Let’s go to wine-school!

Happy Thursday, human beings. I started my day with a 3000 yard swim. This week is peak training week for my race on May 4th, but even during peak week it is important to give your body a break from pounding the pavement. Cross training days are a key component of being a balanced athlete. I must say, it felt GOOD to get in the pool, feel the water on my body, and let my mind wander while I counted laps.

Yesterday I happened upon this fantastic article about Bordeaux wine by the New York times’ wine critic, Eric Asimov. Eric has started a project that he is calling Wine School. Each month he is highlighting a variety of wine, selecting three bottles to typify the best qualities of the wine, and inviting his readers to track down and taste any (or all) of his suggestions. At the end of the month he writes up a summary of what peoples’ reactions were to the wine, and gives a little more insight into that style. For example: Bordeaux is famous for improving with age as minute amounts of air react with the wine in the bottle. Decanting Bordeaux, which allows the wine to oxygenate mimics this age-ing process (to a certain extent-but obviously. Eric Asimov encouraged his readers to slowly savor a glass of Bordeaux and observe how the flavors develop over time. I wonder what Eric Asimov would think of Nathan Myhrvold’s (of Modernist Cuisine fame) wine-in-a-blender insta-decanting trick?

I love the idea of Eric Asimov’s Wine School. In his first article in the series he emphasizes that this endeavor is not about TASTING wine: the swishing and spitting routine that erudite sommeliers go through. This project is about DRINKING and experiencing wine: he wants ordinary people to try out lots of different kinds of wine and reflect upon what qualities they enjoy. His writing takes the ivory tower of oenology and makes it approachable, while educational instead of intimidating. I like wine, and I want to learn more about it. I think I will be enrolling in Wine School!

One of my goals for April was to drink more wine, and this seems like the perfect excuse to accomplish that goal! I enjoy wine, but I keep going back to the same few varieties over and over again. I’m excited that this series affords me the opportunity to expand my horizons and try some new things! I missed the Bordeaux assignment for March. That’s a shame (although probably a good thing for my wallet), the last time I drank Bordeaux was when Alli came to visit. That bottle, and that dinner, was AMAZING; I can’t remember what specific vineyard it came from, nor the year–so much of what we enjoy about wine comes from who we are enjoying it with.

Bordeaux with Alli
Rose with my Class-mates in Oregon

This month’s assignment for wine school is: Beaujolais! I am excited, I rarely think to order or buy french wines (for no good reason at all–I just always order spanish wine); maybe I need remedial wine school. The bottles that Eric is recommending are all reasonably priced ($14-$22). He suggests: Domaine du Clos du Fief/Michel Tête Juliénas 2011, Jean-Paul Brun/Terres Dorées Côte de Brouilly 2011, and Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2011. I am going to make an effort to track down at least one of them over the next few weeks. One of the cool things about this month’s column is that Eric gave some specific questions to ponder while drinking the wine: not just about the flavors and how the wine feels in your mouth, but also the emotions you are experiencing when you drink it.

I checked and I should be able to track down these bottles at Wine World in Seattle. I have no excuse…and as a Grad Student I ALWAYS do my homework. I’m looking forward to drinking my way through this curriculum.

OK readers, winos, true believers: Who’s coming to Wine School with me?

What is YOUR favorite kind of wine right now?

6 thoughts on “Let’s go to wine-school!

Add yours

  1. How do you have time to do this?! And did you finally get a shower curtain? And your yoga practice?! You write these blog posts with cliffhangers, and then keep your readers guessing.


  2. Your Dad and I like Bordeauxs which covers a lot of area
    That is all French but goes by different names like Margeaux ,Saint Esteph,and we find it helpful to ask the
    Guy who hangs out in that section of the store. In fact
    They love it when you ask for recommendations. Just make sure they are an employee first.
    As for Beaujolais we usually would drink the nouveau
    Version that is released in the fall.We are going to join
    Wine school and see if it will sophisticate us up any!!


    1. Mom! You got the comments to work! Awesome!

      Dad mentioned y’all like the nouveaux. I think all of the recommended bottles are from 2011 though. I’m excited that you guys will taste along with me. I picked up a bottle of the villages this weekend.


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