A couple of weeks ago, I took off Friday from work for 2 reasons. 1) My daughter (and her cousin) were having a joint birthday party in the evening, and 2) It was the first day of the Cleveland Fabulous Food Show (that’s the name, not a review).
I managed to get tickets to the Guy Fieri 12:30 show – which were row two center section by the way (had no idea about that until I got there) – so I headed over when they opened at 10:00 to make sure I saw everything.
First off, there were a TON of exhibitors. Everything from gadgets to restaurants, local food stores, Ohio favorites. If you’re looking for a new salsa or Barbeque sauce, this is the place for you. There are lots of samples if you’re willing to wait in line. I’m usually not that patient. I cherry picked the short lines, waited for a couple brands I had heard of before, and made it to the back of the floor by about 10:45… What to do now?
What’s that sign say? Free wine tasting instructional class at 11:00? First come, first served… Guess I just filled up the next 30 minutes!
Aside from the obvious plusses to this one, there class was really well done. Marianne (check out Marianne’s Wine Blog ), the owner of the Cleveland Wine School gave us a quick overview of the school. Including details like “Open wine tastings on Fridays and Saturday – Bring your own food.” It sounded pretty cool. She said people bring different breads and cheeses… then she launched into the teaching portion of the program. The only cheesy part was an “accidentally served red-wine-gone-bad” which was obviously staged to show what not to drink – which was still very informative and showed me that I had, in fact, had bad wines before.
So What else did I learn? Well, here’s the top 15 (No significance to the number – just happens to be the good stuff) in no particular order:
- Acid cleans the pallet at tastings – that’s why you should have the foods along with wines.
- Tanins protect wine from oxidation – that’s why the reds can last longer than whites.
- Good white wines can be served warm (see her for detail on what constitutes “good” be
- Why swirl the wine? It causes minute amounts of agitation and evaporation that releases aroma
- Pale colors indicate “younger” wines – “Older” wines will be darker as some of the oxidation has already taken place.
- When the pros taste, the do that swishing motion (like with mouthwash). This is done to allow the most surface coverage within the mouth and to release the acid. You can determine the body of the wine this way.
- Speaking of acidity, that seems to be the main determiner or what foods do or should not go with certain foods. Sauvignon Blanc because of it’s high acidity in general, for example, goes weil with any chickens and fishes served with lemon or other citrus.
- White wines get darker as they age, Reds lose color.
- If a red wine has lost color, it’s said to be an older wine – more than 3 years old.
- The small sip offered to you when trying a wine is not to see if you like the wine. It’s to make sure the wine hasn’t gone bad. You already bought the bottle so no sending it back. If you think it’s gone bad, the proper etiquette is to request “Another of the same”
- Tannins also make the mouth feel fuzzy – her words, not mine.
- When tasting – the slight opening of the mouth and inhaling is to determine acidity of the wine. The more the mouth waters, the more acid.
- The highly acidic wines should always be served with food at gatherings.
- TCA is bacteria in corks that are driving the industry to explore synthetic corks and screw tops
- Decanting softens the wine. When the air gets in, the oxygen aerates the tannins making it a softer texture.
Wow – that’s a mouthful. And I was writing quickly, so if any of this is off, please leave me a comment so that I can correct it. And check out the food show and the Cleveland Wine School. Both are time well spent when you would be working otherwise.