A students thoughts on wine in wine and beverage class

3 06 2009

Melissa Perino

June 3, 2009

Blog Assignment

Before this class I knew nothing about wine.  I only knew there was a red kind and there was a white kind.  When I came to figure out in class that there are 100’s of thousands species of grapes my jaw dropped.  How could something so common be so varied.  It was amazing to also learn that grapes grow best in horrible soil, kind of weird if you ask me.  The whole idea of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon being the main/ top six grape varietals grown around the world is pretty amazing.  It’s funny how I was taught how to remember the order from lightest to full bodied wines… and I quote, “Really Strong Coffee Purges My Colon.” Thanks Mr. Willison, PRICELESS! I never understood the complexity and variations of the subtle to strong flavors and smells.  I am glad to know what I know now.  I find it much easier to sudgest a nice mellow wine to complement a dish, though I do need a lot of practice.  I seriously did not know that champagne and sparkling wine came from grapes, don’t ask me where I thought the liquor came from I just didn’t put two and two together when the bottle clearly said “Sparkling Wine”.  I enjoyed learning about the Champagne in class today.  The Champagne Brachetto d’ Acqui Marenco was the best I have ever tasted.  It had such a hearty creamy custard like smell, it was almost like cream soda.  When I tasted it I was flabbergasted because it seriously tasted like candy and somewhat like cream soda.  The least favorite wine I have tried was this week and it was rough.  It was the 2004 Barbaresco Ceretto “Asij”,  it had an inviting smell but jeebis the taste was weird.  I guess my pallet is not mature enough to enjoy something so out of the norm.  Another favorite of mine was the 2006 Geil Bechtheimer Hasen Sprung Riesling it was fantastic very smooth and fruity with a pear tart smell and a straw color.  Overall my experience with wine has been great and I have learned a hell of a lot in 3 weeks than I have ever learned about anything in a life time.

Thanks Mike Willison for the wine education, you are awesome!


Raul Moreno

24 04 2009

Before I took this wine class, i thought all wine were no good and I did not really like the flavors. But Soon after our first wine taste, i told myself i was drinking the wrong kinds of winds. The wines i really liked the most were the wines from France. Those really grabbed my attention and my taste buds. The wines i didnt care for were the wines from South Africa. They really had a strong flavor that was kind of wierd. But over all im glad we got to take this class because I learned so much.

Oregon Harvest 2008 Day 1 (for me)

11 10 2008

Okay, Day one was really yesterday but it can hardly, actually count. I mean really, I spent about 8 hours in transit from the cab to the blue line to a cab again, then the interminable lines at O’Hare (Okay United, when there are 1000 people waiting to board planes it might be nice to have more than four people checking those 1000 in. PS, dear NSA, can the third biggest city in the US have more than one security line open for an entire terminal at 5pm? Thanks, that would be great. Finally, it is not necessary to get a map of Portland at the Hertz rental desk when your car comes with a bleeding GPS system that you bitched and moaned about for forty minutes despite the same 1000 people waiting in line behind you. Oh, and you call that a CARRY ON piece of luggage? For shame. You know why the airlines are failing? Because you suck. Double finally: thank you Intel for recruiting seven people from UIC and putting them all on the same flight, getting then all rooms at some Holiday Inn and getting them each a rental car. Way to be green. Move your office campus to Detroit if this is your MO. Nice.)

This morning I woke up fresh as a Daisy and skittered up to Rex Hill where the crew was wholly amassed and ready to work. The goal for the day was to receive around 100 tons of grapes, triage, de-stem, crush, and transfer them into tanks before sunset. How many of us are there anyway? Not many, was the inevitable answer. The day started calmly enough as I pumped over a couple of fermenting tanks; one of pinot noir, the other of Syrah/Viognier meant for Tannahill.

