Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wine Tasting 101

So I have worked in restaurants for awhile now and Erin and I celebrated her 22nd birthday with a wine tour of the Long Island Region (yes they have wineries!), so we like to say we know a thing or two about wines...but there is ALWAYS more to learn. Sometimes learning about wines can feel a bit overwhelming because there are so many different kinds of grapes and regions and years and colors...AHHHHH. But i will just keep sipping one kind at a time :).

Erin's cousin, who is currently writing a book about wines!, gave me some great advice about learning. He told me that the thing to do is read about a wine while you sample it. So say you love Chardonnays...pick up a book about them and some different bottles and then taste and read, taste and read. Just make sure you stop reading after a few tastings haha!

As previous mentioned our friend Molly had spent her honeymoon in Napa and she was more than willing to tell us all she learned. We had planned a girls weekend so while we were out and about we picked up a few bottles of wine to sample. In total we had: a chardonnay, a Pinot Noir, a Temparillno, a sparkling white chardonnay, Lambrusco and a Chianti!! HOLY MOLY.

So the first thing we learned is you should taste it twice. Once right out of the bottle and the 2nd time after swirling it around in the glass to let it "breath". We tried the Tempranillo/Cab mix. I had tried this type of wine before at a Spanish tapas bar that erin and I loved so we picked one up. Everyone loved it! There was a HUGE difference between our first and 2nd taste. Molly and Nick also bought a cool device called a "Rabbit" that you can pour wine through to help it breath right away. Alot of times people will decant wine for this exact reason.Lesson two was that you never rinse your wine glass with water after a taste as this will dilute the flavor of the next wine! We moved onto the sparkling white after this one. The wine was a sparkling from Barefoot. It was tasty. I am also a huge fan of Yellowtail Sparkling! Both of these wineries are really affordable yet good quality (at least coming from my young palate).

The next wine was the Chianti. We were all a bit confused on whether Chianti was a grape or we looked it up in Molly's Wine Bible!! I, like most, associate Chianti with cheap Italian restaurants, not that I have a problem with that. We all like this one as well. (okay something to note...we liked pretty much everything we tried haha).
Our final wine tasting of the night was Lambrusco. I had recommended this to Molly because she mentioned how much she loved sparkling wine and red wine...and well Lambrusco is both! My parents introduced me to this one and since I also love red and sparkling wines I thought I would pass along the wine. Now, i must not have had this for awhile because this was alot sweeter than I had remembered. I may also have had a different variety of this grape. Molly said she didn't mind it but I passed my glass for a nice tall glass of WATER....boy was I all wined out.

Erin and I have been wanting to take a trip to Wine Country for awhile now. I think this was just the weekend we needed to kick off the planning. Now that we are pros and everything....haha.

Let me know if you have any suggestions about travelling to wine country!