Wine 101: How to Taste Wine & Why (Class + Dinner) | Boston Wine School @ VINOvations

Not sure if you know the difference between red, white and rosé? What are sparkling wines and why aren’t they all called Champagne? How does Sauvignon Blanc differ from Cabernet Sauvignon?

The Boston Wine School is here to help answer those questions and more. “Wine Tasting for the Complete Novice” is an ideal class for wine lovers just starting their explorations of wine. You will learn about the 4 major wine styles and focus in on 4 of the most popular wine grape varieties. In the process, you will begin to learn basic wine tasting skills and how to describe the different personalities of these wines. An assortment of cheeses and antipasto will be served during class to introduce some of the fundamentals of pairing wine and food.

Here at the Boston Wine School, we are a 100% Wine Snob Free Zone. We believe that learning about wine involves learning more about yourself. Our goal is to help you understand and communicate what you are experiencing when you are enjoying a glass of wine. Come start your wine journey with us.

After class, put your education to the test over a delicious catered wine dinner. We’ll make a major food match with an Italian white and red specially selected for the menu.

DINNER MENU (tentative) 

Pollo Cristina | Chicken baked in nutmeg and wine

Spinaci alla fiorentina | Baked spinach with mushroom (vegetarian)

Timballo | Penne pasta baked in cheese sauce with roast eggplant crust (vegetarian)

Flourless chocolate cake with balsamic glaze | Fruit

Pinot Grigio | Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

 YOUR EDUCATOR 

Jonathon Alsop is founder and executive director of the Boston Wine School and author of The Wine Lover’s Devotional: 365 Days of Knowledge, Advice & Lore for the Ardent Aficionado published by Quarry Books.  Jonathon started life as a wine writer covering wine, food and travel in 1988. He is author of the long-running wine column In Vino Veritas by Jonathon Alsop as well as many articles for the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others. He founded the Boston Wine School in 2000 where he teaches wine and food classes.

YOUR HOST VENUE

VINOvations is a state of the art destination for wine lovers who want more than just the usual.  We strive to enhance our customers wine drinking experience by offering a vast selection of boutique wines from around the world.  We offer our guests the charm and amenities of a winery: our unique 2500 sq ft. event space includes a 40 bottle automated wine tasting room, private tasting stations, dual Chef’s Studio Kitchen, wine education & much more.

BWSEd Level 2: Certificate in Wine and Wine Tasting | Boston Wine School @ VINOvations

Saturday + Sunday | July 20, 10am – 3pm | July 21, 10am – 5pm

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

Level 2 is a foundation course for experienced beginners and enthusiasts. It assumes basic exposure to wine and some technical wine tasting knowledge. This program is appropriate for both consumers and professionals in all wine, food, hospitality and service industries.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

This program focuses on the unique role that place plays in the world of wine. Students will learn the major wine regions of Europe, how wine making techniques influence wine style, and the language of wine. The aim of Level 2 is to provide a broad range of knowledge about wine history, wine agriculture, and wine making.

LEVEL 2 PROGRAM FORMAT

10 hours classroom program

24 – 30 wines tasted

Online multiple choice exam | 25 questions | Minimum passing score 75%
Wine tasting exam | 3 wines | 4 short-form questions | 1 essay question

LEVEL 2 SYLLABUS

DAY ONE, PART ONE | 10am – 12 pm
Veni Vidi Vino: Wines of Italy

DAY ONE, PART TWO | 1 – 3pm
Tour de France: Fundamentals Of French Wine

DAY TWO, PART ONE | 10am – 12pm
The Language Of Wine
– Wine And Words
– Wine Label Interpretation
– Best New Wines You’ve Never Heard Of

DAY TWO, PART TWO | 1 – 3 pm
Wine And Cheese: Making The Perfect Match
– Fundamentals of Wine & Food Pairing
– Wines of California, Oregon & Washington

DAY TWO, PART THREE | 3 – 5pm
Online multiple choice exam
Wine tasting exam

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.

CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS

Multiple choice exam of 25 questions
Wine tasting exam of 3 wines, 4 short-form questions, and 1 essay question
Complete classroom program
Complete classroom wine tasting exercise

Night In Italy (Class + Dinner) | Boston Wine School @ VINOvations

Join us for for the ultimate in virtual wine tourism: a wine and food tour of Italy without ever leaving the Boston Wine School!

Get yourself ready for a broad range of Italian wines, from crisp whites to gutsy bold reds. This class is going to experience the whole geography of what Italy has to offer.  Wine is produced in every region of Italy, and we are just going to scratch the surface when it comes to exploring the thousands of different varieties and styles of Italian wine.

