The five “S’s” of the Wine Class. Alas, the wine class is over.
The countless hours of studying, memorizing, highlighting, rewriting, making flash cards.
French, Italian, English pronunciations.
Wine laws, labels, grape varieties.

I haven’t worked that hard on a single class at the CIA. And all along, we poured wine – still, sparkling, white, rose, and red. Made from a single grape variety, and from blends. Aged in steel and oak, filtered and murky, and completely translucent. With high tannin and acidity, mellow and jammy, crisp and refreshing.

We looked at the color of the wine against the white background, tilting the glass towards us at a 45-degree angle. We swirled the glass at the base, aerating the wine. We smelled deeply, with our noses deep in the bowl of the glass. Fig? Fruit? Stone? Earthiness?

Next we sipped and swirled or swooshed the wine in our mouths. Notice how the wine affects parts of the mouth differently. Do the tannins numb your gums or the roof of the mouth? (The indication of whether the tannins came from the grape or the oak barrel). How long does the finish last? (The impression the wine leaves).

Do now swallow! Sad but true, each tasting of the wine was finished by spitting the magic liquid into a spitting cup. Rinsing our palettes clean with water, and moving onto the next wine.

I’ve learned a lot. I hope most of the information will stick around, planted deeply in my brain.