Road Trips & Wine Classes in Denver

Colorado Ranch Country

Ranch Country, Colorado above, Dad with a Cabernet in Mexico 2004

I recently drove to Denver Colorado  to take a 2 day course in Wine at The International Wine Guild over a weekend. .

So, I meet many clients who want a wine cellar or have one and so its an intelligent choice to know the basics of wine and pairing and learning the history is totally fun. The International Wine Guild is top five of wine schools according to both Food &  Wine and the New York Times, as being in the top 5 of all wine schools.  It was basic boot camp for those wanting a real world education about wine, presented without pretention.

In the first part of the class, you learn all about chemistry, different grapes, serving temperature, fermentation, US wine labeling vs European labeling,  basic wine making for whites and reds. Along the way you learn so much about wine making and its fascinating history which dates back all the way back to 5B.C. The second day, which was fun,  is all about tasting wines with foods…throughout the entire Level One Certification weekend you taste about 43 top wines. You try so much that it does become a bit of a blur.

Even though you take tiny sips…you are taking a tiny sip about 100x before finishing your food pairings. So make sure you don’t drive home from the second day of class .

Here are good points to remember from Level One Certification:

  • To Wine Experts, wine is considered a sauce, to be paired always with food and to complement, not to overpower the food.  Or have the food over power the wine.
  • The Grandfather of the California wine industry is Robert Mondavi, who started his winery in Napa in the 60’s. He fell in love with the European wine culture while serving as a  2nd lieutenant in WW2 -what a patriot- and wanted to bring that wine culture back to the United States
  • Wine is paired to food, not food to wine
  • You must have a broad understanding of wine to be able to pair wine to food
  • You must have an equally broad understanding of food, its sauces, cooking techniques to choose the right wine
  • Wine is an in-mouth experience. Neither the color or smell of the wine or food are critical for pairing
  • The major part of the dish establishes the pairing
  • The texture of the food has to match the body of the wine
  • The flavor intensity has to match the intensity of the wine: example, if you are having a sweet dessert, you will need a sweeter wine or for contrast, which many like, you can have coffee. for something like pecan pie, you cant get a wine sweet enough. That is why coffee is so popular with desserts….many people like the taste of contrast
  • Only drink a smokey wine with smoked meats
  • Light foods, light wine
  • Heavy foods, heavier wine
  • Sushi is high acidity as all fish are, so have a light bodied wine which tend to be more acidic
  • Muscadet is a great wine with seafood
  • When eating meats that tend to dry out, (thanksgiving turkey) serve a wine, that will make you salivate rather than something tannic which makes your tongue feel  a little sand paperish. This way it will compliment the turkey and makes it seem more moist-even when its not.
  • If having to wait at the bar before being seated for dinner have the bartender serve you a light acidic wine that will keep your palette neutral….not something heavily tannic like a merlot or a cab which can ruin your meal
  • Also hard liquor is said to kill your palette for wine before a meal for about 45 minutes… I’m undecided on this opinion….I’m going to have to test it out next time I’m dining out

I highly recommend to all of those wanting a genuine excellent education on wine.


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