They say It’s the ‘Experience’

I teach only what I believe.  I believe only what I experience for myself and actually end up feeling, from my own view point.  Yes, I teach the facts with every wine class – but in all reality – I also allow folks to ‘experience’ wine from their own point of view.  You know why?  Because ‘feeling’ a wine really goes a very long way.  So when they say ‘Wine is 90% Experience’ – they (whoever ‘They’ are) are not lying. 

Ever shared an unbelievable moment in time with a good bottle of wine?  Did you end up putting that bottle of wine into the ‘Great’ category?  I bet so.  Wine yes, is given value via its sensory profiles: Sight, Smell & Taste ~ yet, we end up giving it more or less value when we ‘experience’ the wine from top to bottom with a great friend, a partner, a special occasion, etc.

Case in point:  My husand proposed to me over a Vintaged Bottle of Krug Rosé Champagne.  Was it amazing?  Yes!  But, I have tasted a lot of really great and some amazing wines through my career.  The bottle of Krug, however, is a taste that I will never ever forget.  Did I ‘technically’ sight, smell and taste the wine – nope, I just drank it as wonderful, beautiful thoughts crossed my mind.  Smiling ear to ear – it is a bottle of wine that had THE most luxurious taste I have ever experienced.  And why, because my fabulous husband asked me to marry him over it.  It still is a bottle locked in its case, empty of course, perched on a shelf in our cellar.  The thought of it brings a tear to my eye.

So with that said- I feel like THIS is one of those times of year where memories are made.  There really isn’t anything like the summer in Minnesota.  With its lush foliage, the somehow tropical smells of its creeks and rivers and its gorgeous landscape.  And yet, for most of my ‘summer occassions’ a bottle of wine is brought along to share amongst the summer setting & memories are born.

JoeWhile this could go down as my most favorite memory of the summer – and although it did not involve wine – it was the smell of the air, the sounds of laughter and the child-like rush I felt of this ‘experience’ – I’ll probably never forget.  A simple boat ride down Minnehaha Creek with my 12 yr old neighbor, Joe.  With a creek well above its normal bank and a kiddo full of more energy and positivity than one can shake a stick at – the day brimmed with ‘experience’.  It was my first trip down our local creek with Joe and I promise, it will not be my last.  The smell of the thick underbrush and leafy green trees overhead – the sight of the fast moving current that created a bit of excitement for us both – and the laughing ‘so hard til it hurt’ memories that truly left me with that  feeling of  ‘what more is there in life’?  Great fun.  Simple.  And perfect.  Thanks to my friend, Joe.

Knowing that summer runs its season quick here in the Midwest, I wasn’t sure I could truly share another ‘off the chart’ summer experience like that within the months to come – yet, there it was – all at once, another immaculate ‘experience’ – just last eve.

I’ve written before on the group and have shared thoughts, videos and posts regarding my all-star female tasting group.  Each post and video shared with excitement – thinking certainly ‘How can the last tasting be topped?’ – knowing that we’ll meet again for another ‘girl power’ wine tasting the following month.  I started the group late last fall because I truly wanted to taste, educate myself more from a ‘blind’ perspective and appreciate wine with a group of women who had the same philosophy and mindset as I did about wine and food.  Turns out, I gathered an outstanding group of 4 + myself and within months, have created with is now the most anticipated date on each month’s calendar labeled as:  The Girl’s Tasting Group

Picnic Table of GalsWe used to meet at my house, but as the tastings went on – we realized that the outdoors weren’t something we could pass up in these hot summer months.  With that in mind, last nite we chose ~ Boom Island Park in NE Minneapolis ~ under the setting summer sun with a theme of Summer Wines – Red, White or Rosé.  After a trek across a few city blocks and fields of rock and wild weeds – we fell into what was, the most perfect summer setting.  With the river at our backs, the city keeping watch over our shoulders, a perfectly set picnic table, the smells of fresh summer foods prepared by each taster and a cooler of delicious wines blindly tin foiled to experience all of its sensory components – it came off as one of my most favorite ‘experiences’.  The wine yes was really really good – but, in all honesty I think the wine ended up almost perfect, because of its setting.  So many of the wines were listed a ‘great’ , ‘a big hit’ or ‘fantabulous’ in many of my notes.  Not that the wines were ALL that smoking hot, but because we were amongst a group of what has become, great friends.  Sisters.  Girls enjoying a perfect July nite, with each other.  Laughing, sharing stories, and occasionally hopping the fence for pee breaks – teasing of poison ivy and poison oak in all the wrong places.  Of course the wines were yes, analyzed with perfect measure from sight to palate, but the wines really did take on that much more because of our ‘experience’. 

