March 14, 2010

All About Wine

My brother and I always play a game beginning around November where we aim to out do each other on Christmas presents. The presents we buy for each other (particularly now we are working) follow a prescription of one-upmanship, competition, covert operations, psych outs, cryptic clues and intense guessing games.

It's heaps of FUN :)

The Christmas just past, my brother brought me a gift certificate to a wine tasting and matching course called All About Wine. It really is one of the very best gifts I have ever received. My brother is one of those rare men who do actually listen. He took a random comment I had made sometime during last year about how I would like to know something about matching wine with food...and he arranged for me to attend this course.

Brilliant!!!

Paula Tewksbury runs the All About Wine course and she is truly a fantastic wine educator. Her knowledge of wine and experience in the wine industry is astounding, very thorough and I believe that there is nothing she couldn't tell you, explain or answer.

Classroom

The course began at lunchtime and we kicked off the first round of tasting with a mixture of white and red wines. Each of the tastings were blind tastings, and Paula did that to remove any kind of prejudices that people may have due to past experience.

Wine glasses

An interesting exercise that Paula took us through was her demonstration of how different acids in food can effect the flavour of wine due to the fact that wine is made with grapes which contain malic acid. So for example, if you were to eat a piece of green apple that has the same amount of malic acid as grapes, it destroys the characteristic and flavour of the wine.

Wine (of course) is best married with cheese which contains lactic acid because it is a round, soft acid. As soon as you eat cheese, the wine tastes better and you are able to taste the character of the wine better as the acid in your mouth balances again.

So the same as green apple will destroy the flavour of wine so too will fresh tomato, cucumber, egg and anything citrus.

After the mixed tasting we moved through tasting whites and then into the reds. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed all kinds of wine before (particularly reds) but this course really opened my eyes to the different kinds and styles out there. Wine really is an art form.

Wine glasses

My favourite of all wine styles has always been and still is Shiraz. A good Shiraz is like a story and on your first sip, the story begins to unfold. It is connected to the Earth and speaks of life in a way that I just thoroughly enjoy. I know that little sentence there sounds a bit far fetched...but it's the best way I can describe how much I enjoy it and why. Coming in a close second of course is Merlot.

Canape

After all of the tastings and playing a fantastic wine guessing game, we moved into having canapes and matching them with wine.

Then the fleet of wines was on show to drink with dinner. Dinner was wonderful and was an alternate drop of lamb and chicken. The Mecure Hotel really did cater wonderfully for this event.

My highlight though would have to be tasting and matching the dessert wines after dinner was finished. The dessert wines were absolutely delicious and my alternate drop dessert was a citrus tart...which surprisingly matched one of the dessert wines perfectly. It sang.

I cannot recommend this course highly enough. Paula trains at all levels up to providing qualifications to people working in the hospitality industry. This course (I believe) was an entry level course, but it didn't feel entry level, I had an absolute ball.

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