We’ve all been there—you’re sipping on a glass of wine and you hear the self-proclaimed wine connoisseur discussing how his distinguished palate can pick up the faint taste of freshly cut grass (not to be confused with day-old cut grass) or a touch (no more, no less) of cedar. If you’re anything like me, you might be secretly rolling your eyes at the schmoozer. This is in response to the person who really knows nothing about wine but is acting like he or she practically made the bottle of whatever you are drinking. However, someone who actually does know something about wine can be an asset to a party—ahem, food pairing—and learning something about wine might be worth it just to prove all the presumptuous wine people out there wrong.

I certainly know how to drink wine, but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a lot about it—I still don’t think that I’ll ever have the best nose for wine. But to fully appreciate all that different wines have to offer, I decided to try out Indulge Wine School’s Wine 101 Class—after all, there are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon than trying out six different delicious types of wines. Founded by a Denver couple, Indulge Wine School has multiple Colorado locations and is now is 10 other states. All of the wine instructors are personally selected and trained by Indulge, so you are guaranteed to get both an informative and lively instructor. The classes are held in the private rooms of local restaurants and the appetizers that are served with the wines are from whichever restaurant you happen to be at for your class, so you also get the chance to possibly try out a new restaurant.

My boyfriend and I joined 18 other students over the weekend at Avenue Grill for our Wine 101 Class. Our instructor, C. Gordon Dickinson, an Executive Sommelier and Certified Wine Instructor, joyfully took to the task of pouring glasses and informing us about our six wines. Dickinson shared information on wine history, wine components, wine and food pairings, glassware information, and recommendations—I’ve already got a new Malbec lined up to try now.

We tried a Cara Mia Prosecco first, which we all discovered was very food friendly—I also learned that you are supposed to serve Prosecco as cold as you can to hide the acid and yeast within the sparkling wine. A very drinkable, slightly floral Pinot Grigio by the same brand was next and was followed by a Sea Mist Chardonnay. Instantly more yellow in color than the Grigio, the Chardonnay, after a little swirling, opened up with oak and rich fruit scents (I know, I sound like a natural now, huh? Cocktail parties here I come). Our fourth wine, Chime’s Pinot Noir, started our group out on the reds and was a very light and clear wine with a little bit of a cherry taste. Being more of a red wine drinker, I loved the Noir, as well as, our fifth wine, Magness Cabernet Sauvignon, a deliciously velvety and fruity wine. We concluded our two hour class with a Barnard Griffin Syrah Port. Move over chocolate, port wine might become my new dessert—or maybe I’ll just pair them as I now learned I can. You certainly only need a little bit of the sweet port—the wine can definitely pack a punch with its 18.5% ABV.

I did feel that I walked away from the class knowing a lot more about wine because of Dickinson’s instruction—I do think that taking notes was very worthwhile because, let’s be honest, things can get a little hazy after sampling six wines. Not a note taker? Not to worry, when you register for your class, Indulge sends you an electronic copy of their book, A Fun and Informative Introduction to the Wonderful World of Wine, as well as, a Food and Wine Pairing Chart (bingo). Practice makes perfect, so I will be taking it upon myself to keep trying out new wines—it’s a hard life becoming a wine connoisseur. Maybe one day I’ll even be able to assure that partygoer that it must be the eucalyptus undertone, typical of California Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons, that triggered his initial thought of freshly cut grass. Boom.


Indulge Wine School

Avenue Grill
630 East 17th Avenue

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