04 May- non-alcoholic wine/beer training?
been thinking about this lately. we had some underage applicants is why it came to mind but then i started thinking about someday when i become an uncle. whenever that day comes that alex has threatened to leave me in charge of whatever child is produced i'd like to start them early on in their palate education. i'm sure alex will take care of honing the child's appreciation for food so it'll be my job to make sure the child grows up with an idea of what to expect in the beer and wine world and possessed of the necessary vocabulary to articulate themselves.
but i like the idea of a bare-bones foundation curriculum and it certainly wouldn't hurt to take myself and the servers through those basic components. you know, acid (lemon juice, maybe), tannin (oversteeped tea), fruit (various kinds of fruit juices). back in the marshall wine training days marshall and i went through several tests with juices in order to exaggerate -and therefore simplify- aromatic and flavor components in a wine. i remember we blended some cherry juice with some cranberry juice and some blackberry juice in varying amounts and came up with sort of a virgin pinot noir. interesting, educational exercises that ended up being more expensive than just buying wine, actually. man, some of those 100% juices are pricey.
trips to the grocery store, farmers market, or plant nursery can be good training if you have the time and energy. take big whiffs of fresh strawberries and tomatoes and tomato leaves. ripe melons and herbs. get a sense of that wonderful garrigue that southern french wines can offer by smelling a bunch of lavender, rosemary, and thyme separately and then together. and don't forget some of the artificial or processed things whose flavors and aromas often find themselves in wine. grab a box of graham crackers and smear them with some raspberry jam for a zinfandelly experience. jolly ranchers seem to have come up frequently in taste descriptors. i saw red twizzlers used to describe a red wine at husk down in that place.
walking through our jasmine-covered arbor might remind you of sarsaparilla, which might bring to mind that
pretty, high-toned sort of vanillin note that delicate oak treatment can offer.
yup. opportunities to learn all around us. and, sure, it may sound ridiculous when a wine review speaks of black cherry, blackberry, tar, and licorice in a wine but when you've got your nose deep in a glass of chianti classico and you're familiar enough with those descriptors it shouldn't come as a surprise to find little suggestions -or sometimes aggressive assertions- of any if not all and more of those descriptors.
if you like to do that sort of thing.