Falkner Winery was the venue and wine was the topic. What better place for a “wino” like me to be? I was immersed in a Wine Appreciation class that was conducted by their assistant Winemaker and sommelier George Myers. This class was extremely educational and I would highly recommend it to both expert and beginning wine aficionados. The four hour class is held the second Saturday of the month and includes a chef’s lunch with pairing of wine as part of the lunch experience.
We began our educational venture learning about the different regions and what wines grow best in the different soils and climates. We learned everything from trellising the vines to provide sun or shade to deficit irrigation techniques. We toured the vineyard and discussed various farming practices. It was brought to our attention about insect damage and how devastating this and disease has been to the wine business.
We were then shown the production facility and the winemaking process. It was interesting to learn about adjusting when harvest should take place depending on the sugar levels desired. Then there are the decisions on how the grapes should be processed and what kind of fermentation will be used, aging and finally blending. There was so much information to be processed that there could have been a whole class just on the barrels.
Now for the fun part—learning how to taste wine like a true professional. As the Roving Wino I considered myself erudite on the subject of wine only to discover how much more there was to learn. We were guided through its mysteries and pleasures by first identifying essences strictly through aroma. We were given 12 different scents to identify and then went on to learn about color, flavor, structure, taste and mouthfeel. We sampled several flights of wine; paired and compared with various foods and vintages. Towards the end we were all a little louder, a little friendlier with one another and definitely enjoying the education. The finale included a chocolate dessert paired with wines that would please most palates.
The four hour class came to an end and we slowly filed out of the barrel room. Each of us left with an enhanced ability to recognize and describe elements of wine. You know you’re committed to achieving wine expertise if you find yourself absent-mindedly taking your coffee cup and using the swirl, sniff and slurp method.
Class size is limited so call in advance to make your reservation. Next class is on December 10th, 2011.
Falkner Winery, 40620 Calle Contento, Temecula, CA 92591, 951-676-8231 x109
photos by Kat Ellis
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