Introduction to Wine

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Food & Wine Magazine’s Guide to Wine author Mary Burnham returned to the SF Wine Center this past week for what she calls, quite possibly her favorite class topic.  With a unique blend of enthusiasts both new to the world of wine as well as veterans of the business, Mary finds it an absolute thrill to open, or widen, these wine loving eyes to the big picture of this fascinating world of wines.

Mary began by giving every a brief synopsis of how wines are made, where the fruit comes from, where and how to age them, and then of course, how to drink them.  Steering away from overly complicated wine jargon that could make even the most wine savvy people’s heads spin, Mary did drop in a few technical terms, such as Malolactic fermentation, in which everyone was intrigued to learn of these technical properties and processes.

Without too much further adieu, Mary moved on to evaluating the wines by guiding everyone through their senses of sight, smell, taste, and touch.  As we ventured through our amazing list of wines, the class found certain wines to be prime examples of that region or varietal while others were slightly different, yet stunning, takes on those particular styles of wine.  After tasting through and discussing all of our wines, we ended with a special toast to Mary on the release of her 2013 Edition of Food & Wine Magazine’s Guide to Wine book!

My Favorite Wine of the Night?

Contino Rioja Reserva 2006 – Tempranillo grape from Rioja, Spain

Like laying in a bed of red roses over a fresh strawberry patch, this Rioja’s dreamlike aromas continue onward with notes of coffee beans and a light creamy hint of red cherry yogurt.  On the palate this wine pulls you even deeper to a dreamlike state with its creamy mentality and savory notes of steak and paprika, flawlessly concluded with a full body, velvety tannin, lively acidity, and black pepper and vanilla spices on the finish.

Wine List

  1. Henri Bourgeois Les Baronnes Sancerre 2011 – Sauvignon Blanc from Loire Valley, FR
  2. Kalmuck Wachau Gruner Veltliner 2011 – Gruner Veltliner grape from Wachau, Austria
  3. Samuel Billaud Les Fourneaux Chablis 1er Cru – Chardonnay grape from Chablis, FR
  4. Dr. Loosen Blue Slate Riesling Kabinett 2011 – Riesling grape from Mosel Valley, GE
  5. Jean Claude Boisset  Echezeaux Grand Cru 2005 – Pinot Noir grape from Burgundy, FR
  6. Monsanto Il Poggio Chianti Classico Riserva 2004 – Sangiovese grape from Tuscany, IT
  7. Contino Rioja Reserva 2006 – Tempranillo grape from Rioja, Spain
  8. Saint Cosme Cote Rotie 2009 – Syrah blend from Northern Rhone Valley, France
  9. Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga D’Alba 2006 – Nebbiolo grape from Piedmont, IT

10.  Chateau de Pez Saint-Estephe 2008 – Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Bordeaux, FR

Special congrats to Mary for both her book’s release and another exhilarating class.  And a big thanks to Brian for an excellent roster of wines!

-Julie Albin

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