminer (Alsace): Lychee & limes, a hint of orange rind, and just really well put-together. Pair it with Indian take-out.
|| 04 Hugel Riesling Jubilee “Grand Cru” (Alsace): Peeps like me love petrol & vinyl with our rose water & citrus. Buy this if you’re like us!
|| 01 Hugel Gewurztraminer Vendage Tardive (Alsace): Viscous, loads of citrus, lychee, & autumn leaves. Holy Hannah it’s good! But not cheap.
Hope to “see” you on-line and LIVE at the next tasting – friend me up beforehand and let me know if you’re joining in.