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5

Glass Half Full

It I was absolutely destined that I love wine. One of the very first things I remember hearing my parents talk about was that when I was born, in Paris, they drank champagne (yes real champagne) like water because it was so inexpensive. Growing up in Germany - I'm an army brat -- I recall my father making a side trip to France on Beaujolais release day, because he loved it so much. My Mom served a bubbly wine at every holiday and festive occasion, often with brunch. Dinner parties involved several wines, chosen to pair with what she served -- Boef Bourginon paired with a rich burgundy, Classic pastas with red sauce and chianti, seafood dishes or  chicken served with chablis or sauvignon blanc. Not expensive wines, but always tasty. Lots of different glasses -- she was big on proper service. As a teenager, I was allowed to "taste" the wine, served in a tiny, crystal glass.

I've raised my family and now actually have a job serving wine, as a "taster" or "presenter". The qualifications for this job? You've got to like wine! A perfect job for me. Like my mom, I love to cook and entertain, and will use any excuse to open a bottle of the bubbly. Since I turned 40, just a ah, um, coupla' years ago, I've vowed to learn something new every year. This year, I'll learn to talk the talk. I've gained a little expertise since I started presenting wines, but I want to expand my palate and my knowledge. My oldest son took John Boyers' class at VT, and highly recommended I take one too. SO, let the tasting begin.

Raucous like Bacchus, indeed.

Now here's a little bit about what I've been tasting this weekend -- First up. on Friday, Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc. I opened this at a tasting that I conducted at a Fresh Market. This varietal from the Alexander Valley in California is a tasty and light sipper. The first sniff gives off an aromatic, almost lemongrass kind of smell. Not as rich as lemon polish, but definately a very floral citrus nose. Pale pale yellow in color, with bright, lemony flavor, it also has a nice undercurrent of grapefruit. It's extremely refreshing! I tasted it with a creamy Danish havarti cheese, which worked perfectly. The citrus-y wine cut the creamy cheese for a wonderful mouthful of flavor. This wine would be perfect at the bottom of your cooler after a day on the beach or the river! Summertime flavors and perfect refreshment!

On Saturday, I began my wine adventure with 2 wines by DeLoach. First up, the Estate Chardonnay. let me say that I am a member of the ABC club, 90% of the time. This wine, however, was quiet tasty. A stainless steel aged chard,  it first gives off a fruity aroma, dominated by pear and a roasty lemon smell. Very pale in color, it's light and round in the mouth, with very little acid on the tongue.  I particularly like the finish of this one -- very creamy and smooth -- delighful to taste.  Another refreshing white, just right for warm weather. I'd actually drink this chardonnay again...

Later, I tasted the DeLoach Pinot Noir. Reminiscent of a beaujolais, this is a lighter style red. From the moment you pour it, you notice the paler red color with a hint of golden orange. The first sniff gives off some light jammy notes, not deep like raspberry, but softer, maybe plummy. The notes prove true upon tasting, with the plum and ripe fruit at the forefront. Lightly spicy, the finish is short and soft, with a very pleasant mouth feel. Another winner for summetime in VA.

On Sunday evening, I decided to do an expirement with decanting. I purchased a wine I'd had before, and like, Le Grand (Pinot) Noir (yes that's really what it's called and how it's written!). As suggested I decanted it 2 hours before drinking it. This is a wine I've presented numerous time at tastings and drank myself at home. It's relatively inexpensive, only about $9.99  a bottle. Upon decanting, I detected no sediment, but then, since it's only a 2010, I really didn't expect any! Medium dark red and fairly rich looking in appearance, the first sniff gives a wild berry aroma. Maybe cherries? Or plums? Not sure, it wasn't too distinct. As the wine opened up, the plum aroma moved to the forefront and I could detect a slight spice somewhere deep in the background. Sipping as directed, with a little extra air "sucked in", I could taste  wild plum with a slight hint of cherries, not really jammy and sweet, but fruity. The spice we smelled was very muted on tasting, and I got just a hint of vanilla. As the evening progressd, the vanilla became slightly more pronounced.  This wine had a " quick' finish, not lingering on the palate at all, very soft on the tongue. Would I buy it again? Yup, for the price notso bad! 

Finally, as part of the great class experiment, on Monday evening, I opened a bottle of Montepuliciano de Abruzzo, to keep me company while I watched "Dancing With the Star" my Momtime Guilty Pleasure. This is a wine I am very familiar with, having purchased it often from Trader Joes for the princely sum of $4.99, yes folks $4.99!! It's a great wine for the price, so I decided to do the decating thing again, and see what I got. Was it smoother? Absolutely. This is a fairly BIG wine, and paired perfectly with our spaghetti and meatballs, with a good glass or so leftover for the tv viewing. It's got a big, mouth filling "feel" to it, with  just a whiff of berries and acid. A little tannic on the finish, it smoothed out some the longer it was opened. There is a some leftover, which I corked tightly, so we'll see what we've got tonight. The decanting experiments have been a success! Goal acheived, in my quest to learn something new every year!! 

i didn't get to visit any wineries, instead I was busy presenting wine these past two weekends. Since I already know the "wine guys" at many stores, that was kind of out of my sphere of reference too. I could've stopped by Total Wine, but then I'd be helping the competition....what can I say? I LOVE my little wine tasting gig, and want to continue doing it. Getting paid to taste wine and talk about it? What could be better? 

Thanks John Boyer, it's been great getting racauos like Bacchus with you and the rest of the class! 

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