The Newbie Experience: Napa vs. Sonoma
When I first journeyed into the world of “fine dining” (and I use that term loosely as my budget determined just how “fine” a place was) I was not an avid wine drinker. My wine experience was limited to family dinners with bottles of Oliver wines or the occasional glass of a good red from Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill. However, like anything that becomes a hobby or small addiction, the more I tried, the more I enjoyed. Soon it became a must for almost every out to eat meal (and some home meals too) and my night out wasn’t complete without a nice glass of a full-bodied red or the sweet after taste of a refreshing Moscato. Yet as much as I began to drink and enjoy wine as more than an occasional indulgence, I realized that like bourbon, there is so much more history, effort, and work that go into making what I and countless other wine lovers enjoy.
This was a real deal “big girl” wine tasting. Aside from receiving my first student loan bill I never felt more like an adult. Held in the wine room located in the back of the store, there were actual tables and chairs set up for the people who RSVP’d (thanks to my wonderful blog boss). There were even name placements on tables. And on this day, I should mention I experienced not 1 but 2 firsts. One was a true wine tasting experience, and two was having the type of experience by myself. I am no stranger to doing things alone and actually preffull-bodied occasions. However, those things consist of activities where I wasn’t obligated to interact with anybody (shopping, library, walking on the river). I was content in my own little world doing my activity and could avoid conversation by simply walking away or hiding behind clothes racks. This experience challenged me to sit beside people I didn’t know, who insisted on conversation and I had to participate because I didn’t want to be rude. Plus, this time I wanted to learn something. And what better way to learn than to talk and listen to people with more experience than you?
The tasting consisted of 8 different wines with one glass being from Napa and the other from Sonoma 2 Chardonnay, 2 Pinot Noir, 2 Zinfandel's, and 2 Cabernet Sauvignon. This was my first tasting where the art of “dumping” was necessary or else I would have been writing this article from a computer lab in Metro Corrections. There were also pallet cleansing items such as fruit, water, cheese, and crackers. It was my first time truly tasting the difference between the same “wine” but with 2 different distributors. As said before my experiences had been limited so I did not understand how location, grapes, barrels, and processing can make the same wine taste so completely differ During the experience I thought that Napa would be my favorite each time, as it’s be ingrained in my psyche that that is wine country and it should always be the best. However, at least for me, that was not my experience at all. Sonoma was my favorite during every pairing. The one exception was the last pairing which were the Cabernets. I absolutely loved them both and could not choose. They also made it past my “dumping” round. Both were full flavored, had beautiful color and aroma and were great alone or would be great with any meal of red cheeser pork, pasta dish, or even a heavy seafood dinner. And of course, true to my taste they were the most expensive bottles but to me, they were worth it.
This has been my favorite wine experience to date. I love trying new things and was able to knock out 2 in one evening. This won’t be my last time trying something, of this nature, even by myself. And the more I can go to these types of events the more I will learn and will be able to give the detailed professional company, reasons. I am loo, king forward to becoming a true wine connoisseur!