Last Friday night Mr. Castle was finally able to give me my Valentine’s Day gift! His gift to me was a Wine 101 class. He thought it would be good preparation for our honeymoon in Italy and Paris, where we will surely be drinking plenty of wine! We decided to schedule it a couple weeks before our wedding, figuring it would be a nice break from all the projects we would be working on. It turned out to be a great choice, because after our crazy week we needed to have an evening out!
I wanted to share some of the small tidbits of information I learned from our wine class. I really don’t know much about wine, other than I enjoy drinking it. I’m terrible when it come to purchasing a bottle of wine, though, and that’s where this class really helped. We tried 12 different wines during our two-hour class, and yes by the end we were a little tipsy. Trying such a wide variety of wine introduced me to some new kinds I really enjoyed. As for those I didn’t enjoy, I at least learned to appreciate their unique flavors.
Ready for wine class!
Mr. Castle trying a nice Sauvignon Blanc
One thing I learned, which may totally be common knowledge but I had no idea, was that the different kinds of wine refer to the grape it was made from. I was unaware that Pinot noir, chardonnay, and Merlot, to name a few, were types of grapes. Our tasting was done in pairs, and both wines were made from the same type of grape. He explained how the region the grape was grown in and the way the wine was produced affected the flavor. I don’t know if it was just the California girl in me, but I tended to prefer the California/West Coast wines over the European ones. I was glad to at least gain this small bit of knowledge for the next time I go to pick out a bottle of wine for a party.
We were also taught how to properly taste wine. Our teacher was really great because he was obviously very passionate about wine, but not in a pretentious way. He kept emphasizing the fact that wine is subjective and everyone tastes things differently He explained that the first thing to do when tasting wine is to swirl the glass to give it some oxygen.
Swirling my wine
Next you sniff the wine to take in the scent. After you get a good nose full of the scent, you take a large sip and slurp it in your mouth to get the full taste. I was not very good at the slurping part. He said if slurping is not your thing to at least keep it in your mouth for a bit to take in all the flavor of the wine.
Another great part of our tasting was the cheese that was paired with our wine!
It was so nice to have a fun night out during all the wedding craziness. I highly recommend planning something for you and your love to do a couple weeks before the wedding. It’s nice to do something that takes your mind off the wedding for a couple hours.
Now it may seen like this has nothing to do with our wedding, but in a way it does. My dad decided to take over the task of wedding favors. A good friend of his works at a winery in central California and gave us a great deal on wine bottles to give as favors to all our guests! We will have both a red and white wine for our guests to choose from. We even made our own wine labels for each bottle—more on that later. With our newfound knowledge and appreciation for wine, I can’t wait to try our “custom blend.” And I hope our guests enjoy it as well!
What about you—are you a wine lover? What is your favorite kind? Perhaps I’ll give it a try!
*All photos are personal