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Wine Tastathon?

Well at least that is what it seems like. My liver and I are not on speaking terms due to the fact that it blames me that it did not get the memo that this week was and will be INTENSELY packed with wine tastings.

To begin the week/wine tastathon, I spent all afternoon Sunday down in the Rhone region of France, at a huge wine tasting salon. I guess you could say I went “Rhoning with my Homies” for those of you who don’t get that…watch this song “Rolling with the Homies” by Tupac & Coolio.

We were given free entry tickets by my friend Fei Li (2nd from left) who received them after doing an internship at Chateau Guery (Mr. Guery shown in the middle) located in the south part of France in the wine producing region called Languedoc-Roussillon, specifically in the Minervois AOC. Grape varietals that are used in Minervois are Aspiran, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Lledoner pelut, Mourvèdre, Piquepoul, Syrah and Terret for Red Varietals and Bourboulenc, Grenache, Macabeu, Marsanne, Roussanne and Vermentino for the White Varietals. Click Here for more facts on Minervois.

I rather enjoyed a unique wine of theirs called L’Esprit d’Eloi which is made only from the grape variety Petit Verdot. It is very unusual to make a wine of only this variety, but it was nicely put together and great for a nice steak dinner. We were torn between buying that or their late harvest sweet wine, d’Or et de Givre made of the grape varietals, Macabeu (70%) and Viognier (30%). These grapes are harvested around October/November and are dried on the vine (passerillés in french), overripe (sur-mûris) and botrytised (botrytisés) aka have noble rot. Now I am more of a red wine gal myself, but I need to step outside my comfort zone and it is not everyday you find a reasonable priced sweet wine of decent quality, so we bought the sweet wine.

Here is the view of the wine tasting salon

So many wines, so little time!

Here are some displays from the booths we bought wine from…




Independent Winemakers Wine Salon: Wines of Authentic Personalities

This was my checklist =)

Finally I went up against the beast!! I was obvi not driving, but I thought it would be fun to see what damage I had done in 2ish hours.

Try number one, the machine couldn’t read my try. Try number two, all the screen said is do not drive, it wouldn’t even give me a number. Everyone else in my group got a number and we all tasted about the same amount, (except for the driver of course =). Either my lung capacity is outrageous and I just was “inserting too much air” or I am a reproduction temple for alcohol.

Next on the INSANELY intense wine tasting week is one whole week with a Master of Wine Steve Charters giving us a one week crash course wine class on wines of the world. Obvi we taste lots of wines in each AM class and do tasting notes/analyze them. (There are only 240 ish Master of Wine in the world. It is ridiculously hard to pass the test, as in 7% passing rate! See a previous entry I posted on Steve Charters when he came to guest lecture for my Masters program back in October)

I am talking 3 hours a day for one week having our heads stuffed to the brim with wine knowledge and tasting. We have round 2 in May and then a final exam for this course to include a wine tasting portion of 6 wines, one essay portion on some wine topic, a portion where we identify grape types on a map of a country and then discuss the grape types characteristic and why it has them, then a simulated wine tasting we have to put on in which we are given a scenario and we have to discuss which wines we would pick for the given tasting and why. With all the preparation I will do for this exam, I might as well just take the WSET Level 3 Exam in May. WHICH I THINK I WILL!! MORE TO COME ON THIS LATER.


Below are some wines we tasted during our Rhone/Southern France course…I will spare you descriptions of the wines below as this post is already quite long and I have another wine class in 8 hours =)





After the course on Monday of the RHone/South of France Wines, we had our regular bi-weekly tasting at the best wine shop in Dijon, O Gre du Vin. This time the theme was 2000 Bordeaux’s (except one treat, a 1996 Bordeaux) Yes, we are that cool! Again, I will leave you with just some photos.

Then we had our 2nd day wine class on the Alsace and Burgundy regions. But silly me forgot my camera…so no photo evidence of that. Then after class I attended an Italian Wine & Appetizer Tasting!

My live made me hide behind my wine glass because it is scared. This wine week is kicking my liver’s butt!

A real Italian presenting the wine! He is also doing his Microbiology post-doc research on diseases found in the vines and in the wine. Whew! I thought what I was studying was tough! Here is what we had:

Some Arugula & Anchovie Paste on Toast. YUMM!!

Pickled Capers with some cool looking bread crisps.

Do those capers resemble what I think they resemble? or am I the only one channeling my inner teenager…??

For the wine, we had a Vermentino de Sardegna, a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a Nero D’Avola and a Prosecco.


And it is only TUESDAY!! Ahhhhh!

I am sorry I left our some tasting notes/descriptions. I have gone through so much tasting recently, I could have split this into 4 posts, easily. But I chose to combine these together so we can keep up with the pace. Once the week is over, I think I will go back and do more of a recap of what I learned from all this wine tastings. Pray that my liver holds out for this week=) This is going to throw my drinking diary way off! Thank goodness we have to spit out the wine in our wine course…or else my liver would have packed up and left already. I am going to attempt to exercise tomorrow, I bet you my sweat will be like a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, having the possibility of consisting of 13 grape varietals.

Vinously Yours & Vinously Speaking
The Ceci Sipper

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