Australia will kill you, but not their wine!

pic by: born 1945

This week at Wine Class we learned that 95% of people in Australia live within 20 miles of the ocean. This is because the climate is so harsh. And, as our illustrious wine teacher explained: Everything in Australia is trying to kill you. Crocodiles, Taipan Snakes, Blue Ringed Octopus. They even have poisonous ants.

What will not kill you is their wine! Heavy fruit due to warm climates. We tasted a Molly Dooker Shiraz in class and it was punch you in the face WONDERFUL. Other recommended wines: Hainault Pinot Noir and Penfold’s Grange Hermitage (Hermitage is slang for Shiraz).

Even with the scary atmosphere, I would love to visit Australia, sticking close to the wine growing areas, of course. And if I get bit by something weird, maybe the wine will cure me!!


The USA is Behind!

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The sad fact is that while the United States is the 4th largest producer of wine in the world, it falls to #57 in consumption. Per capita we drink just 2.6 gallons of wine a year. Compare that to France, where their per capita number for wine drinking is 14.1 gallons.

Obviously this is a serious problem, one that we must all chip in to overcome. I, myself, have sworn to increase my wine consumption weekly. Or perhaps daily. It is my patriotic duty.

Please feel free to join me in this endeavor. We should not let the French plus 55 other countries win!!


My New Favorite Grape!

Here it is: Petite Sirah!!

I found myself at a wine making event at High Country Home Brew and we tasted 5 wines (paired with great food) While I was expecting to most love the wine that contained Cabernet Franc, a long favorite, I found to my surprise that it was a Petite Sirah that captivated my taste buds!

Then later this week while at lunch, they happened to feature a Petite Sirah. And it was as good or better than I remembered. Then I bought a bottle (okay 3) and opened it a few nights ago. Completely enjoyable. It’s so dark and rich and spicy. I have never even tried this grape before and am now in love.

I looked the variety up in Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible and found out that Petite Sirah’s background is obscure and may be a blend/cross cultivation of a few cultivars.

Whatever it’s heritage, it seems I am tasked with the arduous job of procuring as many different bottles as I can and tasting them all so that I can become fully educated. I promise to give it my fierce attention!!!


Great Wines Under $20

Yes, I am cheap, but if I can find great wines for less than $20, maybe I am also a genius!!!

Because of, ahem, Wine School, I know that the best quality wines from France have a AoC/AOP classification. Quality wines from Italy have a DOC classification. I have found some of both in this book. (We’ve only gone that far in class, so I can’t comment on other countries, but next week: Germany!)



This little book gives you so much information. Where the wines come from, what to eat with the wine, body style, producer. It will make you look like you have been to Wine School!!

Written by Elyse Luray $14.99. I got it at the Tattered Cover, right across the street from Wine Class (International Wine Guild)


Drink Up!!


My husband and I just raided our wine cellar. AND THREW AWAY A WHOLE BUNCH OF WINE. Little did I know until I started wine class that most wines are meant to be drunk within 5 years of their bottling. Wines from old vines or ones that have a lot of tannins, can be aged. Beaujolais’ CANNOT. In fact, any wine that is made by a process known as carbonic maceration, (aren’t you proud of me for knowing that?) will not age well.

We hefted a bunch of older wines upstairs and opened away. Some tasted like vinegar. Some, like the Beaujolais, had completely come apart and it was gross emptying them out in the sink. There was one Cabernet that survived, so we did what we must and drank it. We are about to buy some tags and start tagging what we have so we will not need to repeat this massacre.

Being poured into the sink is not a proper end for wine! Carpe Diem! Eat, drink and be merry! DRINK UP!!


Champagne Is Made From Red Grapes!

Most Champagne is made with RED GRAPES. The 3 grapes that are used in making Champagne (real from the area of Champagne in France) are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meniur. Those last two mentioned are RED!! And unless you have a Champagne marked “Blanc de Blanc” which is 100% Chardonnay, there definitely is some red grape in there and probably it is mostly red grapes!

This makes me want to drink it more!


Number Wine Charms

David: Mary, this is great.

Mary: What do you mean? These wine charms?

David: Yes, they are so cute and practical.

Mary: They are kind of cute and I think it might be pretty easy for people to remember a number so that they can find their wine glass. But you know I am really more of a word person than a number person. You know about my math issues.

