Here’s some knowledge with your wine |

Here’s some knowledge with your wine

Summit Daily/Reid Williams Keystone Alpenglow Stube server Christina Mangliers quaffs the bouquet of a Slovenian red wine Monday at the Keystone Lodge. Mangliers and other resort restaurant staff took part in a seminar aimed at raising their wine IQ.

KEYSTONE – Think you can only drink white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat? Think sweet wines can’t be good wines? Think you should always drink white wines before reds?Think again.Members of the wine-quaffing public perpetuate more than a few myths about their favorite libations. But Colorado Mountain College’s culinary program and the International Wine Guild are joining forces to dispel those myths by bringing wine education to the mountains.The organizations plan to offer two to three wine seminars each month, open to everyone with a professional or personal interest in anything from port to pinot grigio.

“A resort area like this is a perfect place for wine education,” said International Wine Guild president Claude Robbins, who conducted a day-long seminar at the Keystone Lodge Monday. “You have very good restaurants with very knowledgeable people who always want to learn more. And you’ve got a lot of people who are guests here who know a lot about wine and want to try something interesting.”In Robbins’ “Wine Components Class,” a dozen students each sat behind four glasses, each filled with about three sips-worth of wine from France, Spain and Italy. The mood was studious, not festive, as the group diligently jotted notes on color, viscosity and clarity.The restaurant servers, chefs and lay aficionados sniffed a white French wine as Robbins guided them through the wine’s bouquet and aroma. “Can you pick up the butter, sweet cedar, the vanilla and cream behind that mushroom earthiness?” Robbins asked.

The group swirled it in their mouths, assessing acids, sugars and tannins, then charting the components’ “attacks” against the duration of their swallows.”When do you feel the tannins start to hit? Is it at the front of the mouth or the back? We’re getting beyond most of the books you’ve read. To get any more technical, you’d have to read an organic chemistry text,” Robbins said. “We’re delving pretty far into describing what wines are all about.”Robbins suggested food pairings with each wine, including a rare filet in dried cherry sauce with a tart chardonnay.”This wine was invented to go with wild game – elk, venison, pheasant, very earthy truffles, a little blue-veined cheese,” Robbins said of a 1997 Barbaresco Asili from Italy.

For culinary program director Kevin Clarke, the classes will show his students how to take their cooking up a notch.”Being able to dispel those myths about wine from a chef’s standpoint is very important,” Clarke said. “When they’re cooking with wine, they need to use an appropriate wine to have a good match with the food. It’s not ‘the food’ and ‘the wine.’ It’s ‘the food and wine.'”Most restaurant industry workers do the majority of their wine tasting when distributors drop by to hawk their wares, so the education is less objective and comprehensive than a seminar.”I learned a lot about important components in a wine to pair it with food, and how to recognize that for myself,” Alpenglow Stube server Jamie Mitchell said. “I also learned how to evaluate wine using more than just taste. Just by looking at the wine, you can tell the age of the vines.”

For the nonprofessional, wine education seminars can affordably open the door to a fascinating, life-long avocation. Most classes cost $50, but students are able to sample a collection of wine that would cost them about $300 to purchase on their own. “Wine is an incredibly complex intellectual endeavor. It’s one of those things you can develop a passion for,” Robbins said.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at

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