About two weeks ago, Baja Barry and Pat invited us to a local wine bar in Willow Glen called The Grapevine, owned by neighbor and good friend, Valerie Evans.
Valerie Evans, a Certified Sommelier, took over the wine bar recently and has built up quite a local following with her popular events that span from entertaining to educational in the world of wine. On this particular evening, we were signed up for an educational adventure in component tasting ($35/student, $25/club member).
If you ever envied Andrea Immer Robinson for her ability to swirl, smell, sip and spill dramatic adjectives of honeysuckle poetics, this would be the class you would take to begin the journey of wine conversation mastery.
We first had some delicious wine and tapas at Barry and Pat’s which was only a few blocks from The Grapevine. When we arrived at the wine bar, the room was already filled with about 30 students and brimming with aromas wafting from jars and dishes of vegetables, fruits, butter and even the occasional oddity such as a piece of slate. There were easily over a hundred different items for us to smell and compare to the six wines that were poured, aiding us in the selection of descriptors. For the items that were less familiar and even exotic, the class offered the rare opportunity to smell the items all in one convenient location.
My favorites of the flights of wine were the Bartolo, 2005 Central Coast Merlot ($24.95) and the Jazz, 2006 Napa Zin Blend ($24.95). The selections from New Zealand and South Africa were also a pleasant detour from the usual California wines I drink.
I enjoyed how Valerie made the class very approachable and fun. She even threw some curve balls into the tasting notes suggestion, including the infamous “cat pee ‘litter box'” entry. Another attendee also attested to the fact she smelled aromas of “band-aid” in one of the wine selections.
If you have an evening to spare and enjoy wine, The Grapevine is a great venue to catch some wine and perhaps some wine gossip as well.
The Grapevine Wine Bar
1389 Lincoln Avenue
San Jose, CA 95125