Wine Essentials: Day 3

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I easily killed a couple of hours walking around the city after class before my Wine Essentials Class. I was really excited for this class because the focus was Italilan wines. As soon as I entered the room (and grabbed a plate of assorted cheese, crackers, and grapes), I noticed there was a martini glass along with 10 wine glasses at my seat. I was really curious what they would be pouring into that martini glass. Once class began, I learned it was for our first Italian cocktail, Campari. I actually do not care for campari. My sister really likes it and ordered it a few times when we were in Italy but I just couldn't get used to the bitterness. It is definitely an acquired taste. I had a couple small sips and set it aside and waited for the wines!

We started out with 3 white wines. I was not impressed with any of them (I'm more of a red wine drinker anyway). Richard confirmed my thoughts on the white wines and told us that most Italian white wines aren't spectacular because Italians like to focus more on the reds. My favorite of the 3 was:
Orvieto Classico, 'Poggio Calvelli', La Carraia 2008.
This wine is from Umbria and retails at $20 per bottle. I tasted sweet apple and a crisp, refreshing flavor. It would pair very nicely with a light fish dish. It also paired well with the goat cheese from my cheese platter!

Out of the next grouping of wines (2 red wines), my favorite was:
Taurasi, 'Radici', Mastroberardino 2004.
This wine retails at $60. My tasting notes say: "dried cherry, rich, heavy, prune". It would pair nicely with a rich meal, like braised meat or game.

Next, we tried 2 wines that I really enjoyed. The first one was a Chianti Classico, that is a very easy-drinking red. My sister and I drank this a few times in Italy with dinner. The second wine brought back memories from a specific night in Sorrento with my sister. It was a Brunello di Montalcino. The bottle we had last night was a 2003 bottle. Here is the bottle my sister and I shared in Italy (a 2000 bottle):It was AMAZING! So amazing, we thought it was a fabulous idea to order another bottle (with some convincing from our cute Italian waiters that I apparantly had to get a picture with before I left..)
Needless to say, I was not feeling very good on the rocky boatride to Capri the next day. Lesson learned.

This 2003 bottle retails at $50 per bottle.

Alright, next up was my FAVORITE wine of the night. I tasted it and just was in awe of how wonderful it was. The color was dark and dense and even the aroma was very rich and earthy. Recently I have really been enjoying heavier, full-bodied earthy wines. This wine came full-circle and hit every note on my palate. Richard also described it as a very "round" wine. It had some fruity flavors (dried plum and older fruits) and was very smooth. What is the name of this wine you ask?

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Vaio Armaron, Sergo Alighieri, Masi 2001.
(From the Veneto region)
The bottle retails at $70 (apparantly I have very expensive taste-- coming from the girl who enjoys jugs of "Little Penguin" wines).

The last wine was also amazing and the perfect grand finale of the tasting. Unfortunately we were told that you can't get this wine anymore and we were the last class to taste it:

Barolo, Azienda Agricola Falleto (Bruno Giacosa) 1999. (From the Piemonte Region)

This was another complex, smooth wine that tasted like dried plum, fig, and earthy flavors.

What a wonderful way to end the week!


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