Grape Expectations

Students shown ways to appreciate wine

by Sally Claunch

Shelley Geiser said she only came to campus Wednesday to learn the art of wine appreciation.

"I just love wine," the biology sophomore said as she sampled some chianti.

On Wednesday, students at EX-CEL campus activities' wine tasting and seminar were encouraged to quit buying wine in screw-top bottles and learn how to appreciate wine.

In the University Center Red River and Concho rooms, students were served cheese and fruit as they sampled wines, including chardonnay, cabernet, chianti, Marwood Select, and white zinfandel.

Mark Gilbert, an area manager for Republic Beverage, a wholesaler and importer of wine, explained the American wine-drinking trend, how to drink wine and store wine.

He said the American wine industry experienced enormous growth after a "60 Minutes" story, "The French Paradox." The story said the French smoke more, exercise less, and eat more fat than Americans, yet they have fewer incidents of heart disease.

In the story, they attributed this to the fact that the French drink wine more frequently than Americans do.

Gilbert said because Americans are used to drinking cold, sweet things, they need to know the proper way to drink wine.

He said that white wine should be chilled to 50-55 degrees, and red wine should be served at 60-65 degrees. He said many Americans overchill their wine. He said if he had to serve inferior wine, he would overchill it.

"When you get wine very cold, it has no taste at all," he said.

He said people should look at and analyze wine before drinking. Darker, more opaque wines are heavier and should be served with heavier foods, while lighter wines should be served with food that has a more delicate flavor.

He said the wine drinkers should smell the wine.

Kent Gardner, vice president for students affairs and dean of students, said, "It smells like cheese."

He had been eating cheese between tasting wine samples.

Gilbert then said the wine should be swirled around on the palette to experience the subtle flavor.

Some of the wine served was non-alcoholic, which Gilbert said was not as good.

"It just cuts down on a good time and weakens the wine," he said.

He said wine should be stored in bottles laying on their side so the cork will not dry out. He said wine should be consumed within 24 hours of opening it. After 24 hours, the wine's flavor begins to fade.

He also said wine should never be put in the freezer because as it freezes, the cork can be forced out.

"Especially sparkling wine - it will blow up," he said.

 

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