And certainly never thinking one could top off the nite with any more enjoyment after packing up a cooler of half empty bottles – we took in one last drink of our summer’s nite over an old railroad bridge, emptying the last bits of wine into our glasses to salute our summer’s picnic in the moonlight – as a group of giggling girls remember a nite of just good old-fashioned clean, fun.  THAT was THE EXPERIENCE.Girls Toast

My word of advice…don’t share your wine with those who won’t appreciate the way you will.  It doesn’t matter the price-point, the varietal, the region, the wine – sometimes, it’s just the company you drink it in.  Salut to more memories and experiences!

For a short bit on the wines we sampled, the following lists our tasting notes of the eve:

Girls Summer Picnic Tasting – July 2011

Crisp dusty mineral bar chalk on the nose
Brite fresh honeydew melon on the palate
Spanish Viura Verdejo
Esperanza Verdejo/Viura

Slightly effervescent
Dawn dish soap & fresh chlorine pool water – green on the nose
Txomin Etxaniz Txakolina – Basque

Cotes du Rhone - EGuigalPink in color!
White pepper ripe strawberry Christmas cranberries on the nose
Blk pepper & balsamic on the palate
Guessed old world Syrah
EGuigal CotesDuRhone Rosé = Delightful

Pink in color again
Supple strawberry w a touch of mint marischino cherries on the nose
Pucker but round & brite
Proprietà Sperino Rosa del Rosa
Nebbiolo Rosé
Big Hit!

Round melons – peachy – tangerine – orange creamcicle – banana boat – banana runt candy on the nose
Banana split – peach puree on the palate
Anne Amie Muller-Thurgau
We loved!

Dk candy Kool-aid in color – Another Pink
Smells kinda chocolatey – wet rose petal – Erin says ‘skunky’  + Medicinal jalapeño on the palate- we’re not sure we like it
Heitz Cellars Grignolino Rosé

Cat piss – ‘What! The cats that are pissing smell dehydrated & most cat pee smells much worse than that. This isn’t cat pee!’ ~ Lindsay’s quote of the nite!
Green bean green grass on the nose & definitely cat pee!
Kind of fat w grapefruit on the palate
Domaine D’Arton Cotes De Gascogne (Colombard, Sauvignon & Gros Manseng)
We think we likey

Fresh almonds Frangelico Almond oil on the nose – Marzapan – Almond Paste
Ground up apple pulp – yummy
Brunori ‘le Gemme’ Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi

MoviaDk apple color
Fresh honey & baked apple  - spiriment – mint oil
Fresh green apple
Quattro Mani Tocai – MoviaPea Crostini
Interesting and rare- stellar
Pea puree & mint crostini sounds like a perfect pairing

Bar chalk Lemon twist  Green bean  Fresh whipped cream
Ripe apricot  lemongrass  Full bodied
Huff Kerner
Loved the disconnect of the nose & palate!

Ripe strawberry & rhubarb on the nose
Green strawberry on the palate – great for the grill
Lori dei Mori Barbera D’Asti

Stinky maderized cherry fruit – dried spice clove nutmeg mace
Fruit compote fig newton nice mouthfeel – ohh, lushy!
Renato Ratti Dolcetto D’Alba

MenciaBing cherry & round plum on the nose
Tapanade olive- nice & easy drinking
La Mano Mencía
Fab w double stuff Oreos

Frizz ante – Red in color
White pepper & raw strawberry stem
Raw cocoa powder – Pretty cool
Gragnano Della Penisola Sorrentina

Oh right, AND who could forget our Croft Pink Port – interesting to say the least!!!

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