Wine Education: July 2009 Archives

Blind Tasting 411

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by Courtney Cochran

Come on, admit it: you're dying to know. Just how do professional sommeliers identify the seemingly endless varieties of wine out there with just a quick sniff and a little taste? Allow me to enlighten you: it's not brain surgery.

People are constantly asking me how I can divine a Pinot from a Zin, tell a Riesling from a Sauvignon Blanc and ID that soupçon of chicken coop in my Chateauneuf du Pape. The answer is actually quite simple: practice! Just as it does for riding a bike, practice makes perfect for honing your blind tasting skills.

In fact, I'm quite sure that with a little practice lots more folks could master the art of blind tasting. Sure, it takes some professional insight and guidance at the get-go to make sure you're doing everything correctly, but once you've got that part squared away I think you'll be surprised by how decidedly un-mysterious tasting wine blindly can be.

Wine With a Side of Fries

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What to quaff with these salty treats

by Courtney Cochran


Whatever wise guy once said "some of the best things in life are free" had it all wrong.

Most of the best things in life, in my estimation, are just the opposite: cable TV, fabulous vacations, exquisite meals in high-end restaurants and fancy cars are just a few examples of some of the better things in life that are most decidedly NOT free.

Given my realist tendencies, you can probably understand my frustration when somebody started referring to French Fries not long ago as "Freedom Fries." Although I understand the not-so-subtle political agenda behind the re-naming, I can't help but poke fun at the unintended implications of the new name. Because, as is the case with most good things in life, there's absolutely nothing "free" about fries.

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