Best New (Croatian) Wines You’ve Never Heard Of, Part One | Zoom Wine Class

Croatia’s beaches are world famous, so it’s no surprise Croatian white and rosé wines are the perfect pairing for summer.

DISCOVERING NEW TASTES | For the true wine lover, life is a constant tasting of discovery. This is what the newcomer and the veteran wine lover have in common: the excitement of experiencing a new grape, or a new place, or a new style from anywhere around the world. In this class, we’re discovering Croatia’s signature white grape called Pošip, a full-bodied, seafood ready wine that grows naturally right near the ocean, plus a pretty pink wine from a big red grape called Plavac Mali.

Get ready to learn new grapes and some new geography, but most importantly, you’re be tasting a unique world of wine styles for the very first time with great education and like-minded wine and food lovers.

#RESTAURANTSTRONG | Thank you for tasting great wine for a great cause! Part of each ticket will go to benefit the #RestaurantStrong Fund supporting restaurant people across the country impacted by Covid-19 . And the wines you buy to taste along in class, all that goes right to your local wine shops.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS | I’m going to open and teach these three wines:

2018 Terra Madre “Premium” Pošip

2018 Volarević “Syrtis” Pošip

2018 Volarević “La Chic!” Plavac Mali Rosé

You can order from Solera: A Shrine To Wine at our Roslindale campus. Solera is open for curbside pick-up Saturdays and Sundays right now.

You can also order online from the importer if that’s more convenient. Here are the links to the wines we’ll be tasting:

Terra Madre “Premium” Pošip | Volarević “Syrtis” Pošip | Volarević “La Chic!” Plavac Mali Rosé

HOW ABOUT FOOD? | Here are a few food pairing suggestions. Feel free to use this as a guide, come up with your own ideas and have fun with it all!

Cheese | Ricotta fresca (creamy cow’s milk cheese from northern Italy) and Chèvre (goat’s milk cheese)

Meat | Prosciutto, Jamón Serrano, Speck, other mild white meats

Seafood | Raw bar, flaky white fish, bluefish pâté

THREE WINE GLASSES & A WEBCAM | You can go as big or as little as you like. Taste along with all three plus all the foods, pick one or two that sound especially good, or just tune in and learn about Croatia with whatever you have in your glass.

After you sign up, you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link and password for the tasting class. You’ll receive an email reminder a couple of days before, then a reminder about an hour before class starts.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND | This is an introductory course for beginners and enthusiasts. It assumes some exposure to wine but little or no formal wine knowledge. This program is appropriate for both consumers and professionals in all wine, food, hospitality and service industries.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN | Students will learn technical wine tasting, major wine grapes, wine and food pairing basics, and fundamentals of wine style. The emphasis is on providing an overview of Croatian white wines and where they fit in the world of wine and wine tasting.

PROGRAM FORMAT | 1 hour online program

REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS | Guests, students and certificate candidates must meet the legal minimum age for the retail purchase of alcoholic beverages in the country where the program is being held: 21 in the USA and China.

YOUR EDUCATOR | JONATHON ALSOP is founder & executive director of the Boston Wine School, author of The Wine Lover’s Devotional and In Vino Veritas, and a commentator for National Public Radio on WGBH | Boston Public Radio and Under The Radar.

He began writing about wine, food and travel in 1988 and emerged as a wine expert through his syndicated wine column. He has contributed numerous articles to the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer Magazine, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others.

Jonathon founded the Boston Wine School in 2000 where he teaches wine and food classes in a dedicated 100% snob-free zone. His new book Wine Life: A Collection Of Verses will be published in 2020.

Life Is A Cabernet! | Zoom Wine Class For #RestaurantStrong Fund

Thank you for tasting great wine for a great cause! Here’s how it works.

Proceeds from this tasting class will go to the #RestaurantStrong Fund to support people from the restaurant industry across the country who have been impacted by the Covid-19 closures. And the wines you find to taste along in class, all that goes right to your local wine shops.

WHAT YOU NEED FOR WINE

I’m going to open and teach to these three wines. They represent two broad stylings of north and south American Cab plus the French origin Cabernet style of Bordeaux.

  • 2015 Ravanal ‘Rawen’ Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley, Chile, about $15)
  • 2017 Brady Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles, CA USA, about $20)
  • 2015 Château Les Hauts de Trintaudon (Haut-Medoc, central Bordeaux, western France, about $15)

Order from Solera: A Shrine To Wine at our Roslindale campus. You can also order them from your favorite wine shop. Do not be shy about getting equivalents when you need to – there are lots of other Cabs from Paso Robles and Chile that will work fine too.

THREE WINE GLASSES & A WEBCAM

You can do this as big or as little as you want. Taste along with all three, or one or two, or just tune in and learn about Cabernet with the Cabernet you have in your glass.

After you sign up, you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom address and password (if needed) for the tasting class.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
“Life Is A Cabernet!” is an introductory course for beginners and enthusiasts. It assumes some exposure to wine but little or no formal wine knowledge. This program is appropriate for both consumers and professionals in all wine, food, hospitality and service industries.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
Students will learn technical wine tasting, major wine grapes, wine and food pairing basics, and fundamentals of wine style. The emphasis is on providing an overview of Cabernet Sauvignon and where it fits in the world of wine and wine tasting.

