Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tasting the Wines

Last night I went to a wine tasting. Such is the state of where I live that the wine tasting was held at the supermarket. Now before you get all snotty and superior, let me tell you that this particular Raley's is a ginormous market with its very own drugstore, post office, and organic/natural foods department. (It is the latter that actually, I believe, spelled doom to the Elk Grove Natural Food Co-op. It is so much more convenient if you can buy your organic produce and your Twinkies at the same place, isn't it.)

The wine tastings are from 5:30 to 7:30. I got there at 5. Not that I was eager for the wine, but more than I had to get out of the house (the night before I went to see Shrek, but that is another story). I bought myself some sushi and the latest issue of US magazine and settled down at a table to nourish my mind and my body. I was only half way through my tuna and a few pages into US when the tasting began.

The wines were Kendall-Jackson. I have no idea whether that is good or not, because I know jack about wines. Which is why I went to the wine tasting in the first place. I want to learn about wines. I want to develop a palate. I want to see if I have a palate in the first place. Thus, I am putting myself forward at every opportunity as a wine weenie, and asking--nay, begging--for help.

Last night that help came in the form of a cheat sheet the winery had at the ready, spelling out in black and white exactly what notes and tones and other foo-fah descriptors ascribed to the particular wine. The first wine I tasted was a Syrah, "heavy-bodied and chewy with black cherry, currant, jammy, spice and tobacco tones." It tasted nice. I liked it.

The second wine I had was the Merlot, "medium-to-heavy-bodied, smooth-finishing with black cherry, plum, raspberry and chocolate notes." It was not so nice. I didn't like it much. It made my mouth pucker at the end.

The third wine was a Zinfandel, "medium-to heavy-bodied with blackberry, raspberry, black pepper and smoke tones with a spicy finish." I got the smoke tones. I think.

Then I had another Syrah, to see how it compared after the Merlot and Zin, but this time it didn't seem so nice. I didn't like it. Perhaps it's a one-glass wine, you know, like a one-date guy. Or maybe one isn't supposed to be mixing all those wines at one sitting. But then, why would they have wine tastings in the first place???

Then I moved to the whites. There were two chardonnays, one by K-J, and the other by an all female winery. No cheat sheets accompanied these, but--hallelujah!--I could taste the fruit in the KJ chardonnay. Peaches, I think. Or maybe apricot. I've never been a white wine person, but maybe I secretly am. Perhaps my palate is a white wine palate. The other chardonnay, what I refer to as the feminist chardonnay (LaCrema, I think) was not, I regret to tell you so nice. I got no notes or tones, just a massive mouth pucker. That made me sad, as I so wanted to be supportive.

Then I went home. With a nice buzz on.


  1. I love a nice syrah, or a fruity zin. Not so fond of the merlot, because of the very puckering you describe.

    I find that bad red wines are undrinkable, whereas bad whites are improved (or their badness masked) by the cold temperature at which they are drunk.

    Was there some food to go with the wines? To cleanse the palate?

  2. There was indeed food, an impressive and delicious assortment. An artichoke dip in which the artichokes were chunks not slivers. Brie drizzled with some syrupy nuts and stuff. Those wraps that some call pinwheels. Yum. I am again hungry. And all this for $3--which is deductable from a bottle I might buy within the next 30 days.

  3. Tessting, Tessting, Testing

  4. i like all wines. if red.
    white, not so much.
    and so it goes.

    you're funny.


So--whaddaya think?