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.


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.

Wine Word Of The Month: “Lean”

By Jonathon Alsop

BOSTON, MA — It’s hard to speak the language of wine because it’s a language invented by drunk people, but wine lovers blame themselves for the convoluted vocabulary. Talking about wine is like writing a poem where multiple literal and metaphorical images appear and overlap. But it would help if we could get clear on a few basic words.

Someone threw the word “lean” into the mix the other night in class to describe the body of an Italian Pinot Grigio we were tasting. The opposite of “lean” is “fat” or “big and round” – think archetypical California Chardonnay. The PG in question was light in weight and silver in color, edgy, zippy, a little watery, but in a good way.

We use a lot of body image descriptors to talk about wine – a big red can be legitimately called a “body builder” – and they are a natural way to think and talk about wine.

HOMEWORK: Use it in a sentence. For instance: “I want a glass of white wine, something lean and light.”

Paolo Valle Pinot Grigio 2016

Something lean and light? Here you go!

One of the challenges with Italian Pinot Grigio is that it’s extremely different depending on where it’s grown in Italy. Sometimes, grown hot and wild in the south, Pinot Grigio comes off thin and watery, but not this one. Friuli is the foothills of the Alps – next stop, Austria and Slovenia – and the growing season is long and cool. What slow cooking does for food, slow growing does for wine. The result is a suave, rich Pinot Grigio to pair with seafood of all kinds, wild mushroom risotto, even fragrant veal and pork dishes.

2016 Paolo Valle Pinot Grigio
100% Pinot Grigio
(Friuli, northeast Italy, $18.99)