Red Wine For White Wine People | Zoom Wine Class

Every now and then, we have a student at the Boston Wine School who hasn’t fallen in love with red wine… yet!

IT’S ALL A MATTER OF TASTE We get it: red wine – especially big brawny red wine – can be an acquired taste. The weight of red wine can make it feel very dense and heavy. That grippy, tannic texture can take a little getting used to. And some people just prefer their wine much colder than we traditionally serve reds. In this class, you’re going to learn three major techniques everyone can use to help white wine people find their way in the red wine end of the spectrum. We’ll start with Beaujolais – traditionally the easiest of the red wines – then try a couple of deliciously light red grapes from Italy you’ve probably never heard of. Taste is a thing that is constantly growing, and we’re going to help make it easy to grow in new directions!

#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.

2017 Domaine Pascal Aufranc “Vignes de 1939” Chénas (Beaujolais, central France)

2017 Caparra & Siciliani “Solagi” Gaglioppo (Cirò , Calabria, southern Italy)

2017 Nals Margreid “Galea” Schiava (Alto-Adige, northern Italy)

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 them from your favorite local wine shop. Do not be shy about getting comparable wines if you need to – there’s a ton of great equivalents out there that we can easily learn from too.

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

Beaujolais + Brie | Camembert | Roasted black grapes

Gaglioppo + Mushroom pâté | Smoked bluefish | Green olives

Schiava + Melon & prosciutto | Ricotta fresca | Grilled peaches with balsamic glaze

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 wine 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 an hour before class starts.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND “Red Wine For White Wine People” 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, red wine grapes white wine people are going to love, wine and food pairing basics, and fundamentals of wine style. The emphasis is on providing an introduction to red wines, building wine vocabulary, and becoming fluent in expressing your own wine tastes.

PROGRAM FORMAT 1 hour online program

PROGRAM SYLLABUS (tentative) Seven “S” System Of Wine Tasting | Feeling Red Wine | Food Friendly

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.

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.