Tasting Room will be open during Nationals
August is a special month here around Knoxville, IA. Visitors from all over the world converge in our town of 7,000 for 4 days of sprint car racing excitement. This year’s Sprint Car Nationals will be held August 8-11. Many of the racing fans that stop by the Tasting Room in downtown aren’t aware that Iowa has a wine industry, much less a winery right here in Knoxville. The Tasting Room will be open during Nationals with specials on wine, free live music, and more. We won’t have our usual First Friday Live, instead we'll host 2 bands from Des Moines: TCBAS and Dynasty will perform on both Friday and Saturday 3:00 – 6:00pm to accommodate the racing schedule.
Special invitation for our email subscribers
The Tasting Room downtown will close on August 12, 2018 as we begin our move. We are awaiting formal government acceptance and anticipate that will happen by middle of August. In the meantime work continues on creating an inviting indoor space for guests as well as a functional work area for wine processing. Once these tasks are complete (or nearly so) we will invite you to a special opening at the winery. This will be an invite only to you and other supporters on our mailing list and won’t be open to the public. We will issue a special invite via email. It will be a daytime, weekend event in September, details on that to come with your invite. We encourage you to bring friends or let people know they can sign up for our mailing list at our website, www.nearwoodwinery.com to receive the invite as well as our monthly e-news.
I recently got a chance to attend a wine tasting proficiency seminar at Iowa State University. Hey, who wouldn’t love to drink wine all day and get credit for it? The proficiency training was a special one-day conference that was an active, hands-on learning experience moderated by Erin Norton, Education and Outreach Coordinator with the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute. The class consisted of about 20 people, mostly employed or in training from nearby wineries.
One of the first things we learned was how to taste wine all day and remain sober. There is a special technique you may have seen before that entails taking a sip, swishing the wine around like mouthwash to completely coat your tongue, drawing air with closed lips to vaporize aromatic compounds, holding the wine for 5 seconds, then expectorate into a spittoon. I found learning to spit wine without spraying or dribbling it is an art in itself.
Soon we explored how to describe taste and smell with the help of the handy aroma wheel. This is a tool that categorizes common wine aromas in a 3-tiered system listing good and not so good aromas. Once you have vocabulary to describe what your senses are perceiving, you can identify pleasant components as well as “faults.” This exercise also included lots of sniffing fragrant extracts such as pear, apricot, honey, lemon, and melon. This lovely short-lived exercise of all wine and roses turned sour quickly when we were invited to smell the more odious ethyl acetate (think nail polish), acetaldehyde (chemical), and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg); just a few of the wine faults that can creep into wine gone bad.
By the end of the day, I was feeling rather bolstered in my wine knowledge. I couldn’t wait to go to the next tasting room to show off my technique and expound really awesome sounding insights just like a real wine snob. Seriously though, part of the experience of wine tasting is to discover how different wines can be depending on type of grape, where it is grown, how it is processed and all the characteristics that go into enjoying one of our favorite beverages.
When I think of pairing wine with food the first thing I think about is cheese. Historically wine and cheese from the same locations in Europe have been served together for hundreds of years, often times from the same farm or village.
Similar to the “white wine with fish and red wine with meat” concept is the traditional idea of pairing strong wines with strong cheeses. Full-bodied wines are often paired with strong, flavorful cheese. Astringent foods (like some wines) alternated with creamier foods (like cheese) often create a pleasant taste combination. The scientists believe foods that sit on opposite ends of the spectrum of taste often create a pleasant taste sensation, triggering a good match in the mind. The protein and fat can soften the perception of tannins in red wines, the creaminess can balance the acidity in white wines, or the texture can complement sweet wines. Not every wine goes with every cheese, and a typical cheese plate—mixing styles and textures of cheeses—can be a fascinating exercise in realizing how a single wine in your glass works with some, but not all, of the cheeses you are sampling.
Here’s 4 tips to consider as guidelines.
Try a wine and cheese pairing this Mother’s day at the Tasting Room
Nearwood Winery has collaborated with Frisian Farms in nearby Leighton, Iowa, to pair their locally-produced gouda cheeses with Nearwood wine on Sunday, May 13. Discover a new experience with wine and cheese.
Joann Schissel, Wine, art and story lover
Where is Nearwood Winery & Vineyards?
Join our mailing list today!