Me, in a few short weeks!Sommelier, here I come!
The Snook and I almost missed our first wine-tasting class tonight because somebody misread the date on the acceptance letter. Tsk, tsk. Anyway, we’re doing this class through the Sydney Uni CCE with Huon Hooke, who’s this pretty famous Australian wine judge and writer. Tonight we learned all about how wine ages and why every wine doesn’t necessarily get better as it gets older. We tasted four different wines, two reds and two whites, and within each we had an older and younger version. (The oldest as a 20-year-old cabernet savignon. Snookums thought it was a bit past its peak though.) It was pretty cool for a novice like me, because comparing them like that made it easy to see the changes. I even managed to ask a good question: “If the big variable in how the wine ages – and whether it goes bad – is the cork, why the heck are we still using them?” Turns out Mr. Hooke is a big advocate of using other things, like plastic corks and screw tops. Huh. I also had a lot of fun watching the hoity-toity grown-ups spitting out each mouthful like professional tasters. Not me, babe. That wine was too good and expensive to waste. The “young” vintages were all, like, $60/bottle, and the older ones didn’t even have prices listed (because apparently the only way you get them is at auction). I believe wine exists to be drunk, so I downed ’em all. Lest you think I was the only lush, though, I’ll have you know that the woman on the other side of Snookums not only drained each glass before we even discussed it, she admonished the guy pouring for not giving her enough. I at least made a pretense of being there for the learnin’. 🙂


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  1. sounds like fun.

    i actually did wine tasting with my school when i was in 9th grade. we went to the camargue in the s. of france for fieldweek. the teachers took us to the listel vinyards.

    we learned how to read the label and how to smell the cork and sniff the wine and then supposedly how to taste. i’m not sure we really ‘got’ it, but we thought it was pretty cool.

  2. That’s so cool. Of course, you could never do that in America. 🙂

    I didn’t really taste good wine until I studied in Germany in ’94. I was only 16, and I honestly hated the taste of alcohol. We did a tour up the Rhine and got to taste some lovely dry local wine. I couldn’t stand it. Nowadays I happily slurp up whatever the Snook puts before me: rieslings, chardonnays, shiraz, cab sav. It’s all good!

  3. All I’m sayin’ is

    FRANZIA in a box, baby! And, hey, where’s the Boone’s Farm?

  4. (on a serious note, i am a recent new big fan of shiraz.)

  5. I’m right with you, Kris, in not spitting out the samples; wine’s for drinking not spitting! That’s a pretty upscale class, too. My tasting experience is confined to vineyard tours, where they give you the $10-20 bottles to taste.

    Sommelier is the word that I can never seem to remember at appropriate times. I did remember it last night while being served a WA Syrah (substitute for the Penfolds Shiraz I wanted but the restaurant was out of), so I had to yell it out “sommelier!” while the waitress was pouring. Manners like this is why I rarely eat at places that have a sommelier.

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