When I was in school I spent a month in Florence, Italy, studying art history. While I was there I took a few wine tasting classes. I expected to be given a wide range of different wines to learn about and taste. I had dreams of being educated in the etiquette of how to taste, the history of each type of wine, and the rules of how to serve it.
But in reality, the Tuscan Italians firmly believe that white wine is NOT wine and that red wine goes with everything. Only one rule: take time to savor the flavor. Their wine of choice is chianti, and they don’t believe in chugging. Needless to say, I didn’t have very many different types of wine, but I tried a rainbow of different chiantis.
This experience left me rich with the Tuscan Italian outlook on wine (which I carry with me to this day) but noticably lacking in the terminology, rules and etiquette of wine in general. After reading Brady Sloane’s article in our most recent issue (Fake Your Way Through: Wine), I wanted to try my luck with her tips so I moseyed on over to The Mill with a few friends to try and impress them with my new knowledge.
Okay, well, I tried. Said friends were busy so I went with Michael instead.
We decided we wanted to taste six of the most popular wines at The Mill, three reds and three whites. The reds we tried were the 1221 Cabernet, the T & Pinot, and the House Sweet Red. The whites were Fess Parker, the house Gewürztraminer, and Moscato D’asti. Michael loves dry wine so his favorite was the Fess Parker. I do also really love dry wine, and the Fess was delish, but this particular evening the force was strong with my sweet tooth, so I ended up loving the Gewürztraminer. Sweet enough to satisfy but not overwhelmingly like candy, it has a nice mellow follow up that reminds you it’s wine and not grape juice.
Quick tip for those of you about to try this at home: it helps if you take friends who know about wine themselves. Michael wasn’t much help.
We ended up having a good time and enjoying our wine testers, but we weren’t qualified enough to know if I was using the terms correctly, and I felt embarrassingly pretentious. I just thank my stars this knowledge isn’t mandatory for my daily life. Good news, though: I now have a reference point if I ever need to have a conversation with a sommelier!
Because sometimes we all need a little help from our friends, even when it comes to wine, Scene and I are giving away a Max McCalman’s Wine and Cheese Pairing Swatchbook, just to make things that much easier for you.
To enter, set your privacy settings to public, and share on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter an embarrassing or empowering experience you had with wine using the hashtag #allthingsabilene by February 16. I can’t wait to hear the stories you have to tell!
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@bajaelsol and @AbileneScene