Monday, June 01, 2009

Rieslings, Viogniers, and Gewurtztraminers... Oh My!

Any of you who have met me in real life (which is almost no one) knows that one of my favorite weekends of the year is the Virginia Wine Festival. It's actually two weekends a year, because additionally there is an event called Vintage Virginia (this past weekend). For the past 9 years, I've dragged a bunch of friends into VA horse country to traipse around a muddy field and drink (mostly bad) Virginia wine. This year I decided to shake things up a bit...

Yesterday, I stepped over to the other side of the pouring station, and worked for one of the wineries, Cardinal Point, from Afton, VA. After spending the past week trying to memorize all their various selections, and reviewing tasting notes (e.g. smells like pineapple, with hints of honey, gooseberry, and lychee) and pairing information (lightly breaded crabcakes with a spicy remoulade, or soft scrambled eggs with mushrooms and butter), I felt I was ready.

The people were great... Cardinal Point is a family run winery, and it shows in the way they interact with each other. Everyone is friendly, relaxed, and there to sell wine, but make sure that have fun while they do. I couldn't have asked for a better group of tutors to steer me as I acted the "expert" for a crowd of strangers, from white trash to wine snobs. That being said, I quickly picked up a few things from the large crowd that I was pouring for:

1) No one is impressed with my command of French, German, and Italian wine phrases. They're all too busy holding out their glasses for more.

2) 95 percent of the attendees are actively looking to get drunk. If they feel your tasting pours are too small, they'll be all too happy to let you know this.

3) You can tell people pretty much anything about wine, and they'll believe you. I was making up all sorts of food choices to go with our wines... pasta salad - Yes! pork chops - Yes! Tastes like blackberry - Of course it does!

4) From 11-2 there is one group of tasters at the festival; they stand there thoughtfully absorbing every word you say, pretending to swirl the wine around the glass, admiring the "legs", and then trying to come up with adjectives to impress their friends. After 2pm, the other group starts showing up; "hey, ummm y'all got some whites??"

Nonetheless, I had a total blast, got paid in wine for my time (best paycheck ever, btw), and made new friends who will hopefully have me back at future festivals. So what's the final lesson?

If you're interested in drinking some wine in the next month or two, give me a call... I'm really well stocked!


Blogger Belle said...

Um, can we consider this my call??? In case you didn't catch it, I'd almost certainly fall into the 'Hey, ummmm... Y'all got some reds?' category, so maybe your impressive wine knowledge could, yanno, impress me. Or maybe not...


5:32 PM  

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