On Weekend Flights & Being Super Shit at Blind Tasting
The Pinot Grigio days continue. I get in this weird headspace merchandising all day, which can best be described as Insane. I have taken to chewing large wads of gum, quickly. My car is littered with lipstick-stained Starbucks cups eched with the names of strange women; I do this to spice up the day because This Is What My Life Has Become (but call me Juniper-Louise). It has not helped that my rear car window was smashed and I have been rolling full duct-tape-seran for the last 10 days (#LifeIsTape). I am but a hobo bag lady daring the world to steal my neck tags.
Anyways. You know what isn't the worst?! Booking a last minute flight to Toronto for a staff party at one of the city's most beautiful restaurants.
I bought a jumpsuit for the occasion and surprised no one by my presence (or my jumpsuit), despite pretended I wasn't coming. My colleagues know me too well or I am the worst liar. Both of these are true. Here are some badass photos of the night because all of the fun.
After the party, I went to one of the city's most wicked bars, People's Eatery. It helps that it is owned by two of my favourite people. If you are in Toronto: go there (or their sister bar 416 if you would like to meet Drake). It was loud and cool and full of all these great looking humans. I basically just stared creepily. I had one beer before sending myself home before last call (#vancouver) and 'falling asleep' in my childhood bedroom with maybe my shoes still on. I am an elegant woman of the night.
Speaking of wine, this week marked another Big Wine Event, my first truly blind tasting for the last section of my WSET Diploma. Basically, a silly hard exam on the still wines of the world that consists of all of the theory and two flights of 6 wines blind. I write more about it here if that is a thing you would like to read? No? Okay, cool. Anways, these wines can be from anywhere in the world. You get a little glass and 10 minutes to describe a wine; identifying the country, grape and quality level. Spoiler alert: this is super hard! And yet, possible to learn with excessive drinking. Excessive drinking feels less alcoholic when you bring along books and many glasses and do it in the presence of smart humans every Monday. It also helps when you don't 'fall asleep' with the lights (and your shoes!) on in your parent's house after the consumption.
We tasted 6 wines in total. I identified 0/6 wines. #blindtastingishard I hope to become less shitty at this when I sit for my exam in June.
Here is my first tasting note of the night to give you an idea of how these type of professional bodies want you to talk wine. It is not super sexy, but maybe interesting? Lemme know.
This wine is clear, pale and lemon green. On the nose, it is clean (see: not corked or flawed) with medium intensity aromas of peach, nectarine, lemon rind and elderflower, plus notes of sweet oak (vanilla, butter, toast and cedar). It is youthful (i.e., it is very fresh smelling, indicating a young wine... it could also be 'developing' meaning a wine with fresh notes and notes of age or 'developed' if it there was no fresh fruit and only savoury and dried stuff).
On the palate it is dry (not sweet!) with medium minus acitiy (how tart is it? the wine world uses low, medium - with minus and plus to qualify - and pronounced as their rubric)), medium plus body (how much 'weight' is there on the mid-palate?) and medium flavour intensity (how strong the flavours are -- note intensity of flavour is different than mouthfeel... i.e., olive oil can be viscous and medium+ bodied, but not intensely flavourful depending on the quality. This wine had more body than flavour) with flavours of stone fruit, lemon, oak and quite a perfumed palate with an almost viscous quality. It has a medium finish (how long do the flavours last).
It is a good wine with balanced fruit, floral and oak aromatics (quality assessment! is it acceptable, good, very good or outstanding). It has good acidity and good length. It is pleasant and fresh, but doesn't have the intensity or complexity to merit a higher designation. This wine can be drunk now or aged 3-5 years.
Due to the stone fruit character, medium plus mouthfeel and oak presence, I believe this is a Chardonnay from a new world, warm climate county, likely a more inexpensive, general California appelation such as Lodi.
It was a Chenin Blanc... from South Africa. Chenin Blanc usually has this super high acidity, but this one had quite low acidity and showed so much oak that it tricked me. That said it had this perfumed, floral thing on the nose and palate I just kind of ignored because it didn't fit with my idea on first sniff that OBVI this was Cali Chard because oak bomb, warm climate fruit, I got this boi. The toughest part of blind tasting is not jumping to conclusions and really forcing yourself to go through this boring as shit methodical assessment and then looking at all the pieces and being like okay, what grapes is this definitely NOT? What is left? What are the possible countries or origin? How fine is it? How much does it probs cost (a mix of fineness, grape type and suspected country i.e., nice Cali cab vs. nice Chilean cab = not the same price category)? Blarg. I will let you know when I suck less at this. Is this kind of interesting? Re: professional tasting/ how to teach yourself to taste more methodically?