You may have wondered why I haven’t posted for a while.
Well, me too.
So I’ve decided to take the late night before a four-hour French literature exam to update you. Can you tell I’m not looking forward to this exam? Because I’m not.
And I know that all of you
How to become a professional wine taster
The first Saturday of December, in honor of a friend’s birthday, a group of us returned to the Hospital that sells wine for their oh-so-informative, oh-so-enjoyable, and oh-so-free wine tasting. The “oenelogues,” or professional wine tasters, guided us through sips of Alsatian white wines, varied red wines, and a collection of late harvest wines from a vineyard near Voegtlinshoffen (in Alsace, south of Strasbourg). Wisdom I will pass down to you:
When tasting a wine, look first at its color: best to have clear glasses without designs
Take a good deep breath and smell the wine
Then swirl the glass (with a supple wrist, which we all spent many giggly minutes practicing), and smell again: contact with air releases different aromas; notice also the “legs” (“tears” in French) or the streaks on the inside of the glass—denser, more alcoholic wines (like late harvest wines) will have thicker streaks
Finally, taste: hold the wine in your mouth for a moment and breathe out your nose, releasing even more aromas
When tasting wine, start first with sparkling wines, then whites, roses, reds, and finally sweet wines.
And don’t believe the price tag or the year: good wines can be found for cheap and bad wines are still produced during “good years.”
Vocabulary to keep in your back pocket: bouquet all the aromas of the wine, also called the nose; fresh, dried, honeyed, lively words to use when describing a white wine; intense, spicy, supple, deep words to use to describe a red wine; vintage year; bogus pretty much every evaluation of wine—you will say you smell/taste whatever you think you’re supposed to…but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun! Among my favorite wine sensory descriptors: new-mown grass, wet wool, tar, beer and violet (the same wine), tobacco, asparagus, “farmyard,” and cat pee. Hmm…
Running around Alsace with ten Colombians and a Japanese
Sounds surreal, doesn’t it? One of the real benefits of studying a foreign language is that you meet many others who are also foreign to this language but in different ways than you. I am the only American in my grammar class, and one of my good friends here is Manuel, a student from
We spent most of our time in
Perhaps the highlight of
Oh, if only Christmas could escape the bonds of commercialism.
I thought it was terribly interesting!
We finished the day at Obernai, where one of my friends met us a showed us around her this, her hometown. We visited the ramparts around the city, the gardens outside, and the imprint of a medieval sword at the base of the cathedral. Obernai is a very nice town, and beautiful at night.
To be continued...