Saturday, May 30, 2015

First Vineyard Visit at Whisper Vineyards

So as you may know I've taken a Wine & Beverage class this Spring and one exciting project that my classmates and I were given was that we had to visit a vineyard of our choice and write a 3-5 page report about our experiences, what we saw, fermentation methods, bottling methods, and etc.

I've never been to a vineyard before, nor have I ever done a wine tasting outside of school so this was very exciting, new, and different for me. I obviously couldn't go alone so Will drove and we invited my classmate Elena and our friend Suzanne.

There many vineyards to pick from ,but to save time and with research we visited Whisper Vineyards located in St. James, NY in Long Island.

Vineyard (Outside)
This is the outside and fields that belongs to Whisper Vineyards. It is across the road from the actually tasting room/gift shop. Since we went to the vineyard in April, the grapes weren't growing on the vines yet since the grapes were still in dormancy.

Interior of Tasting Room & Menu
I liked the atmosphere of the tasting area/winery, but in my opinion it was a little small. There were a lot of gifts, wine openers,  an assortment of wines, miniature snacks, and much more. There's a few wooden tables and stands for customers to stand by or sit and enjoy wine tasting.

When we arrived there was a poetry reading, but a friendly and kind woman named Elizabeth assisted us to the best that she could during our visit. She was helpful in answering our questions and explained the types of wine and grapes that was available or grown at Whisper Vineyards.

Will and our friend Suzanne did the "Simply Chardonnay" tasting - $11/flight and had three glasses. Elena wasn't able to participate the tasting because she was under 21 at the time. I tried the "Steel" tasting because it appealed to me most so I chose that instead. 

The "Steel" tasting included a 2012 Pinot Gris, 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Starling Rose, and a 2013 Riesling. I chose the "Steel" tasting because not only the tasting notes on the menu sounded good, but I've recently found myself enjoying drinking and/or tasting white wines. I was the only one that had a tasting that consisted of four different wines.

"Steel" Tasting wines
I forgot to take pictures of the wine and the glass that I tried, but I did take pictures of the actual wine bottles from which the wines I tried came from. So I tried the following:

  • 2012 Pinot Gris 
    • Appearance - pale, yellow, light, no bubbles, clear, and had medium to high viscosity.
    • Smell - like granny apple, citrus-like, and pears.
    • Taste - like granny apples, citrus-like, smooth, and not dry.
    • Conclusion:  I really liked this particular wine and would pair it with a salad or chicken.
  • 2013 Sauvignon Blanc 
    • Appearance - light, gold-like color, pale, clear, and again medium to high viscosity
    • Smell - kiwi, tropical fruits, lychee, no oak, and very fruity
    • Taste - smooth, doesn't linger, not too citrus-like
    • Conclusion - It was refreshing and I would pair it with seafood or cheese (goat cheese)
  • 2011 Rose wine
    • Appearance - orange and gold tint, no bubbles, light, clear, and amber-like color
    • Smell - tropical, papaya, strawberries, fruity
    • Taste - melons, clean and silky finish, strawberries
    • Conclusion -  I would definitely eat this with maybe salmon, salad, and rustic dishes.
  • 2013 Riesling  
    • Appearance - light, pale yellow, medium to high viscosity, clear
    • Smell - pears, copper, tropical fruits
    • Taste - fruity taste like kiwi
    • Conclusion - This wine was okay, but not my cup of tea. I would pair it with chicken, seafood, salad or cheese.
This experience was very different from what I've experienced in class. After our tasting I asked Elizabeth questions, but she said the vineyard manager was not here and if we shot her an e-mail with all our questions, they would get back to us. It took them two weeks to respond and all the responses weren't too helpful with the project.

All in all, I thought the experience at Whisper Vineyards was pleasant, but it definitely could have been better. I enjoyed the wine tasting, the ambiance and atmosphere of the vineyards, and the staff were pretty friendly. I would love to visit a vineyard again, but probably not Whisper Vineyards since they are relatively new and the experience was indeed pleasant, but not excellent. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It was always 5PM in my Wine & Beverage class

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Man it feels good to be back on the blogging and Yelp grind. I am so glad the semester is over because it's been lots of hard work, rough, and stressful. I'd like to share with you my experience in my Wine & Beverage class.

First I'd like to say there's definitely a lot more to wine than what you see, smell, taste, and hear. Wine and Beverage was no joke! There was a lot to learn especially in fifteen weeks and a lot to remember and it was a lot for me to handle. I mean there's different countries, regions, grape varieties, bottling, fermentation methods, and a lot more.

The class is 2.5 hours and we spend 1/2 of the class lecturing and 1/4 of the class  tasting and analyzing the wine/beverage. The other 1/2 of the class is spent setting up for class and cleaning up.

Here is a glimpse of some of the wines we've tried:

French Red Wine
I've learned through a few of my classes that I'm not a super huge fan of red wine. The French red wines we tried were quite dry, high in acidity, and had a tad of bitterness.

 Wines from Southern Hemisphere, Austrailia, New Zealand & South Africa
We also tried wines from Southern Hemisphere, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Most of the wine smelled fruity, herbaceous, and like passion fruits. However, the taste of it was dry, lingers, and a bit of high acidity. I wasn't a fan.

German Wines
I actually enjoyed the German Wines class because German is the Riesling country and the wines we tried were all refreshing and had good acidity. They smelled amazing like pear, citrus,floral, and apples.

My favorite class and tasting was the Champagne class. My favorite one was the Moscato by Cupcake because it was sweet and tasted like lychee. I would like to purchase a bottle of this at some point. I liked most of the Champagne we tried and it smelled amazing very buttery, apple, pear-like, and rich.

Beer & Sake
Our very last lecture class and tasting was a beer and sake class. Honestly, I'm not a fan of beer or sake. It was an interesting class because I always wondered how or what ingredients make beer. As for sake, I learned a little bit more about what I knew already.

Although this wasn't my best class nor did I know too much about wine and beer when I first started, I feel I do know a sufficient amount of information now. I feel a little more experienced in looking for wine to purchase at retail stores and I am so happy that I was taught on how to analyze wine, how to smell and taste wine. 

I've never been a fan of wine before either, but I am definitely going to seek out opportunities for wine tasting this summer and improve my wine knowledge.