More on Aspen!! I thought I would share a few things about the wine that we experienced there. My travel buddy is certainly more educated in this area than I, so I will keep my comments brief.
I am a bargain wine drinker, I will admit this. I have a hard time spending more than $20 on a bottle unless it is a special occasion. Most of the wine we buy is from Trader Joe's and goes for under $10/bottle. However, after 4 days in Aspen and this guy, my thoughts have changed. There are times when a bit more mullah is necessary, especially for Pinot Noirs. Life is too short to drink shitty wine!
If you are going to drink a Pinot Noir, might as well be one from Sonoma County, CA. I was able to attend a Sonoma Pinot class during the Aspen FOOD & WINE Classic, led by Mark Oldman, one of the country's top wine enthusiasts. He is THE BEST! He really impressed me because he took the "snootiness" out of wine drinking. He encouraged "brave" drinking and bargain bottles. The best part about him is that he confirmed 2 things that many people argue with me about:
- Twist tops are OK and can prevent wine spoilage.
- Red wines should be served slightly chilled.
Many people think that a twist top means that it is cheap wine and won't taste good (that the winery maybe skimmed on corking the bottles). Mark Oldman says that the twist tops are totally acceptable in the wine industry and can actually help prevent the rare case of spoilage caused by air getting through the cork. He also confirmed that you should definitely chill Pinot Noirs, specifically to 57F. Put it in an ice bucket with water and not the refrigerator. This helps focus the flavors of the wine and makes it more refreshing!
Even though the Pinot class was the only dedicated wine seminar we attended, wine was still very abundant in the Tasting Tents. If you remember from my first Aspen Classic post, the Tasting Tents opened twice a day for two hours. There was a large add-on tent in the back for Spain. We checked this out during our second Tasting Tent visit and proceeded to go back each time. It was featuring all Spanish wines and foods, which was my favorite. In my opinion, Spanish wines have the most flavor and complexity of all the other regions we tasted. They were also served with Spains renowned Jamón serrano!
Another "trend" we noticed during the Classic was the plethora of Rosés and Rosatos, which are light pink in color. Another myth buster! I went for it and tried most of them determined to convince myself that a really good Rosé or Rosato doesn't have to be sweet AT ALL. Once I returned to NC, I noticed that Rosés were everywhere! All over the wine stores, grocery stores, markets, etc.....and I was LOVING it!
So, recap, wine lessons learned:
- Twist tops are OK and often better!
- Slightly chill red wine.
- Best Pinots are found in Sonoma and Bourdeux, France.
- Spanish wines rock!
- Don't be scared of a light pink wine.
- Mark Oldman is awesome!