On April 25th I got the opportunity to attend a wine class being given at Whole Foods Market in the Carrollwood area of Tampa Bay. I enjoy a good glass of wine every now and again, but I don't know much about the different kinds. I was looking forward to this class because I figured I could learn a little bit about the types of wine I drink, and maybe find some new ones I like.
I headed over to Whole Foods after work. Honestly I was just expecting a few facts and a couple of wines to taste. I do really like Whole Foods, but it's still a store. I didn't know how much of a "class" they were going to be giving us. I was pleasantly surprised.
When we arrived there were several wine samples set up for us. There was also a wonderful selection of hors d'oeuvres set up for us. There was a list of the wines were were going to be sampling as well as what regions there were from. There was also another flyer explaining each wine and also a map of the regions.
Amy, our sommelier, started us off with a nice Prosecco. She explained this sparkling wine to us - a light, fresh sparkling wine from the Veneto region of Italy with notes of apple and citrus.
In addition to explaining the wines flavors we also got an explanation of the rules of bottling wines. It Italy they are very strict about where and how the wines are bottled and where the grapes are grown.
There is IGT (indicazione geografica tipica). This is one classification of wines recognized by the government of Italy. It's created to recognize the unusually high quality of the class of wines known as Super Tuscans.
IGT wines are labeled with the location they were created, but do not meet the requirements of the stricter DOC or DOCG designations.
DOC (denominazione di origine controllata) is a quality assurance requiring that the product be produced within the specified region using defined methods and that is satisfies a defined quality standard.
DOCG labelled wines are analyzed and tasted by government licensed personnel before being bottled. To prevent manipulation, DOCG wine bottles then are sealed with a numbered governmental deal across the cap or cork.
|Tampa Bay Bloggers at Whole Foods|
We continued on tasting the various Italian wines. Each one of them had a cheese pairing the was carefully elected to bring out the flavor of the wine.
The first pairing was the Banfi Principessa Gavia from the Piedmont region. This wine had notes of pear and was paired with Montchevre lemon goat cheese and vanilla sugar on a Rustic Bakery sea salt cracker. This pairing was amazing and my favorite of the night. You could really taste how perfect the wine and cheese went together!
We moved on to the Caposaldo Pinot Grigio paired with a house made Italian Pincho with fresh basil. Again, perfectly paired.
The last white wine we tried was the Ruffino Orvieto Classico. This was paired with a Mediterranean feta stuffed grape tomato. Delicious.
Then we moved onto the red wines. The first one we tried was the Gran Passione Rosso from the Veneto region of Italy. This was paired with Taleggio rolled in almond pieces. This pairing was amazing! The wine and cheese were both outstanding and this was my favorite red wine we tried.
We also tried Monrosso Chianti, Verazzano Minituscan Rosso, Donnafugata Sedara, and Tolaini Al Passo. All of these wines were magificiantly paired with great tasting cheeses.
We enjoyed the class much, much more than expected. We learned so much about the wines! We also found two new kinds of wine we really loved. We enjoyed them so much that we immediately had to shop for the wines and the cheese pairings.
Another great thing about the class is that they didn't use expensive wines. All of the wines were under $15 except for 1, which was still under $20.
Want to try some of these wines? I'm giving away a $20 gift car to Whole Foods market (which can be used at ANY Whole Foods).
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*As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers I attended this wine class, received one bottle of wine, and was given the gift card to give away to a reader. All opinions are my own.