Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Class Notes: The Science, Art & Business of Wine (Class #2)

Date:  July 19, 2011

The result of the quiz we took last week during the intake came back.  I scored 7 out of 20.  Wow!  "This course is very useful to you!" the lecturer wrote there.


Again, 8 bottles of wine has been opened for us to taste, learn to describe.


Very embarrassingly, I thought Georgia is a place in US.  Later when you felt suspicious, that is when you raise your hand and ask where is Georgia?  It is a country just between Russia and Turkey and Armenia & Azerbaijan.  Wow, yes, it is a country.  The all the three wine above is from Georgia.  Learn some new thing everyday!


As we drink our first wine, a Kindzmurauli Marani (Semi-sweet-Red) from Georgia 2008 (11.5% alc), we start to look at the color, a bit purple red, light, could be a young wine.  But the label tells us its 2008.  Not that young, but the color have not turned darker after aging for 3+ years.  Swirl it, lots of tears & legs means the alcohol is there.  And the color of the wine looks lively.  means good acidity.  Then, you nose it.  You can smell some fruits.  The smell is not too intense too.  Taste it with your tongue... Definitely sweet.  As the lecturer explained... It is quite pleasant to drink, but he suspected it is not expensive wine.  As the wine does not have multiple flavors.  Not so complex.  OK, what are those?  HaHaHaHa (Still learning).



So, the pairing of the food tonight is Oily Chicken, Fried Nuggets & Thai Char Kuay Tew (a bit spicy).  And we use the Kondolis from Georgia to pair.  And the verdict is... the red wine goes very well with the oily chicken.  and the White wine goes with the chicken nuggets.  Both wine are quite smooth and tasty with Kuay Tew.  OK, don't expect the food to be great, its just some catering food.  But the lecturer did requested some different style of food each week.  Last week if you remember is "Steam Food".

For $660+ course, with 6-8 bottle of wine to taste each week and different food, I think the course is worth it, man!


In the wine industry, this is the word you will always hear.  It is pronounced as "Tet-Hua" (something like that! Its a French word).


A very nice reading of Terroir Vs. Feng Shui (in Chinese).


The WiKi reading is here...


OK, now my interest level has raised even more as it has some element of the Feng Shui subject that I like.

Soil Type

Also, today I learned that... if the soil is a grade A soil, and very nutrient, then, the wine (grapes) produced in such top grade soil may not be good.  I was like HUH?

For example Coonawara in Australia.    It is 1.6KM width and 13KM long.  And only in Coonawara, you find a consistent Red Topsoil.


But if you look carefully in the geological profile of the soil, below the red topsoil, it was a layer of limestones and chalk.  And only after that, is a unlimited supply of underground water.


So, under such configuration, the vines have to do a lot of work.  Their roots have to penetrate the limestones to reach the water.  That is why during such hardworking process the grapes are exceptionally lively.


Influence of Temperature on Wine

For example, Riesling under cool region, will produce floral, apple flavors.  Under Medium weather, you can smell pear, citrus.  Under Warm weather condition, the riesling has passion fruit or tropical fruit taste.

Wow... Cool.  So, if you are blind folded, and drink a wine, you can roughly guess where is the region the wine comes from.  cool.  of course, non of us will be at that level ... not until we invest a lot of time in drinking wine.  hahaha



Applellation d'Origine Controle (AOC).  This is one of the classifications for French Wine.  The next level is VDP which is Vinde Pays.  Then, it comes to Vin de Table.


Learn how to read the labels.  As you can see the left bottle is Applellation Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Controlee.  And the right bottle is Appellation Pauillac Controlee.  So, the next thing to learn will be the history of these vinyards, regions in France.

One of the good analogy that brought up in class is... AOC is like GRC.  Not necessary they are near by, but they can group under the same GRC.  :)

As for Italy, they have the DOCG or DOC, IGT and Vino De Travola classifications.  As for Australia, the new world, they just specify the GI (Geographical Indications) only.  i.e. Coonawara.

So, remember, you choose to drink an AOC is because you like the wine style.  so, it does not mean that if it is classified under AOC, it is better than VDP.  :)

Also, There is different between Grand Cru & Crand Cru Classe too.  :)


Australian Wine

It is very refreshing.. when you learn history, the geography of Australia and at the same time learn about the wine produced in each region.  This help me to relearn Australia Wine.

So, we learned about Hunter Valley (NSW), Mudgee (NSW), Yarra Valley (Victoria), Tasmania, Barossa Valley (SA), Clare Valley (SA), Adelaide Hills (SA), MacLaren Vale (SA), Coonawarra (SA), Margaret River (WA), etc.

So, the rest of the 5 bottles of wine tasting are all Australian wines.  From Apple Tree Chardonaay, Gumpara Vermentino, Smallfry Riesling, GSM to Grumpana Shiraz.  Here goes another round of see, nose, taste, and describe, etc.


Also, when it says "Shiraz" on the Australian wine bottle label, it has to have at least 85% of the Shiraz.  So, in Australia, they practice, "What you see on your label is what we used to make the wine"  ---> WYSOYLIWWUTMTW ... hahahahaha

Oh ya.... if you want to trust the awards and labels... There are higher chance to get good wine rated from "Royal Sydney Wine show" as it is International not local.

That concludes a fun evening of lesson #2.



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