This was not my first rodeo. Shortly after Cellar Rat opened, a friend and I went to the wine store’s basic Wine Essentials class to learn about the five S’s of wine tasting–See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor. Having accomplished those feats, we decided it was time to take a more advanced course and, with our husbands, opted to learn about Old World v. New World wines.
Jeff was our guide–a teacher by day and wine guru/expert by night. He’s extremely passionate about wine and it shows in the depth of his knowledge and enthusiasm.
We tasted both whites and reds, 8 wines in all, and Jeff explained how to distinguish between Old World, or European (France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal), and New World wines, those made in North America, South America, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia. The winemaking process is different, as is the flavor profile. Old world wines tend to be smoother and more subtle, relying on the terroir (the particular characteristics of the land and soil), while New World wines tend to be bolder, more reliant on the skill of the winemaker, and more ready-to-drink without the need for cellaring. Although these are generalizations, if you go to the wine class, Jeff will provide you with more specific characteristics of both Old and New World wines.
During the course of the evening, Jeff also offered suggestions for navigating a restaurant’s wine list, explaining which varietals to look for that are usually reasonably priced, as opposed to Napa Cabs that are typically marked up the most.
After the class, Jeff took those that were interested around the store to point out some good values on the Cellar Rat shelves. Rather than reveal his secrets, I’ll let you take the class and find out for yourself!
I highly recommend signing up for a class. It was fun and educational, and we sampled some really nice wines. It would be a fun date night, with just your sweetheart or another couple.