Exploring the Grape
By Janice Zimolzak
The Food and Wine Fall Festival, a Sunday afternoon at Dos Buhos in the midst of three gorgeous hectares with a ten-year history of wine production, will naturally be centered on a wine tasting. Guests will partake in the sensory examination and evaluation of five naturally fermented wines, perfectly paired with culinary delights selected and prepared by 10 of San Miguel’s most celebrated chefs.
Just the words “wine tasting” can be daunting for some, and understandably so. Tastings have been going on since the 14th century, but specialized terminology used to describe wine has constantly evolved. While words like “tannin,” “lush,” and “stony” easily fall from the lips of professionals, it is nearly impossible for the layman to keep up. However, once you know what you are looking for, wine tasting becomes fun and easy. It must be fun—after all, the practice has been popular for seven hundred years.
If the ritual is foreign to you, you need only follow these few simple rules. First, hold the glass up to the light to check the wine’s color and clarity. Clear and bright are generally best, but it is also possible that the winemaker decided against removing the natural haze. Next, you tilt the glass. Look for color variations from the center to where the wine’s surface meets the glass. A white wine may go from a straw-colored center to a greenish hue, while a mature red may show a brownish tinge at the edge. Color offers clues about age and variety, but not quality.
Next, you sniff. Eighty percent of wine tasting is olfactory. Is it floral? Fruity? Spicy? Does it remind you of something familiar? Does any particular scent stand out? Now aerate the wine by swirling it. If you are new at this, it’s safer to put the glass on a flat surface and move it in a circular motion, especially if you are wearing a “dry clean only” label. Then sniff again. You might notice aromas that were not obvious the first time. Finally, its time to taste. Take a swig and swish it around your tongue and teeth. Is it sweet, acidic, or both? Does it feel lush and creamy or light and crisp? Does one flavor overwhelm the other, or does the wine seem balanced? Finally, you get to swallow. Did the flavor linger? Most importantly, do you want more?
The wines will be accompanied by foods that complement, but the food and wine will also be specifically paired to enhance each other. Ten of San Miguel’s top chefs have each chosen one of five wines, and you will have the pleasure of savoring each one paired with two different culinary offerings. We will tell you more about the participating restaurants, exciting musicians, specialized live auction, and more in next week’s edition of Atención.
The Food and Wine Fall Festival, October 18, at 1pm, will honor Tony Adlerbert and How-ard Gleason, past presidents of Feed the Hungry San Miguel. The event will benefit the Feed the Hungry meals program. Tickets are available online at www.feedthehungrysma.org, at La Conexión, at La Biblioteca, or from any FTH Trustee.