01 April, 2010

A Feast for the Senses in Calistoga

Tucked behind a sunny storefront in quaint and charming Calistoga, an amazing oenophile experience awaits.  Thanks to Marcy Gordon who invited me, I got to participate in a wine blogger session of this fun and educational opportunity.  Brought to us by the wonderful folks at W.H, Smith Wines, this set up allows you to experience the different components of wine aromas separated out into opaque black glasses.  Reying only on smell, we sniffed our way through the set up trying to match the scents with the component.  I thought I would get all of them wrong, but was happy to have gotten 11 right!  Turns out my love of fruit and the various and mercurial waftings of Pinot Noir served me well!  T'anne Butcher, who lead us through the excercise said that she can make it easier or harder depending on the make up of the groups.  We also got to examine the effect of stemware on flavor.  I found it fascinating how the exact same wine tasted different --in some cases radically different---based on the form factor of the glass.  Because the shape of the glass affects how you process the aromas and aromas inpact flavor, well, you do the math.  Fun to experiment!  But the most fun experiment was sampling the W.H. Smith Wines.  After all that analysis, it was great to wrap my taste buds around some yummy Pinot Noir, Zin and Cab Sauv. 

Marcy squealed with delight when she correclty identified one component she had previously misidentified.  I immediately wanted to train like Rocky Balboa and go back again to increase my score...errr..increase my knowledge.  Tasting blind created a challenge!  A display of Oak components and identifying flavors in chocolate was also included as were delectable snacks.  Definitely a great way to learn more about wine, enjoy Cailstoga and spend quality time with friends!
If you are interested, find out more here.  Classes are held daily by appointment from 10 am to 11:30 and cost $35.   

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