I’ve always want to learn more about wine, and its ever-expanding universe of grapes, terroir and climates. But like most people, my reason is simple: I just want to make a better choice at the store or restaurant. And for that, the new wine class at Da Vine Art is ideal.
Maui boy Rodney Rodrigues is the teacher, and he’s the most unassuming of grape geeks. He’s not a sommelier–not that he couldn’t be one, just that it’s not what he does. For a few years, he was the wine buyer at Whole Foods Kahului, and he also works at Mama’s Fish House. His whole purpose in class is to teach you how to make better wine purchasing decisions, and he makes it fun, too.
The class starts with a loose theme. Last week it was Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noir, and this week it was Chardonnay and Cabs. Next week it will be wines not made in the US, with bubbles the week after that. The tasting goes through five wines, and there’s a blind tasting at the end. I always hated blind tasting until this class. Rodrigues guided us through the tasting protocols, and then we decided as a group what we were drinking. No pressure.
The lesson also touches on the kind of food you want to pair with the wine you’re drinking. There are also snacks to go along with the wine tasting–gourmet cheese, meats, crackers and organic fruits. Da Vine Art’s Tyler Woodard puts those together and explains them during the class. Bits of dry salami, mountain apple, dill chevre, fig, pecorino romano and organic strawberry were just some of the beautiful munchies they provided.
The space is intimate at Da Vine Art, which makes it feels like the perfect spot to learn about wine (having a wine store next door helps a lot). After the lesson, we went next door to put our newly sophisticated tastes to the test, and got special pricing on the wines we tasted.
After last Tuesday’s installment I learned lots of tasty tidbits, like what “cuvee” means and why a full-bodied wine like a Cab should be served with lamb over a medium body (it’s all about overpowering gaminess and mouthfeel). If you have no idea what I am saying, just come to class next Tuesday at 6pm. Reserve your space by phone or go to the Wine Corner to sign up.
Da Vine Art