I wish I had a class like this when I was starting my career in the wine industry. Back then there were no classes available to learn the basics of wine. It took me years just to figure out how to approach this vast and complicated subject. That is why I created this class and why I believe it is so important to anyone trying to understand wine. I will break out the different areas of study and give an overview of each along with advice about how to begin your studies.
Wines of the Southern Rhone
Explore the wines of the southern Rhone with us. The southern sub-region produces an array of red, white and rosé wines, often blends of several grapes such as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This region has a more Mediterranean climate with milder winters and hot summers. The differing terroirs, together with the rugged landscape which partly protects the valleys from the Mistral, produce microclimates which give rise to a wide diversity of wines. A feature of the cultivation of the region is the use of large pebbles around the bases of the vines to absorb the heat of the sun during the day to keep the vines warm at night when, due to the cloudless skies, there is often a significant drop in temperature. Join us and find out more!
Mastering the Art of Wine Tasting
If you are serious about pursuing an education in wine, Mastering the Art of Wine Tasting is the most important wine class you may take. It is a thorough grounding in the skills necessary to taste wines like a professional. There are 3 parts to the class: part one teaches the basic principals of tasting wine including how the olfactory system functions, the language of wine, identifying aromas and flavors, detecting off odors and, most importantly, how to approach a glass of wine for tasting. Part two focuses on the components of wine. The components are the basic make-up of wines and they include acid, tannin, sugar and alcohol. We will learn how to identify each component and what its function is in a wine. This information is critical to being a good wine taster. Part three is a smell lab where we will sharpen our skills for identifying aromas.
Wines of Washington
This class will put the wines of WA state in perspective for you. You’ll learn what makes WA wines unique (the climate, the soil, and the Big Flood for starters…) in comparison to other wine regions while tasting through some great examples of what WA wines have to offer.
Pairing Wine With Food
All the practical information you’ll need to make the best decisions when pairing wines with food. You’ll learn why keying in on the components of the food and wine are more important than trying to match the flavors of each. That’s why a tart crisp white can make most seafood sing and those deliciously sweet glazed carrots can obliterate even the best high-end cabs. Richard originally created and taught this class for the student chefs at Seattle Central Community College culinary arts program.
Introduction to Italy
With its hundreds of years of winemaking history, 20 unique winegrowing regions and with over 800 wine grape varieties, Italy is an educational adventure from grape to glass. This class will explore major wine regions of Italy, the country’s wine laws & regulations, grape varietals, Italian wine culture, history and traditions, and key differentiating characteristics.
Introduction to France
France is the most important wine country in the world. Not because it produces the best wines, that’s arguable, but because it produces the standard versions by which virtually every major type of wine is judged. Every Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache, Pinot Noir and even Riesling as well as late harvest dessert wines and, of course, sparkling wines get compared to the French versions. Even France’s system of controlled appellations is emulated as is its concept of ‘terrior’.
This class offers the opportunity to not only be introduced to the great wine regions of France but to understand the system that makes the wine labels so intimidating.
Originally, Richard created a prototype of this class for an organization of the French government (SOPEXA), which retained me to teach it to the wine trade, which I did for many years. Now this is your chance to gain a basic understanding of perhaps the greatest wine country in the world.
Rose Wine Class
The days are longer, the sun is brighter and a nice rosé makes the evening a bit better. Paired with grilled chicken, salmon or salads, they’re perfect for everything from brunches to barbeques. Join us in learning about different styles of rosé coming from all over the world. We will be exploring how acidity, fruit, and even tannin play a role in the making of this delightful wine.
Noble Grape Series: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
We continue this series by exploring the noble wine grapes Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. ; grapes that will lead any list of top wine grapes. When we consider the finest red wines of the world Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are usually involved whether it’s Bordeaux, Napa Valley, Australia or Washington state. But both grapes can also produce perfectly good value-priced wines, which is not so easy for many other grapes such as Pinot Noir. In the class we will learn how these versatile varietals do it as we taste through some extraordinary examples.
Sparkling Wines of the World
In this fun and educational class we will sip Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and other sparkling wines from around the world while learning how they are made (How do they get the bubbles into the wine?) and what makes each one different from the next.
Single Malt Scotch
With the possible exception of grappa no distilled spirit appeals to wine drinkers as much as Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The reason is that, like wine, Single Malts are a product of producer and place. Just as the wines from Bordeaux are so distinctly different from those from Burgundy so too are the Single Malts from the Highlands, Campbeltown and the Lowlands. In Monday’s class on Single Malt Scotch we will learn just how these famous whiskies are made and how the local water and the size and shape of each still make every whisky as unique as the people who distill them. We will taste whiskies from every major region as well as some that are very old and rare from my personal collection.
Introduction to Bordeaux
With over 7,000 chateaux, the Bordeaux region is vast. And the top wines – the Grand Cru Classés – often sell for hundreds of dollars a bottle. This class will break down what distinguishes the Left Bank from the Right Bank in Bordeaux and what makes these wines the gold standard for Cabernet and Merlot around the world.