The first in our 2011 series on New York Wine education.
I believe in education. Learning more about wines
increases my enjoyment, pleasure and appreciation of wine tasting and
In New York City we are fortunate to have dozens of options for learning about wine: schools
and universities as well as many wine venus- stores, bars and
restaurants. These range from simple tastings at local
wine stores to high end
maker dinners. I decided to begin our exploraton with ICE: The Institute of Culinary Education.
Why? Because one of the major functions of wine is to
accompany food and who better than a first class culinary institute to guide us?
Catch the Trendiest Wines
The quickest way to get up to speed on the wine scene is to grab hold of
the latest wine trends. W. R. Tish—New York's leading corporate
wine-event planner—will lead you through a range that is both trendy and
delicious, from dry Riesling and "groovy" Gruner Veltliner to "splendid
blendeds," offbeat southern hemisphere reds, and even a French upstart
so good you won't believe it came from a box. And in the spirit that
nothing is trendier than maximum bang-for-your-buck, Tish will also clue
you in to the best values on wine lists, and the best values in wine
HW: This course delivers as promised.
Great Wines for Under $20 and Over $50: Does Price Really Matter?
a high price really imply high quality? You will examine this and other
questions about the value and cost of wine in this fascinating class.
You’ll taste a selection of terrific wines on the lower end of the
price scale, as well as some fabulous wines from the higher end. Then,
in a fun blind-tasting format, you will be the ultimate judge of
HW: This was disappointing for several reasons:
- There were few guidelines given as to how to choose high quality value wines.
all $50+ samples were high quality, only two of the $20 wines were
value wines. Two were inferior, while the fifth was
mediocre. In other words, nothing was "proven."
- While promised to be a blind tasting, it was not (plus the notes as written would have encouraged cheating).
Bottom Line: I would just buy and read THE WINE TRIALS
Local Wines and Cheeses
No need to travel far and wide for good food and drink, as New York
State has it all! Join Richard Vayda for a discussion, tasting, and
pairing of wines and cheeses from the Empire State. You will examine the
breadth of what the state offers, from the sparkling, whites, rosés,
and big reds of Long Island to the native American varietals and sweet
wines of the Finger Lakes and more—all enjoyed with a diverse selection
of state cheeses.
Not rated. To be reviewed
The Joys of Pinot Noir
Pinot noir is a distinguished and celebrated grape variety that
produces all the great red Burgundies and, surprisingly, the majority of
Champagnes. It is a fragile, extremely temperamental grape (not as
reliable as Cabernet Sauvignon) that produces fine wines only in certain
wine districts, and then not every year. At their best, they show a
subtlety, complexity, fragrance, elegance, and finesse that are the envy
of the wine world. Very few areas of the New World have proven
hospitable to this finicky grape; these would include Oregon's
Willamette Valley, certain areas in Sonoma and Napa and a small area
called Otago, located at the south end of the South Island of New
Zealand. Because of the difficulties involved both in its cultivation
and vinification, wines made from Pinot are never cheap and are
considered the Ming Vases of the wine world. This tasting will explain
the reasons for this so that you can purchase these wines without
disappointments, as you sample representative examples from the best
regions and winemakers.
RATING Not rated.
Wine Writing for Fame, Fortune, and… Free Wine
There are many
types of wine writing. The simplest form is the tasting note - the
paragraph or two that describes the character of a wine; there is wine
criticism, which is essentially the tasting note supplemented by a
numerical score. And finally, there is the narrative form- wine writing
that may be a profile of a producer or region or perhaps tackle a
controversial topic (i.e., whether or not the classification system of
Bordeaux should be abolished). We will discuss the various kinds of wine
writing (good and bad examples of each will be supplied) and each
student will be asked one paragraph of each type.
RATING Not rated.
FACILITIES RATING A
Well designed classroom with a sufficiently small and intimate class size.
Generous portions of wine and cheese accompanied by useful handouts..
FACULTY RATING A
Down to earth, experienced communicators who well handled questions ranging from beginners to more knowledgeable
with equal aplomb.
I appreciated the pairing with food mentioned with each wine.
LOCATION RATING A
Midtown Manhattan right across the street from Eataly
, the New York mecca of Italian food and wine. I recommend visiting it before and/or after class!
Some newbies, but mostly intermediate level as one would expect.
Several couples found this a very enjoyable date night! No
Fun and enjoyable courses make this a good choice for wine learning.
I do not know why ICE does not offer more courses on food and
combinations (outside of Wine and Cheese courses). Given
ICE's reputation of one of the best New York culinary institutes,
first class kitchen facilities and chef instructors, this is somewhat
surprising and hopefully will change in the future.
AWAITING RESPONSE TO THE FOLLOWING:
Q: What differentiates ICE wine courses from other New York City wine programs?
Q: What are your plans for potential future wine courses and
specifically what are your plans to expand your course offerings on
wine and food matching?
Q: If you could make just one suggestion for learning more about wine
and/or enjoying wine drinking more, what would it be? (besides taking
classes at ICE of course)
Q: Finally, describe your "epiphany" wine experience if any, and what is your desert island wine pick and why?