Published on May 31st, 2018 | by Nature Humphries0
Understanding Wine 101: Nine-Week Course to be Taught Every Wednesday Stella on the Oxford, Mississippi Square June 6-August 8, 2018
Local wine lovers are in for a treat this summer, as Stella gears up for a nine-week wine-tasting course, Understanding Wine 101. Created and taught by the restaurant’s co-owner Cindy Kirk, the course will begin on Wednesday, June 6, and take place from 6 to 7 pm each Wednesday through August 8 with the exception of July 4. Spaces are limited to 12 students per class; reserve your spot well ahead of time so you don’t miss anything.
Each class will be conducted at Stella’s bar and will focus on a different variety of wine, beginning with Chardonnay and covering several major styles of white wines before tackling Champagne and then moving on to red wines. The price of each class will vary depending on the number of wines tasted, anywhere from $35 to $60, and students will taste between four and six or seven labels in each class. For those who would like to attend all nine classes, the cost is $350.
The idea for this course came about when one of the servers at Stella raved to her mother about Mrs. Kirk’s server wine training, which is aimed to educate the restaurant staff so they can better advise guests who have questions about the wine list or need help selecting a wine.
“One of the local servers was talking to her mom about this, and her mother said, ‘Oh my gosh, I would love this. See if Cindy would do this for me and my friends,’” Kirk said. “And that’s how the idea germinated.”
Overall, the main purpose of the course is just to have a good time and learn a few things about wine. “You can get a degree in oenology, and we’re not going to go into the chemistry of it all,” said Kirk. “I am going to explain some simple things like tannins and how winemakers use oak and [different] processes to flavor and come up with different styles of wine.”
The first class will concentrate on Chardonnay, and guests will taste several different styles, including both oaked and unoaked wines as well as those that have undergone malolactic fermentation, which can give the wine a “buttery” characteristic. Each taste will consist of a 2 oz. pour, accompanied by some explanation by Kirk about the different processes involved in the making of the wine.
By tasting the wines alongside each other, Kirk hopes that the winemaking concepts will be more accessible to her guests. “It’s one thing for someone to tell you [about the processes],” she said. “If you’re not tasting them side-by-side—an oaked versus an unoaked, or a malolactation versus a non-malo—they’re just general concepts. But when you’re tasting it side-by-side you really can get a deeper understanding.”
The nine classes will cover Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, “other whites” including Viognier and Sémillon, Champagne, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, and “other reds” such as Malbec and Syrah. Kirk says the most expensive class will be the Cabernet, at $60, “but again that’s six or seven wines, and some of these bottles are over $100 apiece. So they’re higher-end wines. In that class we’ll be tasting Silver Oak Napa Valley and Silver Oak Alexander Valley side-by-side to see the differences.”
So for anyone who loves wine and would like to learn more about how it’s made, how to choose a wine to pair with a certain dish, or just taste some new varieties, Stella’s Understanding Wine 101 class is sure to please and educate.
This would also be an excellent opportunity for local service industry workers to hone their wine skills and support another great local restaurant.