Appetizers and cheese will be served during class to introduce some of the fundamentals of pairing wine and food. You’ll experience the culinary sights, smells and tastes of Italy via your wine glass and plate.

After class, put your education to the test over a delicious catered wine dinner.   We’ll make a major food match with an Italian white and red specially selected for the menu.

DINNER MENU
Please understand the menu is subject to change based on availability, chef creativity, teacher whimsy, and more!

Timballo | Baked pasta with eggplant
Spinaci alla fiorentina | Baked spinach
Pollo Cristina | Chicken baked in wine & sage
Insalata mista | Mixed green salad
Citrus polenta cake with balsamic strawberries

YOUR EDUCATOR

Jonathon Alsop is founder and executive director of the Boston Wine School and author of The Wine Lover’s Devotional: 365 Days of Knowledge, Advice & Lore for the Ardent Aficionado published by Quarry Books. Jonathon started life as a wine writer covering wine, food and travel in 1988. He is author of the long-running wine column In Vino Veritas by Jonathon Alsop as well as many articles for the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others. He founded the Boston Wine School in 2000 where he teaches wine and food classes.

YOUR HOST VENUE

VINOvations is a state of the art destination for wine lovers who want more than just the usual. We strive to enhance our customers wine drinking experience by offering a vast selection of boutique wines from around the world. We offer our guests the charm and amenities of a winery: our unique 2500 sq ft. event space includes a 40 bottle automated wine tasting room, private tasting stations, dual Chef’s Studio Kitchen, wine education & much more.

Southern France: Wines of Provence and Languedoc | Boston Wine School @ Roslindale

Wine making in southern France is almost 1,000 older than the rest of the country, and you can really taste it.  Sunny southern France is home to some of the country’s oldest and most interesting vineyards, almost 800 years older, in some cases, and growing a diverse range of grapes from Syrah, Grenache & Mourvedre to the unheard of Carignane, Cinsault, Bourbelenc & more.

This class will take you on a wine tasting tour of Mediterranean France from coastal Provence to hilly Languedoc.

An assortment of cheese & antipasto will be served during class to explore the fundamentals of wine & food pairing.

 

YOUR EDUCATOR 

Jonathon Alsop is founder and executive director of the Boston Wine School and author of The Wine Lover’s Devotional: 365 Days of Knowledge, Advice & Lore for the Ardent Aficionado published by Quarry Books.  Jonathon started life as a wine writer covering wine, food and travel in 1988. He is author of the long-running wine column In Vino Veritas by Jonathon Alsop as well as many articles for the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others. He founded the Boston Wine School in 2000 where he teaches wine and food classes.

 

YOUR HOST VENUE

solera

 

Solera – A Shrine to Wine is a neighborhood specialty wine store nestled in the heart of Roslindale Square (Boston). The store, now in its 18th year is warmly decorated in green and deep purple resembling the colors of the grapes and filled with rack after rack of “offbeat wines”, pretty much everything a modern wine geek seeks out and loves, at more than reasonable prices. Indeed, with nearly 500 bottle selections from across the globe, unlike the monster chain stores and supermarkets, Solera takes a back seat to none and offers a stellar sampling of the world’s best and some unusual vineyards with average prices from 10 to 20 dollars or more, if your budget allows. Since wine education, and customer service are vital to our business, individual attention to the customer is the reason why the press has designated the Solera staff as “well versed grape-talkers”. When you want to smarten up on your wine there is no better place to do just that than in this little gem of a store, where wine is constantly being discussed with purpose and a smile!

BWSEd Level 1: Certificate in Wine | Boston Wine School @ VINOvations

Level 1 Certificate in Wine
Saturday + Sunday, June 22 + 23, 10am – 3pm each day


WHO SHOULD ATTEND
Level 1 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, the major wine grapes, wine and food pairing basics, and fundamentals of wine style. The emphasis in Level 1 is on providing an overview of wine and wine tasting, plus an introduction to wine and food pairing concepts.


LEVEL 1 PROGRAM FORMAT

8 hour classroom program                                                                                                             

20 – 24 wines tasted

LEVEL 1 PROGRAM SYLLABUS

Seven “S” System Of Wine Tasting
The Big Four: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon
Understanding Wine Grapes: Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Rosé, Montepulciano, Syrah, Merlot
Fundamentals Of Wine And Food Pairing
Wine Styles: Old World Versus New World

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.

CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS

Complete classroom program

Complete classroom wine tasting exercise

Multiple choice exam of 25 questions

Minimum passing score 75%

 

YOUR EDUCATOR   Jonathon Alsop

 

 

Jonathon started life as a wine writer covering wine, food and travel in 1988. He is author of the long-running wine column In Vino Veritas by Jonathon Alsop as well as many articles for the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others. He founded the Boston Wine School in 2000 where he teaches wine and food classes.

