I love talking about wine. This international beverage has played an important part in social, political, and cultural life throughout most of human history dating back 4000 B.C. It has a role in formal celebrations, heightens the pleasures of dining, and is a regular part of informal socializing. There are over 1400 wine grape varieties, each influenced in unique ways by where it is grown. Wine making styles are influenced by individual personality, regional preferences, and the marketplace.
It is safe to say that it would be impossible to ever run out of wines to taste or things to learn about this fascinating subject. I wanted to share my knowledge and excitement about this topic with as many people as possible, so in 2009 I became a Certified Wine Educator. As you can imagine, when I was asked to pour the wines for the Beltramo’s Saturday Tastings, I didn’t hesitate to accept, and since my first tasting on January 11, 2014, I knew this was for me.
Beltramo’s tasting format is different from other retail or winery tastings. We provide placemats with a glass for each wine, similar to the set up used by professional wine schools and tasting sessions. There are up to nine wines offered in each tasting, and you can taste any of them that interest you. This gives you the opportunity to compare the wines and re-taste them in order to discover their characteristics. I provide information about the wines, the grapes and where they were grown, the winery and the winemaker, or any other interesting aspects I can find about the wines you are tasting. I want your experience to be both enjoyable and educational and should you decide to purchase any of the wines, I want you to feel good about your choices.
Below are some of my favorite highlights from our 1st quarter of 2014 wine tastings.
The 1st tasting of Nuits St-Georges in Burgundy is still most memorable to me. We poured 9 great wines and within the lineup we had a vertical flight and a horizontal flight.
A vertical flight is a group of same wines with different vintages. We had 3 wines from same producer, same vineyard from 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The horizontal flight was 3 wines from the same producer and same vintage (2011) but from different vineyards within Nuits St-Georges.
Our California Cabernet tasting on 1-18-14 brought Kathryn Kennedy 2011 Small Lots Cab ($34.99) to my attention. I think this wine is elegant, with subtle fruit flavors that can pair with many types of food. This is not just a steak wine, and it could be drink now or held for a few more years.
Our German wine tasting on January 25th introduced Pinot noirs with Burgundian characteristics. Most tasters were surprised that German wines could be more than just sweet Rieslings. We sold out of them quickly and are awaiting the release of the new vintages.
We had a Sparkling rose tasting in honor of Valentine’s Day, with wines from Australia to South Africa, throughout Europe, and California by way of New Mexico. The standouts were as follows:
NV Henriot – Brut Rose Champagne ($54.99)
Another fun tasting was wines from the Southern Hemisphere. The wines from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, and Argentina, varied so much that each one was someone’s favorite. Beltramo’s wine staff favorite is the 2010 Hand Of God – Fingerprint Series ($35.99) from Argentina. It is a red blend of 55% Malbec, 35% Syrah and 10% Petit Verdot. We like this wine so much we have given it more room on the shelf. This wine is powerful but has many layers of complexity. I found it kept changing throughout the tasting. So much fun in a single glass!
I could go on and on, but I think you should come in and find out for yourselves. Go to the Tasting Events tab on our website to see all upcoming events.
Muriel S., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant