Invest a little to gain a lot should be the motif at The Winemakers Studio at Wente Vineyards in Livermore.
Essentially they have several different “classes” or experiences to choose from and participate in at The Winemakers Studio. Sunset Magazine called it the number one wine tasting experience in California!
During a recent Wine Bloggers Conference we were given a quick overview of four of the various experiences. The ones that we participated in were both utterly fascinating and educational. The four were: The Wine Aroma Discovery; Wine and Cheese Pairing; Size and Shape Matters; and Black Glass Blind Tasting. Each were unique and a different experience.
The first class was the Wine Aroma Discovery (see picture). In the room were three “control scents” unknown to the class. You would then lift the “empty cup” and sniff to determine the “aromas”. Then go about the table trying to identify that specific aroma by smelling various cups (with removing the covers on them). For example, there were peach slices, various nuts, raspberries, cinnamon, etc. In all there were some thirty-three plus foods with lids on them. The object was to get a scent of the control and then match that with “real aromas” by various foods. Doing this with a group of friends and sharing was a bonus part of the experience. Smelling a scent and then pairing it up with tangible foods was at times easy and other times frustrating, getting your mind to focus. Very educational. This is an absolute must do!
The second class was the Wine and Cheese Pairing. This was a bit more straightforward as most folks have done wine and cheese pairings. They did a bit of a twist with some crab thrown in which was excellent! The key is understand the cheeses and impact on the various wines. What is fun however is finding what you think would be “an oddball” pairing turns out to be mouthwatering sensation!
The third class was Size and Shape Matters! If you have had a chance to do a Riedel glassware class, this is similar in that it allows you to get a wine’s aroma from the shape of the glass. Thus a glass for Chardonnay is significantly different than a Pinot Noir glass and yet different than a Cabernet Sauvignon glass. Each glass brings out the fruit and passion of the varietal. If you have ever wondered about which glass to use, wonder no more after this event. For example you will smell a Chardonnay in four different cup shapes – all are different but one is exceptional!
The fourth was Black Glass Blind Tasting. While many wine followers have done blind tastings ad nauseam few have the opportunity to do it in a black glass wine goblet. When you walk into a room with black goblets on your place setting, you do not know if it is a red or white or rose! So you need to rely on your sense of smell in order to pick out first the color and secondly the varietal with the benefit of sight. Again a fascinating experience for sure.
The Winemakers Studio offers several other classes (some are seasonal) but all of them are worthwhile and an enjoyable experience. You will be catapulted to new levels of self-understanding as well as in your knowledge of wines.
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