Monday, March 03, 2008

A chemical flashback


Bottles
Originally uploaded by Rune T.

On the way home in the taxi tonight, I was thinking about this blog posting and giving myself a hard time for not quite wrapping up my Las Vegas trip. "What is the point," I mused, "in writing about tonight, when I am about 3 weeks behind in blogland to begin with?".

But then I figured that this is MY blog and hang it if I'm three weeks behind. I think we can all accept that I made it back from Vegas safely, had a great time with JK here, and somehow lived to (soberly) tell the tales. I just choose not to tell them here!

So in the manner of Scott Bakula in his "Quantum Leap" role, let's time travel forward to tonight, so I can give you an idea of what I've been up to.

A shameless plug must first be inserted here for Just Grapes, who threw me a free ticket for tonight's wonderful Wine Blending seminar at their Downtown Chicago store premises. Turning up solo for an event is never my first choice, but tonight I really didn't have any options - everyone I asked was either not interested, or had plans. So I took myself off to the class because the opportunity to be a winemaker for a night was just too tempting to let pass by.

Sitting at my place (at the very front of the room no less), I was confronted by 5 half-glasses of wine, a blending glass, a pipette, and a beaker. I started having flashbacks to Year 12 Chemistry class and then my palms got all sweaty. Winemaking as a science? Who knew!

But I paid attention and understood the basics of how to make sense of the "Fusebox" product released by Crushpad Winery in the Napa Valley. So the challenge became how to make my favourite wine blend from the following Bordeaux wines:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon;
  • Merlot;
  • Cabernet Franc;
  • Malbec; and
  • Petit Verdot.

I have to say that I was very conservative with my blending, partly because I wasn't sure what I was doing, but also because I am still not sure what I really enjoy the most. But I walked away from the 2-hour class confident that I very much enjoy Petit Verdot. And of course, I also learned that Petit Verdot is very seldom seen on wine lists on its own - fabulous.

Still, I am no wine sissy, and I love heavy Australian shiraz but tonight, the Cab Sav was just too overwhelming for me so my blends featured more of the Merlot and Petit Verdot than anything else. Oh and Cabernet Franc just doesn't do it for me - too spicy and dominant.

The beautiful thing about Crushpad is that if you come up with a wine blend that you really like, you can arrange for the winery to produce it for you, and you can buy a case of it with labels that you can print up. What a great idea, huh?

I can't imagine that any of my "Gab's Blends" that I made tonight would ever make to the bottle, but at least I got a good feel for what's involved in winemaking, and another assurance that the ultimate test of a good wine is what you enjoy the most - there is never a right answer.

3 comments:

glamah16 said...

Oh your so lucky. That sounds like fun. Ironicaly I just drove by the place about a hour ago and wondered what was going on in there,etc.

kilabyte said...

Good to see an Ocker in there showing 'em 'ow it's done. That's how Wolfie Blass got started. Go get 'em girl.

kilabyte said...

Come to think of it Courts is a "blender" too ... you oughta see her recipe for an Irish cake in Coco cooks.