I am amused by all the books and articles that purport to teach us how to taste wine. There is no mystery – you pour the wine in a glass, you put the wine in your mouth, you swallow. Done.
Okay, that’s drinking wine. Tasting is something else, but it’s not nearly the ritual it is often made out to be. The actual act of tasting is pretty straightforward, but getting the most out of that tasting experience is something else again. One advantage we wine professionals have is not only getting to taste a lot more wine than the average consumer, but who we get to taste with. Tasting with other professionals can be an enlightening experience but the best experience I know is getting to taste with a wine maker. Hearing about a wine from the person who harvested the grapes and got them into a bottle can be a revelation, but how many times does a consumer get to do that? Good news – you have an opportunity coming up.
St. Supéry, one of the most visitor friendly of all Napa Valley wineries, is reaching out to consumers with an innovative tasting, offering everyone an opportunity to taste four new releases with Michael Scholz, their enthusiastic and approachable winemaker. Best of all, you can taste with Michael in your home (or, if you are in an enlightened work place, from your office). In a pioneering effort, St. Supéry is setting up a “virtual tasting” online: you order a home tasting kit that includes four wines, a tasting mat, a corkscrew and other paraphernalia, then join an online forum at the appointed time to meet Michael and taste along. Because you have a full bottle of each wine, the tasting will work for a group of six or eight (or if your friends drink like mine, maybe four).
The catch is the date is coming up and you have to order by March 18 to be sure you get the tasting kit in time. I ordered mine and was pleased to discover it also came with some recipes for tapas to make and serve alongside the wines – I feel a party coming on.
If you want to join the fun, here is the link to order the tasting kit from St. Supéry:
The four wines scheduled for the tasting are St. Supéry’s 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Rutherford Estate Vineyard Merlot, 2009 Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Napa Valley Estate Moscato – a great lineup for experienced wine lovers and newbies alike, so invite some friends you want to expose to wine, polish those glasses and fire up the computer.
The tasting will be held twice – on Thursday, March 21st at 7pm EDT and on Saturday, March 23 at 4pm EDT. Michael tells me you will get your kit in time if you order by the 18th, so get on it and we can taste along together online – Michael will lead the tasting and field questions online as well. Santé!