 

HOUR HOST VENUE

VINOvations is a state of the art destination for wine lovers who want more than just the usual. We strive to enhance our customers wine drinking experience by offering a vast selection of boutique wines from around the world. We offer our guests the charm and amenities of a winery: our unique 2500 sq ft. event space includes a 40 bottle automated wine tasting room, private tasting stations, dual Chef’s Studio Kitchen, wine education & much more.

VENI VIDI VINO! Fundamentals of Italian Wine | Boston Wine School @ Roslindale

Tasting, thinking & talking about wine!

Join us for a wine and food tour of Italy! Wine is produced in every region of Italy, and we are just starting to scratch the surface when it comes to exploring all the different varieties and styles of Italian wine. Experience the culinary sights, smells and tastes via your wine glass and plate. By the end of the class, you will know your Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from your Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo!

This 2 hour class will take you on a mini-wine tour of Italy. An assortment of cheeses will be served during class to introduce some of the fundamentals of pairing wine and food.

YOUR EDUCATOR 

Jonathon Alsop is founder and executive director of the Boston Wine School and author of The Wine Lover’s Devotional: 365 Days of Knowledge, Advice & Lore for the Ardent Aficionado published by Quarry Books. Jonathon started life as a wine writer covering wine, food and travel in 1988. He is author of the long-running wine column In Vino Veritas by Jonathon Alsop as well as many articles for the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others. He founded the Boston Wine School in 2000 where he teaches wine and food classes.

 

YOUR HOST VENUE

solera

Solera – A Shrine to Wine is a neighborhood specialty wine store nestled in the heart of Roslindale Square (Boston). The store, now in its 18th year is warmly decorated in green and deep purple resembling the colors of the grapes and filled with rack after rack of “offbeat wines”, pretty much everything a modern wine geek seeks out and loves, at more than reasonable prices. Indeed, with nearly 500 bottle selections from across the globe, unlike the monster chain stores and supermarkets, Solera takes a back seat to none and offers a stellar sampling of the world’s best and some unusual vineyards with average prices from 10 to 20 dollars or more, if your budget allows. Since wine education, and customer service are vital to our business, individual attention to the customer is the reason why the press has designated the Solera staff as “well versed grape-talkers”. When you want to smarten up on your wine there is no better place to do just that than in this little gem of a store, where wine is constantly being discussed with purpose and a smile!

Taste Off: Napa Versus Sonoma | Boston Wine School @ Lantera Boston Landing

Napa and Sonoma – neighboring counties, fabulous wines, and famous rivalry.  Most everyone has heard of these powerhouse wine producing regions, and many people have a clear favorite between the two.  Why do California wines from Napa and Sonoma stand out from the rest?  What distinguishes them from each other?

Explore these questions and more at the Napa vs. Sonoma Taste-Off.  We will provide some head-to-head match-ups of wines from these regions and let you be the judge.  In the process, you will learn basic wine tasting skills and how to describe the different personalities of these wines.

Appetizers and an assortment of cheeses will be served during class to introduce some of the fundamentals of pairing wine and food.

At the end, you can cast votes for your favorites, and we will declare a victor of this installment of the Taste-Off.

YOUR EDUCATOR

 

Jonathon Alsop is founder and executive director of the Boston Wine School and author of The Wine Lover’s Devotional: 365 Days of Knowledge, Advice & Lore for the Ardent Aficionado published by Quarry Books. Jonathon started life as a wine writer covering wine, food and travel in 1988. He is author of the long-running wine column In Vino Veritas by Jonathon Alsop as well as many articles for the Associated Press, Frequent Flyer, La Vie Claire, Beverage Business Magazine, Mobil Travel Guides, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Boston Globe, and many others. He founded the Boston Wine School in 2000 where he teaches wine and food classes.

YOUR HOST VENUE

Lantera is a word meaning “beacon”, and it’s the heart and soul of the new 15-acre Boston Landing neighborhood. Apartments feature floor-to-ceiling windows, premium finishes with stainless steel appliances, and technology touches throughout. The heart of Boston is less than five miles away and is easily accessible via the Boston Landing commuter rail stop – just a three-minute walk away. Lantera is surrounded by eclectic restaurants, curated retail shops and world-class athletic facilities.

Wine Word For January: “Lean”

By Jonathon Alsop

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)

https://www.vinovations.us/paolo-valle-pinot-grigio-2016/

3 Reasons Why You Can’t Stop Yourself From Falling In Love With Wine

By Jonathon Alsop

Understanding the temptation to swipe right on every single bottle

The language of love and the language of wine are completely interwoven in our culture, for better and for worse. For instance, if you fall in love with someone because you find them intoxicating, that’s OK; if you try to get someone intoxicated in hopes that they’ll fall in love with you, that’s not OK. True wine lovers set a great example by treating their wine like you’d treat someone you love: with care, with respect and consideration, and it almost goes without saying, no rough handling.

