Wine Class, the finale.

Last night was our last wine class. We tried four Shiraz/Syrah – South Africa, Chile, California, and Australia. My favourite of them was actually the South African “Goats Do Roam in Villages“, by Charles Back’s Fairview winery (he’s being sued by the French on trademark issues). Then, since it was the final class, our instructor brought out three covered bottles, and we had to try and guess the country of origin and age.

First one was deep, old gold in colour, and smelled like a fake Christmas tree just brought up from the basement. Thick texture, similar to ice wine, very sweet, and just AWFUL. Sherry and I both had reactions not unlike those of a child trying a vegetable for the first time that is destined to become Most Hated. The wine, as it turns out, was a 1985 Sauterne. Quite similar to ice wine (which I can’t stand – love the texture, hate the sweetness). Sauternes get concentrated by what they call the “noble rot”, which is a very specific grape fungus that they pray will come each year, since they can get a helluva lot more for their wines if it does. (Whereas the juice from grapes used in ice wine – typically Vidal – is concentrated because the water in them is frozen and doesn’t come out with the rest of the juice when pressed.) Not a fan of the Sauterne at all, which is probably good, since the best one the LCBO carries is $629. 🙂

The second bottle poured out something that was brownish and had a lot of sediment. Positively menstrual, to be honest. It smelled sweet and old and had a weird, synthetic note and almost rotted fruitiness. Definitely past its prime. Ironically, I guessed correctly that it was Portuguese, in the 25-year-old range, and a port. I was from 1983, I believe. The irony is that I can’t stand port (and this WAS past its prime). (Apparently 1977 was an amazing year, 1983 was just okay.)

The third… OH MY GOD. So opaque as to be nearly inky, dark, purplish plummy colour, huge, rich, leathery, “manly” bouquet that just made my whole face warm. Big, mouth-filling flavour, with more leather and an almost bitter gingerbread-y spice. Quite dry, very tannic, fairly high acid, but insanely high fruit to cover/balance that. WONDERFUL. Sherry and I guessed right that it was from Australia. I thought it was between 5 and 10 years old, but it was a 2001 Pirramimma Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s $24.95 at the LCBO and I am SO getting some. Told Andrew about it, too. He’ll LOVE it.

Technically, I should be a certified wine snob now. Fortunately, I am also poor, which keeps me humble. 🙂