I am lucky enough to have some good friends who have taken it upon themselves to further my wine education. They painstakingly set up a wine pairing lesson disguised as a dinner party.
Four wines: a Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonay, and Sauvignon Blanc. First lesson: detecting scents. In the first picture, scents typical of white wines and in the second, those typical of reds. Lot’s of laughs and debates about whether we could detect tobacco and leather in the Cab or whether there were the scents of green pepper and fresh cut grass in the Sauvignon Blanc.
Next lesson: the 5 tastes and how they change the taste of each wine. Sweet – Sugar; Salty -Salt; Sour – Sour Cream; Bitter – Radicchio; and Umami – Dried Seaweed. Finally we get to taste the wine!! A sip of each wine after tasting each of the ingredients determined that sugar pretty much ruins the flavor of all of these wines, as any fruity flavors get dulled. The sour cream went better with the fresh whites as did the Radicchio. Umami and salt brought out more flavor in the reds.
And the last lesson: different cooking methods. Here we tasted all of the wines with both steamed and grilled vegetables, salmon, chicken, and beef. I have to admit that at this point is when I began to understand why at wine tastings they tend to spit the wine out after tasting…
Overall a very fun experience (isn’t it great when learning is fun?) followed by a delicious “real” meal of Cuban Chicken Fricassee, a slow cooked chicken dish with olives, peppers, and rasins.