Falling in love with wine is easy. I know I meet a special group of wine people – already so in love with wine they’re ready to take the relationship to the next educational level – but the story’s always the same. Something happens – maybe you travel to wine country for the first time or you have an Italian boyfriend or girlfriend – and you go from “wine curious” to “wine lover” and you never go back.

There are a thousand reasons why people fall in love with wine. Here are my top three.

1. Wine has something for every taste.

One way wine makes itself irresistible is through its profound flexibility. Unless you have a note from your doctor or a verifiable religious waiver, wine is for absolutely everyone. For a beverage with such a broad range of flavors and styles, wine has a strangely elitist image. On the contrary, wine respects your taste by delivering something for every appetite imaginable. You want sweet, happy white wine? Scary, intensely inky red wine? Wine dares you not to love it.

2. Wine – like love – is addictive.

When people say things like, “I’m addicted to this Chardonnay!” they’re probably speaking figuratively, but they could be addicted for real. We don’t talk about this a lot in the wine business, but that’s starting to change. One of the things that keeps us coming back to wine is the positive psychotropic effect – not only am I more delighted, you’re more delightful! – but you need a little more ethanol each time to acquire the same delight. In no time, you can find yourself happily, socially acceptably hooked, with wine your permanent plus one.

3. Wine is constantly new.

Boredom is a dangerous enemy to be feared in any relationship, but that can’t happen when you’re in love with wine. If you drink 365 wines a year, you only taste a fraction of the thousands of different labels available; built into the system are the excitement of the new and the lure of the unattainable. Even if you think you always drink the same thing, every 12 months, you get a new vintage version that’s not at all the same thing. When you start drinking wines from both the northern and southern hemispheres, the vintages come at you twice as fast, in September like we’re used to, and now March. Wine almost encourages guilt-free unfaithfulness, but we just call it variety.

ROMANCE WEEK @ Boston Wine School

If you’re not thinking about Valentine’s Day right now, you’re just not thinking right!

BRIGHTON MA
Pre-Valentine Day! Wine & Chocolate: Making the Perfect Match | Boston Wine School @ Lantera Boston Landing | Feb 13, 2019 6:30 – 8:30 PM
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pre-valentine-day-wine-chocolate-making-the-perfect-match-boston-wine-school-lantera-boston-landing-registration-52236923043

HQ in SHARON MA
Valentine’s Day: Wine & Chocolate + Night in Italy (Class + Dinner) | Boston Wine School @ VINOvations | Feb 14, 2019 6:30 – 8:30 PM
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/valentines-day-wine-chocolate-night-in-italy-class-dinner-boston-wine-school-vinovations-tickets-52237363360

Falling In Love With Wine (Class + Dinner) | Boston Wine School @ VINOvations | Feb 16, 2019 4:00 – 7:00 PM
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/falling-in-love-with-wine-class-dinner-boston-wine-school-vinovations-tickets-54454204993

Southern Star Malbec: New world fruit, old world style

Turn on the grill for this stylish barbecue-ready Malbec

By Jonathon Alsop | Boston Wine School Founder

18 April 2018

2016 Alma Andina Malbec Reserve (Mendoza, Argentina)

Inventive holidays like International Malbec Day give us the chance to look deep into the many Malbec based wines we teach with in wine class. Alma Andina – Soul of the Andes – hits the Boston Wine School trifecta: we use it in “Come To Cheeses” with Manchego, “Grape Expectations” and “Wine 101,” classes that represent the core of our curriculum.

As you can imagine, the world is full of tasty Malbec under $20, but the style of this Alma Andina is special. There’s plenty of dark brooding fruit flavors in the glass, tastes that will remind you of dates and figs and dried cherries.

But if you step out a little into the lake, the bottom drops off suddenly, and deep earthy subterranean flavors take over. I know I completely mixed my metaphors there, but this wine is worth it. If I’d tasted it blind, I’d have guessed French Malbec, a category that starts at $25 a bottle.

Argentina is a land in love with its carnivorous ways. It’s not unusual to have chicken, pork, beef, lamb and goat all in the course of the same meal, and you can tell this week’s wine was brought up in that same tradition. Don’t feel left out, vegans and vegetarians: the match here is with the grill and the char, something you can achieve completely, even meat free. I can definitely see myself working through a case of this Malbec once we start grilling again.

http://www.vinovations.us/alma-andina-malbec-reserve-2016/