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Challenge Your Wine Senses

2010 March 11

Foodista Featured Wine Blog of the Day BadgeLast Sunday, my wife, Sheri (@sherimoto), and I went to Calistoga, CA and participated in a truly fun and unique experience in wine country. Our friend, Marcy Gordon (@marcygordon), a fellow blogger, invited us to join her and a group of wine bloggers at Wine Sensory Experience.

As their website states, Wine Sensory Experience helps you develop sensory memories that you can store and recall later when tasting wine. Being able to accurately describe a wine and make good tasting notes is an important part of wine tasting. At least, it is for me, so this class was a really fun and enlightening experience.

We experienced 25 different aromas and tasted some chocolate with several unknown ingredients. We also found out first-hand how glass shape affects your wine experience. 20 of the aromas and 6 different chocolates were sniffed and tasted blind. T’Anne Butcher, the owner and our wine educator, used black wine glasses so we couldn’t see the contents.

Among our group of distinguished sniffers, John Corcoran (@DrncPno), managed to guess 17 different aromas and tastes, which is extremely good. Yours truly only managed to get 10 correct, mostly in the barrel aromas category. Even Sheri did better than me. Surprisingly, one of the aromas that I missed was bacon.  I attribute my poor showing to allergies and the fact that the bacon wasn’t cooked. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

After challenging our senses, we were able to taste some of the wonderful W.H. Smith wines that T’Anne’s parents Bill and Joan Smith produce at their Howell Mountain estate from fruit grown on their property and the Sonoma Coast. It was an opportunity to put our sensory experience to use.

Thanks to T’Anne and Marcy for such a fun and memorable event. I recommend this to anyone wanting to improve their wine tasting experience.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. March 11, 2010

    Sounds fun. I really enjoyed the two day Sensory analysis class at UC Davis.
    Have to see if we can do one of these locally in Healdsburg.

  2. March 11, 2010

    I love those kinds of experiences! I took Sensory Evaulation at NW Wine Academy, but could do it over and over and keep learning. Have you heard of any wineries doing this in Washington state?

  3. Eric Hwang permalink*
    March 14, 2010

    Napa Valley Tweetup at MondaviI always wanted one of those wine sensory kits that they sell for hundreds of dollars, but this was a great experience and costs much less. Coincidentally, I went to the Napa Valley Tweetup at Mondavi and they claim to be the originators of the sensory experience. That evening, they had over 45 different glasses with fruits, herbs, and various other aromatic substances all lined up. Albeit, they weren’t in black glasses, but it was interesting to note how vastly different a few things actually smelled versus my own particular aroma memory for that substance. For instance, butter just didn’t smell that much at all. I think that I remember smelling it more from cooking with it rather than in solid form.

    It was an interesting display and I was disappointed to hear that they may stop doing it since it’s rather costly to put fresh ingredients in those glasses.

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