Spit or Swallow

Wine ed: A nonconformist’s approach to wine

WHO: Our in-house nonconformist + wine enthusiast Andrea Davis*

WHAT: Wednesday Workshops
Two 5-Week Sections: It’s Elemental (Class 1-5) + Let’s Elaborate (Class 6-10)

WHERE: Central Bottle

WHEN: 6:00 – 7:00 pm | begins June 15th

HOW MUCH: $30/student per class (includes wine/cheese/materials) or $150/section

We’ve decided to put together a fun, comprehensive and casual class on wine.  We want to keep it small and focused (just 12 students). Raising a glass of wine shouldn’t be scary; it should be pleasurable and approachable.

To attend our workshop please call Central Bottle at 617.225.0040 or email info@centralbottle.com.

It’s Elemental (Class 1-5)

Class 1 and 2. I Smell Lemons, You Smell Floor Wax: Learning to Discern Wine Aromas and
Tastes (June 15)

Do you nod vaguely when a friend tells you that the wine you are both drinking smells like wool socks and tastes like roasted beets? Speak for yourself by learning how to pick out the basic aromas and tastes of the most common red and white grapes. In these two classes you will be sniffing the real thing (think lemon zest and bell peppers) and comparing it with what’s in your glass.

Class 1 (June 15) White Wines
Class 2 (June 22) Red Wines

Class 3. Tannins, Acids, Minerals, Wood and Funk: What Are These Nasty Things Doing in My Wine? (June 29)

If certain red wines make the roof of your mouth feel like sandpaper, then you know what tannins are. And if a particular white wine causes you to wince, then you know acid. These are characteristics, not tastes per se, and without them, we may as well be drinking spiked Kool-Aid or White Zinfandel, no offense to the fine folks at Beringer. Learn to love what these components do and how pairing them with the right food makes it all better.

Class 4. All That is Fruity is Not Sweet (July 6)

A Pinot Noir can smell and taste like a bowl of ripe raspberries but taste dry as a bone. A peachy Riesling can taste dry because of a high level of acidity, and conversely, an earthy Barbera can taste sweet because of the high level of alcohol. We shall endeavor to figure out how this is so and why it matters when drinking them with food.

Class 5. Very Basic Rules of Wine and Food Pairing for People Who Question Authority (July 13)

Rule #1. Drink what you like. This isn’t North Korea.
Rule #2. On the other hand, like Lucy and Desi and bagels and cream cheese, certain wines are natural partners with certain foods.
Rule #3. Don’t call them rules. They are guidelines. And you don’t need a degree in physical chemistry to ace this class.
Let’s Elaborate (Classes 6-10)

Class 6. Fizz, Crackle, and Pop: Sparkling Wines for Every Day of the Week (July 20)

There are lots of delicious effervescent wines from Italy, Spain, France and Austria that make life worth living, even on Wednesdays. No need to wait until your graduation, wedding or retirement to enjoy all that sparkles.

Class 7. Cradle to Grave: The Life Cycle of a Wine (July 27)

Just like people, some wines improve with age. That bottle in the back of the fridge may taste better than when it was first opened. Or maybe it won’t. We will see for ourselves by tasting a number of wines at various stages of decay, which like Lauren Hutton at age 68, may be a thing of beauty, or like Bob Dylan at 70…well, maybe not Dylan.

Class 8. Confusion Reigns (Aug 3)

Marsanne and Roussane. Vermentino and Verdicchio. Muscadet and Moscato. Brunello and Barolo. The list goes on, and on, and on. We’ll focus on the ones that we mix up as well. Why do you think we stick post-it notes on our foreheads?

9. Cheap or Expensive: Is It Worth It? (Aug10)

Well, to set the record straight, nothing is cheap in the store. We call it “$15 and Under” and we are very proud of the selection. As far as expensive goes, there are bottles in the pricier range. But is that $33 bottle of Malbec all taht much better than the $14 one? Quality and value are subjective. Or are they?

10. Take Out and Wine Pairings or Not Kentucky Fried Chicken and Meursault Again (Aug 17)

Sometimes a Dr. Pepper won’t cut it, especially when you’ve just brought home a steaming carton of shrimp and lemongrass. We’ve got great ethnic take-out in our acre of Central Square and our more eclectic wines make good partners. Matches are made in heaven — and on Mass. Ave.

*Andrea drank her first glass of wine (Chateau Manischewitz) at the age of 5 and has never looked back. Although she was diverted for many years working as a technical editor, she eventually came to her senses to pursue what she had always loved most: food, wine, and obsessing about them both. Circuitously she ended up Central Bottle, where she can happily combine all three and get paid for it. Andrea attended the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and the Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center at Boston University.