The Institute of Culinary Education
50 West 23rd Street, New York, NY

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 drinking.
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 wine 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 stores.
HW: This course delivers as promised.

Great Wines for Under $20 and Over $50: Does Price Really Matter?
Does 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 quality.
HW: This was disappointing for several reasons:
Bottom Line: I would just buy and read THE WINE TRIALS 2011 instead.

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.
RATING  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.

Well designed classroom with a sufficiently small and intimate class size.
Generous portions of wine and cheese accompanied by useful handouts..

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.

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 surprise here.

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 wine 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. 


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?