After the pumping, cleaning and sanitizing I got on the sorting line and picked the good from the bad, mediocre from the just okay and pretty much sealed the fate of all of these little fellas. One word: earwigs. Holy crap are there earwigs everywhere. Quote of the day: Me, “Are these bad for the wine?” Respondant, “No. Protien.” Wow. After an hour or two of this I was dragged of with the lead viticulturalist to a number the more pristine vineyards that we will be sourcing fruit from. Dragged off is a bit of a stretch, I was so happy to get to see these bundles at Harvest I was champing at the bit. What an education this was! Nadine (sorry if I spelled your name incorrectly) was in possession of an encyclopedic level of knowledge and process, and she was a willing instructor to me in all of the ways of the grapevine. I learned more in my hour with her than I have in many years on my own. We saw (and tasted) muscat hanging ripe on the vine, beautiful clusters of Pinot noir being devoured by ants and other creepies, botrytis, penicillium, leaf roll, powdery mildew, etc. it was a wine geeks perfect day. I was dumb with speechlessness and felt like a freshman at the senior prom.

The rest of the day I spent on the sorting line exchanging barbs with my new mate Hugo who I like and respect deeply. We had a great time together and saved the vintage from a number of serious problems with our diligence and eagle eyes. I am seasick with left to right motion from the counter-effects of the conveyer belt and have felt like a hobbling drunk since stepping off the platform. To end my work day I was treated to a wonderful A to Z/ Rex Hill ritual of an all staff comida/family meal of kick ass chicken fajitas that Hugo’s mother made for us all. Camaraderie was high, the food was excellent, the wine began to flow as Brett from Nautilus in NZ treated us to some of his Pinot Gris, SB, Chardonnay and PN. I was partial to the Pinot Gris, but they were all exceptional.

Tomorrow more of the same, but even more intense as a truck containing at least 30 tons of Sangiovese meant for Rose pulled up as I was leaving and there were many more scheduled to arrive before day break.



Chianti Bacon’O Les M.

6 09 2008

Last night I had some bacon, it was the best bacon i have ever put in my mouth.  I think bacon starts at great and can only get better.  The bacon came from Madisonville, TN from Bentons Farm.  Alll of their pigs are free range and everything they do is organic.  The nice thing about them is that they have been doing it that way brfore it was cool to be organic.  Anywhodles, the point of all of this is that the flavor and texture of the bacon were amplified by a Chianti Brunello.  The smokeieness of the bacon brought out the smoke in the wine and vice versa.  It was an absolute delicious combonation that I think everyone should try:)

Rose in summer: life’s simple gift

7 08 2008

In short, summer without a lively, crisp, Bandol Rose is like Halloween without pumpkins and cold spaghetti intestines. Enjoy one with cheese, enjoy one at a BBQ, enjoy one with luncheon of cold cuts, enjoy one (as I am now 07 la bastide blanche, bandol) on the front porch watching the neighbors play at baseball in the late afternoon haze. Or, you can just ruin your life with the angular boredom of sock sortings and schadenfreude. Delicious.

Wine: Joel D.

21 07 2008

Red and white what do they have in common they consist of the same red grape but are different because of the contact time with the skins from the grape. For instance red wines have more contact time with the skin of the grape it allow the grape juice to develop a more reddish hue, giving its very characteristics. Also depending on the amount of time but it to making the flavors of wine is soul created by the aging process. White wines have more of a flora smell, as for red wines they have more of a bake shop smell. Paring of wines are not very complicated you can pare reds with reds, such as steak, veal, or red sauces that are made with the red wine, this helps complement each element within the dish being created. Same goes for white wines, you can pair them with fish or sea food items and also to accommodate a sauce.

In conclusion when you want a wine with your meal it not up to the chef or the waiter to decide what you should have, it is up to you to make a decision, so its all comes down to personal preference.

Wine Lecture With Chef Danielle by Meghan O.

