First of all, many people have asked me “did you taste any good wines in Brazil?” Although Argentina and Chile are known for their wines, Brazil not so much. They do produce wines, and we got a couple of Brazilian wines from the market which compared favorably to supermarket wines right here, but we didn’t do any serious wine tasting.
Our friend, Jean, found a Groupon for a wine tasting but unfortunately it was for the very evening we were leaving Rio. Drat! Jean is a genius at finding discount adventures. (On Sunday she took us on a 2 hour boat tour of Rio’s huge and complex harbor, using a Groupon.) I do want to write about our adventures in Brazil, but today I am compelled to write about my dismal failure at a wine tasting Saturday night.
The problem is that I am not fond of Old World Wines. Many wine connoisseurs look down on New World wines which are bold, often “fruit forward” (the fruit is the overwhelming aroma and/or taste), and high alcohol. All of these characteristics are because grapes in the new world actually get ripe! In California, Australia, South America and South Africa, the vines get sunshine — imagine that! Of course, if sunshine were the only thing necessary to grow grapes, the Las Vegas desert would be covered with vines. But it is a factor.
Old world wines are often more acidic, drier, and have aromas of earth, leather, barnyard (not one of my favorites) and pencil shavings.
So, Saturday night when Jeff Wyatt, the proprietor of Marche Bacchus Restaurant here in Las Vegas, poured six different wines in a blind tasting, I was at a total loss. I was not even able to identify the Syrah. The wines were from France, Greece, Italy and Spain and the final one, a Cabernet Sauvignon, was from Napa. As my fellow tasters swirled and sniffed, they were throwing around phrases like “barnyard, campfire, violets, green apple,” I was hard pressed to identify what I was smelling or tasting.
Now in my defense, I have to say that Jeff delights in pulling the wool over the eyes of this group of experienced tasters. He pours complex wines made from often obscure grapes known to only the most educated and diligent of wine tasters. Also to my credit, at the last tasting with this group, I got all six of the wines correct.
So I take comfort in the fact that it took over a dozen people to pool their knowledge to identify each of these wines. I guess I need to work on that a little more. But it’s only 8:00 in the morning so I guess I’d better wait to start until tonight.
Anyone want to join me in a nice little red from the Cahors region of France made up of Auxerrois, Merlot and Tannat? Yeah, I agree — let’s just open a nice Syrah from Paso Robles!