Wine Appreciation Part 1….Wine Ratings if you click on read more

I’ve been going to wine-ish classes for over 30 20 years.  I’ve written about Wine & Junk food pairings.  I’ve assisted in single malt Scotch tastings.  I’ve held tastings in my home.  And this coming Tuesday night I’ll be working for charity at a wine bar.  Why would I subject myself to more education?

For you, dear reader, it’s all about you.  hehehehehe.

Well, to be honest, I do tend to let a lot of information, like fine wine, kind of wash over me and then I filter out what I’ve already “tasted”. 

So when one of my favorite local sommeliers, DiMaggio Washington, told me he was teaching a two-part, two-Saturday, 6 hour total class time for only $10 an hour, I signed up.

The class was held in one of the many rooms in All Corked Up in Canyon Country.  Glasses, water, crackers, syllibus, power point presentation and 8 different wine varietals were set up for the participants.

I was anxious to start drinking, but our experienced instructor knew that waiting until the class was half over would help us to absorb all of the information…and not absorb all of the wine.  (Not to mention the loud chatter he would have to talk over had we had MY WAY.)

I filtered out listened to (Yes, you guessed it, I just learned how to use that strike through thing, do you hate it?)  DiMaggio’s explanation of:

  • A mathematical equation, derived from the number of days under 50 or over 90 degrees, gives a winemaker a zone numberThat zone number then tells them which grape is best suited for their land.  Example being 2500 days of these temperatures might be a nice spot in Napa, where 5000 days would be something like planting in Death Valley.
  • Winemaking is being done in all 50 states.
  • Aging is up to the discretion of the purchaser.  Wineries need cash flow so they release early.  
  • A good French Bordeaux can age 30 years or more while American wine is made for the California culture that wants their wine now.
  • European palate wants a well-balanced flavor and not one component over another.  Europeans boost tannins.
  • American palates taste a range of acid, sugar, fruit, alcohol and tannins.   California winemakers boost fruit for the drink-now culture.
  • Both New World and Old World wines started about the same time, 1855, but we lost 14 years to prohibition and had to start all over.

The class notes on the wines we tasted (each less than $18 and available to class participants that day at a 20% reduction) are below:

Chateau Fleur Haut Gaussens, 2005, Bordeaux Superior: Dry, fruit, aged in our glasses well, better with food.  88 Eve pts.

La Berberine, Cotes Du Rhone, 2007: Licorice, wood and tobacco on the nose, balanced taste.  90 Eve pts.

Candoni Friuli Pinot Grigio DOC: Green apple, white pepper, lemon/lime on the nose.  Balanced palate, smooth.  89 Eve pts.

Nero D’Avola Sicilia Arancio 2007: Tar, licorice, leather, dark berry fruit, black cherry, tobacco but balanced even though more heat from the alcohol present.  88 Eve pts.

Paco & Lola Albarino Rias Baixas 2008: Citrus, white pepper, grapefruite, white peach, lingering finish, I thought the nose a sharp cheese but class liked.  86 Eve pts.

Vina Herminia Tempranillo 2006 Rioja: Very balanced flavor with a heavy nose of mushrrom, wood and wet earth.  90 Eve pts.

Ritzman Piesporter Michelsberg Spatlese Mosel: A Riesling style sugar bomb.  86 Eve pts.

J.L. Wolf Wachenheimer Riesling 2006 Pfalz: Another sugar bomb that DiMaggio wanted to pair with Tiramisu or Creme Brulee. 83 Eve pts, class rated higher, more like 89.  The empty blue bottle taken home by Susie Q to decorate and a half dozen went home with another classmate for his wife, sick at home and missing her class/birthday present.

(Part 2 class is tomorrow.  If you want to take them out of order, give All Corked Up a call, and see if you can snake a spot: 661-799-7979. FTC disclosure: attended class as press.)

3 thoughts on “Wine Appreciation Part 1….Wine Ratings if you click on read more

  1. Great post. Glad to see the Candoni score well. One of my favorite PG's.
    Also love the art-work on all the Candoni wines.
    Wine facts in post were very interesting. Think I will post them for my next article on wine facts.

  2. Joeshico,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. The art was pretty cool on the Candoni.

    Please let me know if you do run the class notes in your next article on wine facts – the class would love that and I'd appreciate the link.

    Yours, in wine and out,

  3. Regarding the timeline on wine production. DiMaggio added: The making of wine began long before that of course. The 1855 is noted due to the decision to identify those Chateaux that were most noted for high quality wines and to classify them into some form or category. Therefore this is known as the “1855 Classification”, creating 5 levels or better know as Growths “Cru”. The most noted are the 5 “1st growths” , it goes on to acknowledge the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th growths as well.


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