David: No, you’re missing my point. I wasn’t thinking about using these for our guests.

Mary: What then?

David: You know how you love to talk and get into heated discussions with our friends? Or, let’s be honest, really, you will get in heated discussions with people who are not our friends. Just acquaintances. Or even our enemies. You will even just talk to a brick wall.

Mary: What’s your point?

David: Well, you get into this talking mode and you completely forget how many glasses of wine you have consumed. Then you get mad AT ME for LETTING you drink too much. This way you can just adjust your number as you drink, leaving no wine drinking to chance.

Mary: Huh. That’s actually not a bad idea, but do you think 6 will be enough?

Pier One- $7:95


Conserving Water

Mary: You know how I am not all that good at being green?

David: No one in their right mind would EVER think about you and the word GREEN in a sentence together.

Mary: Well, that’s a little harsh. Really, I do save some things to reuse.

David: You are the queen of trash. I can’t tell you how many times I take out the trash a week. It’s unbelievable. You leave the water running…

Mary: I’m doing the dishes for crying out loud!

David: Whatever. The lights are always left on all over the house and if I am out of town then you actually leave EVERY light on inside and out.

Mary: I am scared and trying to persuade burglars to go elsewhere.

David: But instead, you are advertising to the world that I am gone. Everyone in the neighborhood knows when I am traveling.

Mary: Hey, I do save, strip off labels from, and meticulously wash empty wine bottles so that you can make wine and use those bottles.

David: Fine, I will give you that, but have you EVER hung a towel back up in a hotel to reuse? I don’t think so. I wish you would think about some of these things sometime.

Mary: Well, I have decided to conserve something. You’ll be so proud. My new slogan is: Conserve Water, Drink Wine! All that water you were just complaining about, I just solved that problem. If I do dishes, then I am required to drink wine to offset my use of water. It’s perfectly brilliant and now people can say that I am green in at least this one area.

David: Don’t let anyone come between you and your desire to rationalize anything to get what you want. Fight hard for that, babe.

Saw this glass at Steinmart for $8.99.


What Wine Makes Possible

Mary: Look at these napkins! Aren’t they sweet! She wants to make a toast to her loving friends and family. And wants to toast wine, which makes toasting possible. That’s so nice.

David: That’s how you read that?

Mary: What do you mean? There’s a nice woman on a napkin wanting to toast those she loves.

David: No, I think it’s saying that wine makes it possible to toast her friends and family.

Mary: That’s what I said. If there were no wine, what would you toast with.

David: You’re not getting it. It’s saying that DRINKING the wine makes it possible to like your friends and maybe especially your family enough to want to toast to them. Like in…the more I drink the more I like you!

Mary: Well, that’s true. The more I drink, the more I DO like you.

David: This is why you drink more than I do. You are naturally more likeable than I am.

Mary: I thought it was because you are my designated driver, but that works, too!

I saw them at The Love Shop in Monument, CO for $5


Wine Tasting Coasters

Mary: Babe, these are so great, to use at parties and all. Our friends can come over, we can open wine and then we can grade it. Isn’t that fabulous?

David: Well, it’s an intriguing idea, but what do you know about judging wine?

Mary: Oh, see the coasters give you hints on one side and a place to grade the wine on the other side. It’s for people like me who don’t know that much about wine. It’s perfect. You can judge 5 different wines on each coaster.



David: After 5 wines, will you be able to see to write down what you think?

Mary: No, no, you are only TASTING the wine. 5 very small glasses.

David: When was the last time you had a SMALL glass of wine?

Mary: That’s besides the point. These coasters help you judge what you think about a wine’s appearance, aroma, taste, body and finish. That sounds like so much fun I can’t wait to start.

David: Drinking or judging?

Mary: Shut up.

David: You know, I think there is something inherently wrong with judging wine. Isn’t wine just like poetry? In the movie Dead Poet’s Society Robin Williams went on and on about how you are not supposed to judge poetry. You are supposed to let poetry “drip from our tongues like honey.” I believe that’s what he said.
Should we really be judging every single part of wine? Can’t we just experience the moment and enjoy the glass without feeling like we have to be an expert or make a statement. I say, NO judging of wine. Let’s just drink it!

Mary: If you insist.

Pottery Barn $15