There are a lot of really good ways to spend a Saturday afternoon and going to a wine class is definitely one of them. A couple of weeks ago I signed up for a wine class entitled Building Your Own Palate: Blind Tasting at New York Wine Vintners, hoping to entertain my quasi-wine-o dad, who was visiting for the weekend. And entertainment we got!
We showed up at New York Vintners and were promptly greeted with a glass of sparkling red wine as we entered the door. We then found our seats in the contemporary tasting area, which was already set with six generously poured wines— three reds and three whites. In front of the glasses we were given a description of each wine that we would eventually match with its corresponding glass. Jesse, our knowledgeable instructor, began with a brief crash course on how wines are made, what regions are most suitable for wine and slowly the tasting began.
To our surprise, New York Vintners made a hybrid class out of our Blind Tasting and used the wines for Diversifying Your Palate: Grapes in the Know. This meant instead of your usual wine list suspects, we would be faced with the intense challenge of identifying grapes we had never heard of. On came Torrontes, Schimberg, Kerner (whites)! And Carmenere, Aragonez and Pinotage (reds)! At first I was a little sad that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to test whether or not I really dislike Chardonnay and Merlot, but I realized the uncommon variety forced me to pay more attention to the bouquet of each wine. Did the first white wine have more of a floral aroma with a hint of fresh lavender or did it taste more of grapefruit and sweet corn? We methodically mulled, sipped and identified each wine as Jesse sprinkled in facts about the region and production behind each wine. The staff supplied us with fresh-cut baguette so that we could cleanse our palate, keep focused and pad our stomachs, so as not to leave the tasting completely sauced. My overall score was 4/7, an honorable 57 percent! (The sparkling was kind of a freebie, but who is keeping track?!)
After each course you have the opportunity to purchase the wines from the class for a discount. The wines we tasted ranged from $12 to $40 a bottle, providing a nice array of pricing options. And since this girl is on a budget, I bought the tickets for the tasting through Groupon ($25 for a $50 ticket). Even at full price, the class would be well worth it given the generous pours and informed staff. I will definitely be back to check out the classes with food pairings (pizza, pasta and cupcakes!) that use New York Vinter’s state-of-the-art kitchen space. Oh, and check off Number 24 on the Summer Bucket List!