Tasting & Describing Wine

Monday, August 20th, 2012

As the summer sun began to set here in the city this past Friday, we thought we’d celebrate the approaching end of the season with a special wine class.  Paving the way that evening was Lead Wine Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America and former Wine Director of both Quince and Gary Danko, the one and only Christie Dufault.  With a medley of students ranging from new drinkers to semi-collectors, this group was certainly taken for a ride as all of the wines in class were tasted blindly!  (And no, not with blindfolds over their eyes)

Without wasting too much time before getting to the good part and tasting the wines, Christie briefed the class on helpful hints not only to properly smell and taste wine, but how to truly interpret the wine.  While quite the technical topic, Christie made sure to add in her typical learning humor throughout the lesson as to make sure everyone stayed comfortable and confident.  She even snuck in a fun fact that while smelling the wines one should never drastically inhale, but instead “lightly sniff, you know, just like a dog!”

Strategically attempting to perplex our students while also allowing them to come to their own conclusions, we presented them with a wide array of wines from wine regions spread all over the map.  New World, Old World, youthful, and older vintage, they were able to blindly taste a little bit of everything and see how well they really knew their wines.  To their pleasant surprise, some students were able to guess right on many of the wines!

My favorite wine of the night?

Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas 2004 – Southern Rhone Valley, France

An absolutely enticing bouquet, this wine expressed aromas of blossoming violets, pink rose petals, dried cranberry, and red currant.  With firm yet beautifully integrated tannin, this wine’s medium body and luminous acidity made for a perfect encore with a finish of peanut skins and freshly moist soil.

Wine List

  1. Craggy Range Te Muna Vineyard Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – New Zealand
  2. Stift Goettweig Gruner Veltliner Messwein 2010 – Kremstal, Austria
  3. Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir 2008 – France
  4. Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl 2010 – Alsace
  5. Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese 2005 – Mosel Valley, Germany
  6. Bergstrom Cumberland Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2003 – Oregon
  7. Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas 2004 – Southern Rhone Valley, France
  8. Casanuova delle Cerbaie Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1997 – Tuscany, Italy
  9. Chateau Kirwan Margaux 2000 – Bordeaux, France
  10. Chappellet Pritchard Hill Estate Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2001 – Napa Valley

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