I am not a wine connoisseur but I enjoy discovering delicious wines! I approach this post as someone who has been seeking ways to minimize pesticides in my diet (a European organization identified an average of over 4 pesticides in the 40 bottles they tested, even up to 10 pesticides in some!) while not sacrificing the adventure and joy that I experience from discovering interesting wines.
Monday evening, I attended my first wine tasting class at Astor Wines & Spirits in NYC. A few months earlier, I had sent Ms. C of The S File™ to learn more about "The Wines You Should Be Drinking," a wine tasting class led by Andrew Fisher, president of Astor Wines & Spirits. The focus of the class is on organic, natural, and biodynamic wines.
The class was delightful, fascinating and educational. It was a treat to get to know Mr. Fisher who is deeply passionate about his area of expertise -- wine. (I highly recommend a class at Astor Wines, if you get the chance.)
My two favorite wines were a Pinot Noir and a Zinfandel (the class also voted these two the best).
Touraine Pinot Noir, Thierry Puzelat 2009, Loire France
Thierry Puzelat has been described as "quirky," "a renegade Natural winemaker," "eccentric," and "a God to many who like natural wines.
After the class took its first sip of this Pinot Noir, Mr. Fisher said of this wine, "this is what Pinot Noir is supposed to taste like!" The class agreed!
I've been drinking it since Ms. C first went to this class a few months ago and it tasted even better last night. Being conscientious about the temperature of the room in which the wine is stored (they are stored at 58 degrees at Astor Wines) results in a difference that I even noticed!
Thierry Puzelat starts the wine process with healthy organic grapes that are hand-harvested and uses minimal "modern" interventions during the winemaking process. If you're interested in exploring different types of winemaking (different from conventional winemaking which may be automated, mechanized, and uses pesticides and a lot more sulfite), then wines by Puzelat is a must-try! Mr. Fisher described him as a "rock star in wine making" and a Google search will identify other very intrigued fans.
Dashe "Heart Arrow Ranch," Les Enfants Terribles 2009, California, USA
Another top class favorite was this Zinfandel by Dashe Cellars of the Heart Arrow Vineyard in Mendocino, California. I'm not usually a fan of Zinfandels but I really enjoyed this one! Mr. Fisher described this wine as food-friendly and said "this is how wine should be made."
Dashe Cellars' Husband and Wife Team
Todd Brothers Vineyard
Dashe "Heart Arrow Ranch," Les Enfants Terribles 2009, Mendocino California