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Friday, 24 February 2012
A couple of weeks ago, some friends asked us whether we'd like to go to a wine tasting. I'm a long way from being a wine expert, so it sounded like a fun opportunity to learn a bit more and to broaden my horizons in good company.
The evening was designed around pairs of wines, in each case matching a well-known wine with a more unusual variety.
Chablis and Godello
Muscadet and Soave
Viognier and Albariño
Sauvignon Blanc and Bacchus
Gewurztraminer and Hárslevelű
Pinot Noir and Nerello Mascallese
Merlot and Zweigelt
Malbec and Durif
Shiraz and Alentejo
Pinotage and Agiorgitiko
Now, I hadn't even heard of all of the 'common' ones (Viognier? huh?), let alone the more obscure selections. But when did a little thing like that ever stop me? I'm certainly quick to decide what I do and don't like.
It turns out that having a good eye (or should that be tongue?) for flavours is something that translates easily from food into wine. I can usually pick out the herbs and spices that have gone into a sauce, and it turns out that getting the fruit flavours of a wine is pretty much the same skill. Have a taste, compare to your mental dictionary of established flavours, and away you go. Cue excited cries of Raspberries! Peaches! Under-ripe apples! Though of course, not everything tastes of fruit (even if it is made of grapes) and I had to add strange wine words like 'tannin' and 'vegetal' to my vocabulary once we got onto the reds.
It was a fun evening, and definitely educational, although nothing tempted me quite enough to fill out the little order form that came with the booklet.