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A Sip for Silly Me

I am so silly. I completely forgot to write about the wine tasting I attended at Vintage Spirits in Herkimer, NY last Friday, March 21. Luckily I still have my notes.

The tasting began at 4 p.m. Since I usually arrive home from work about ten to four, I thought it would be an easy matter to run a couple of errands and arrive at Vintage Spirits at the crack of four. Of course I mistimed myself and got there early, but Bronson was almost ready to go, so I did not have long to wait.

The first thing I tasted was a Chardonnay by CK Mondavi, from California. I don’t always like Chardonnays; I find them too buttery. I tend to like French ones over California. I learned that is because the French Chardonnays are usually aged in stainless steel, while the California ones are aged in oak. There, I got out my one bit of wine knowledge.

Perhaps I should just mention for the benefit of new readers (if any) that I am not exactly a oenophile (in fact, I like to pronounce it oh-nee-oh-file). My highest accolade for a wine is “yummy.” And I hardly ever taste “notes” of anything, which knowledgeable descriptions of wine always include.

But getting back to the CK Mondavi Chardonnay, I liked it. It was crisp. I wrote about it, “This is my favorite so far. Oh wait, it’s the first one I tried.” (See, I even get silly in my notes to myself.)

The other white I tasted was Swedish Hill Doobie Blues White. I have been to the Swedish Hill Winery in the Finger Lakes (I LOVE the Finger Lakes) (in fact, I’ll be going there next week, as I may have mentioned in this blog), so I’ve probably tried it before but did not recall it as one of my favorites. Bronson described it “like a sweet Chardonnay.” I actually liked it. Sometimes a sweet white is nice over ice on a hot summer day.

As I was tasting and chatting with Bronson, other customers came up for a taste. They would usually taste one wine, say thank you and be on their way. I felt a little lushy, being the only one to taste more than one kind. At other tastings, there have been people who tasted all the wines. I guess they were all getting there later.

Moving on to the reds, I tried two from Tuscany: Caparzo Toscana 2011 and Barone Ricasoli “Brolio” Chianti Classico 2011. The Toscana is a blend but with 85% Sangiovese. I pronounced it very nice. The Chianti was the driest Bronson offered. I liked that one, too.

I also tried a Desert Wine Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 from Washington State. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of my favorite flavors (it’s fun to say and fun to drink), so I was pretty sure I’d like it. This one is 4% Cab Franc. It reached my ultimate accolade of yummy. I also tasted notes of pepper. Score! Without even reading it on the sheet Bronson had describing the wines! So I definitely bought a bottle of that.

I also bought a bottle of the CK Mondavi Chardonnay, after trying just another sip of it. And I helped another customer who tasted one wine. She said she almost never bought wine, because she would buy something she didn’t like and it would go to waste. Both Bronson and I encouraged her to attend wine tastings, to find wines she liked.

“And if you don’t like a wine you bought,” I said, “you can always use it to cook with.” A lady at another liquor store told me that once.

“You can do that?”

“Sure, and if you wait too long and it goes to vinegar, you can use it in salad dressing. That doesn’t usually happen to my wines.” In the interests of full disclosure.

It was a fun time. After writing about it, I am more than ever looking forward to my family’s Finger Lakes trip next weekend. Did I say something about dithering over it? Silly me!

Vintage Spirits is located at 246 Mohawk St., Herkimer, NY. Phone number 315-866-6800. They are open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 12 to 6 p.m.

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