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Wine Tasting 101 - Drink What You Like!

This is a belated posting as I just found it in my drafts folder. Despite its tardiness, I wanted to publish it anyway
 because it was an interesting experience. I've updated it slightly.

Do you like to go wine-tasting? Maybe it’s because we live in California, but it’s our favorite way to spend kid-free time - checking out local vineyards and meeting local vintners. When friends take our boys, leaving us to our own devices, they don't even have to ask what my husband and I are doing. The question is: “which tasting room are you trying?” Okay, so, I’m a little predictable.

I love wine. But I’m the wine drinker who dreams of dishes with which to pair a wine versus the wine drinker who talks about the actual wine – as in ‘the nose’, ‘the finish’, etc. So, for a friend’s 40th birthday, I got us tickets to Wine Tasting 101, a seminar at a local wine tasting room.

One Friday evening the stars aligned, the two couples were able to sync schedules, line up people to watch kiddos, and head out to learn some stuff about the art of tasting wine.

We learned about the primary, secondary, and tertiary characteristics of wine…and from where they come – the grapes, the fermentation process, or the barrel storage.

We learned how to pick out what are faults in the wine (corkiness, mustiness, etc.) from first sniff …and that it’s okay to send a wine back for having those aromas and flavors.

We learned that the secondary aromas in the wine (notes of fruits, nuts, etc.) are all figments of our imagination…they rely on flavor memories and what are evoked. I guess I knew that; there are no real blackberries in my berry-reminiscent pinot noir.

And we learned that the legs in wine, as a result of viscosity, reveal the amount of alcohol in the wine. I had erroneously thought it was an indicator of sugar.

But I think that the most important thing I walked away with is this: drink what you like! Even if someone else waxes nostalgic about an expensive wine that you just have to try, if you don’t like, don’t sweat it. And there are no rules about which wine has to be paired with which food. If you want a glass of red with your seafood, do it. Uncork it, pour it, and love it.


  1. Sounds like a entertaining and educational evening!

  2. Amen Carmen. I discovered that long ago when we were gifted a bottle of Dom Perignon as a wedding gift....After all the hype I could not wait to open that bottle and I was soooooo disappointed when I didn't care for it.


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