PROGRAM FORMAT
1 hour classroom program

PROGRAM SYLLABUS (tentative)
Seven “S” System Of Wine Tasting | Grape Expectations | Making Wine Matter

  • Bordeaux: Cabernet Through Time
  • Southern Star: Chile
  • Sunny Southern California: Paso Robles

REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS
Guests, students and certificate candidates must meet the legal minimum age for the retail purchase of alcoholic beverages in the country where the program is being held: 21 in the USA and China.

YOUR EDUCATOR

Jonathon Alsop

JONATHON ALSOP is founder & executive director of the Boston Wine School, author of The Wine Lover’s Devotional and In Vino Veritas, and a commentator for National Public Radio on WGBH | Boston Public Radio and Under The Radar.

He began writing about wine, food and travel in 1988 and emerged as a wine expert through his syndicated wine column. He has contributed numerous articles to the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer Magazine, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others.

Jonathon founded the Boston Wine School in 2000 where he teaches wine and food classes in a dedicated 100% snob-free zone. His new book Wine Life: A Collection Of Verses will be published in 2020.

ZOOM

After you sign up, you will receive a Zoom address and password (if needed) for the tasting class.

What Gives Vino Its Veritas?

BOSTON, MA — “In Vino Veritas” doesn’t mean that wine contains some enduring, romantic, artistic truth. It means what we all know: when people drink wine, they talk. They speak truths they say they don’t mean, or at least don’t mean to say out loud. Wine’s active ingredient – alcohol – causes these slips, which is why it’s smart to keep your vino and your veritas far apart.

When we transform into talkative truth mode, we connect back to the specific physical transformative moment when grape juice turned into wine, when its sugar became alcohol, which is what makes this whole conversation possible.

Wine opens a great well of veritas, simultaneously freeing the tongue and focusing description on wine’s exotic flavors. On a biochemical level, this comes directly from the alcohol: one alcohol molecule plus one acid molecule equals one ester molecule, the thing in organic chemistry that makes everything aromatic and flavorful, from nail polish remover to honeydew to brown sugar.

New molecules can be so similar in structure to, just for instance, the honeydew ester that they’re sometimes instantly recognizable. What makes the language of wine a championship of imprecision and challenge is that these molecules aren’t identical, and what we try to talk about is a dimension or two beyond direct comparison. When you do it right, you can drink great wine in the here and now and bring the cosmos in at the same time.

Wine lovers still attribute wine to magic and call wines magical every day. The intervention of Dionysus (Bacchus in Rome) gives you the godly magic component you apparently need to make great wine. Every time I bow my head to put my nose into a glass of wine, I think how wine was once a god and even worshipers today are wine atheists.

What We Write About When We Write About Wine

By Jonathon Alsop

BOSTON, MA — First thing they teach you in journalism school is don’t write what you know. Go out into the great big world and find something new and interesting that you don’t know, that ideally no one knows. Discover it, figure it out, understand something about it, then explain it to other people in writing.
Do that once with anything like style, and congratulations, you’re a writer. Do that once on the topic of wine, and you’re a wine writer.

One of the main challenges of wine writing – as if there even are challenges and anyone anywhere cares about them – is resisting the urge to write about wine as a thing. It’s easy to do because wine is a thing, a wonderful thing, but the most interesting part of wine is not the concrete dimension, but the time churning experience of consuming a wine, having it be deliriously delicious for a moment and then gone forever.

I like the hands-on experience of schiste and loam as much as the next person – soils and weathers and growing conditions explain a lot – but as a wine reader, I want to know what it means more than what it is.

Limestone may well be soil composed of prehistoric sea shells and skeletons, so it’s high in calcium, which makes sense and is interesting on its own, but what’s that taste like in the glass? More importantly, do I like that flavor, and should I start asking for wines from high-calcium soil, or is asking that question going to be as epic a conversation killer as it seems destined to be?

Wine lovers rely on a lot of different sources to inform their wine selections: maybe your own taste or mood, often the people around you at any given table, sometimes a distant, accomplished expert. I like to watch people in tasting class start to connect with their own taste and mood, to see them realize they’re not wrong about Cabernet Sauvignon, they’re just Pinot Noir people, or vice versa. What I write about wine is what we teach about wine: what wine means, what it makes you think and feel, the story behind the story.


Chateau Grand Ferrand "La Palombiere" 2014

2014 Château Grand Ferrand “La Palombière” Malbec
(Bordeaux, western France, 85% Malbec + 15% Merlot, $21.99)

Translate the name of this wine into core English and it comes out 2014 Great Iron Castle “Pigeon Coop” Malbec, which would be an entirely unremarkable name if it was from some Australian or South African iconoclast winemaker. Instead, it merely specifies a particular vineyard – the one with the pigeon coop – where the grapes were grown.

Wines with this much Malbec in the blend are abundantly common in Argentina but not in France. In France, Malbec is a minor blending grape that makes a 2% – 5% appearance in Bordeaux blends, coming in a distant 5th place behind Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Thank you, Argentina, for changing our world view about what Malbec can be and how it can be made. The grape arrived in South America from France in the 1840s, but now the influence is flowing the other way. This Grand Ferrand Malbec is leaner and stonier than examples from Argentina, which makes it an especially ideal match with big red meats and aggressive cheese.