25 06 2008

On June 23rd we sat through a very interesting and fact-filled presentation by Chef Danielle about wine. She set up a power-point presentation for us and went through 10 wines. She started off with white, and then red. She compared wine in many different ways, like showing us two of the same grape varietals from different regions, old world wine vs. new world wine, and even compared two of the same wines from the same region, and we learned the difference the storage vats make. When you are observing white wines, you hold the glass at the stem or the foot to prevent the temperature from your hands warming up the temperature of the wine. You smell for tree fruit first, then stone fruit, then nonfood elements, such as earthy smells. Wine #1 was a Riesling from Columbia Valley, Washington. This wine had scents of pear, green apple, green grape, butter, and crisp mineral, and we learned that because it is grown in a cool climate, the wine will be sweeter. New World wine is less traditional than Old World wine, and this is considered a New World wine. Old World are from European places, and Wine #2 falls under this category. Wine #2 was a Riesling from Alsace, Germany with more pronounced non-fruit characteristics. Looking at it, it looked almost like white gold, and had a platinum shine. We were taught that when a wine has a shiny platinum look, that means that is was heavily clarified. They clarify wine just as we do with consomme, with egg whites. We also learned when looking at the color and visual characteristics, to look at two different parts of the glass, the concentration and the cheeks. The concentration is straight in the middle, the darker, and the cheeks are the sides of the glass, like the cheeks on our face. Also, the younger the white wine is, the more greener of a tone it will have. Wine #3 was a white wine blend of 4 different grape varietals. It is an Old World wine from Rhone Valley, France; with a very heavy finish, and because the grape was grown next to a river, it took on a very mineral taste. Because it was aged in oak, it carries a pastry, buttery smell. There was a high amount of alcohol in this wine high amount of legs on the glass. We were told that with wines like this, that have a heavy finish and strong mouth-feel, to eat with fatty and fried foods, because it will cut through the fat, and create a good balance. Wine #4 is California’s take on Wine #3. This is a New World wine, and is much more fruit-forward. Becuase this wine is straw yellow, and Wine #3 was golden dark yellow, you can immediately asses that this is younger. This wine has scent of orange, banana, and pineapple, and had the taste of burning wood, toast, and campfire. Wine #5 was a Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California that was aged in oak. Because the Chardonnay grape is such a neutral grape, it is easily influenced by the aroma of the oak vessel, and also the dark color. This wine is high in acid, but because it is raised in a hot climate, the sugar overpowers the acid, grows to quickly, and becomes a sweet tasting wine. A huge indicator of wine aged in oak is aromas and tastes of butter, nutty, and pastry objects. Wine #6 was also a Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California. The difference though was that this wine was aged in a stainless steel vat. When wine is aged this way, the steel does not add any flavor or influence the grape, it simply concentrates the flavors that are already there. This wine has aromas of onion and garlic. Odd, yes, but because these grapes are grown next to onion, what is called terware is resulted. It is when an object takes on resemblances of flavors of what it is grown around. Wine #7 was the start of the red wines. It was a Pinot Noir from Oregon. Pinot Noir is the main grape grown in Oregon. It has tastes and smells of cranberry and cherry, with a chalky finish. We were taught that the younger the red wine is, the more brightly red it will be, and opposingly, the older, the more brown it will be. When you have red wine with aromatics of red and blue fruit, you will know it was grown in a cool climate. When it is of black fruit, it was grown in a warm climate. This wine was raised in a cool climate. Wine #8 was a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France. Burgundy only grows pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, it is what works best with the climate. This wine had an astringent finish, and a smooth beginning, with much higher acidity than #7. It has bakeshop, spice, and cherry smells, and we learned that Pinot Noir is a perfect pairing for lamb and duck. This wine came from the Cote de Beaune region of France. Finally, Wine #9 and #10 were my favorite two comparisons of the night. Wine #9 was a Merlot blended with a little Cabernet Sauvignon, and Wine #10 was a Cabernet Sauvignon blended with a little Merlot. Wine #9 was from Bordeaux, the right side, and was very woodsy, earthy, and smelled of tobacco. It had a dark color and was very heavy in body. Wine #10 was also from Bordeaux, the left side, and had a lighter color, yet heavier body, and was very floral and sweet.