Last night was my first class in Wines of the World at Yavapai College. Though I’ve taken many wine tasting classes over the years, I was impressed at the presentation on how to taste wine. For most of us, our immediate reaction is to swirl the wine to get that first whiff of aroma, prior to even looking at the color, legs and density. However, Paula’s approach is to first observe the color and viscosity, next to smell prior to swirling, then swirl, smell again and then finally taste and to leave it in your mouth for around 3-5 seconds. I’ve never spent so much time studying an individual wine!
We started off tasting the 2014 Lenz Moser, Gruner Veltliner, from Krems, Austria. This is the #1 grape varietal grown in Austria and was my first experience tasting it. It had a light straw color with a green tinge, and hints of citrusy lemon, pear, minerals, quince with a tad of sparkle. It was well balanced and dry with 12% alcohol, a little higher in acid and no oak. Would pair well with green vegetables like asparagus. You could even add a little to your salad dressing to help with pairing. I’d definitely recommend this wine, especially since it’s under $15.
Next on the list was the 2014 Priest Ranch, Granache Blanc from Napa Valley, CA. Weighing in at 14.3% alcohol, it had a pale straw color with a light green tinge, showcasing mineral, honeysuckle, and stone fruit. It had a very short finish, and just wasn’t well balanced. This was my least favorite of the evening.
We moved onto the reds and tried the 2011 Vina Real, Reserva, Rioja, Spain. I’m a big fan of Rioja wines. This one has 90% Tempranillo, with the remaining 10% in Grenache, Graciano and Mazuelo. It had a garnet/dark ruby color with notes of plum, rose, earth, oak and black licorice. This medium bodied + wine has 13% alcohol, some tannins, was well balanced, spent a few years in oak and could age a bit more. I really enjoyed this and would recommend it.
Our last wine for the evening was the Trapiche 2014 Broquel, Malbec from Medonza, Argentina. For those of you that have read my blog, you know I’ve spent some time in Mendoza. I enjoyed visiting Trapiche and had a delicious wine paired lunch. The interesting architecture at the winery is a combination of classic and modern buildings with very large grounds. The photo above shows their viewing room where you watch a video about the winery.
The 2014 Broquel Malbec did not disappoint. It displayed a lovely rich purple/black color with an alcohol content of 14.5%. It showcased some dark fruits, violet, minerals and pepper. I’d recommend it for your BBQ’s. Argentina has one of the highest diurnal shifts of any wine growing area. Like Argentina, Arizona also has huge diurnal shifts in our vineyard areas.
Prior to our wine tasting Paula presented a history of wine making. Can you imagine, cave people discovered fermentation around 2 million years ago?
This class is an excellent adjunct to my sommelier course however, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting my CSW instead or maybe both. Time will tell.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.