Napa Valley – Two Visits

The little bit I know about wine is credited to the two visits I had to the Napa Valley in California.  I had a friend whwine1o was from the Fairfield area which is a quite drive to Napa Valley. We had met in the city and at some point in our friendship, she moved back to Fairfield.  I went to go visit her for her birthday and met her two close childhood friends. All four of us went to Napa for her birthday as they were all wine connoisseurs. The first winery we went to was Darioush.  The four of us sat in a wine tasting room which seemed very posh. To me everything in Napa is posh. The attendant would pour each of us a glass of wine – about two (2) to three (3) ounces. Since this was my first time wine tasting, I got the rundown.  After the attendant pours the wine, you swirl the wine in the glass, then you sniff the wine from out of the wine glass.

At this point everyone talks about all the things they smell from the wine – what type of berry(ies), if there is a smell of oak or the wood from the barrel, any other aspects of the wine they may pick up when sniffing the wine, etc.  At this point, could either take a sip of the wine or swirl it again. For me, I’d swirl again so I could look at the legs of the wine. I know that sounds strange, but yes, wine has legs. At least in the glass it does. What happens is that after one swirls the wine in the glass, the wine will glide down the inside walls of the glass, thus allowing you to see it’s legs.  Looking and analyzing the legs helps a taster see more characteristics of the wine, mainly how much sugar is in it. The thicker the legs means there is more sugar in the wine. The sugar could be naturally made from the harvested grapes, or could be added by the winemaker.

For example, port is fortified with sugar so after swirling port, you’ll see it has thicker legs. For me, after the seconwhite wined or third swirl, and sniffing it, I sip the wine to get a taste.  One must only sip a small amount of the wine. Then one must allow that small amount of wine to sit on the tongue while you sip in some air to aerate the wine in your mouth. According to wine tasters, this is how one can fully experience and taste the wine. After aerating the wine in one’s mouth, one could swallow or spit out the wine. Then after that, everyone discusses what they experience and what the characteristics they feel the wine has. I quite a lightweight so just tasting one glass of wine, I’m done.  Needless to say, I did continue drinking and made sure to drink a lot of water to continue on with the birthday-Napa-wine tasting celebration. From that very first winery, I did discover my favorite wine – Cabernet Franc. Why Cabernet Franc? I don’t know, I just liked it over all the other wine s and still do to this day.

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