Tapas w/ Txakoli & a Rioja

Throughout my life wine has been an interest, a statement, my adult beverage of choice {or a good margarita}.

When I was 17 and traveling through Europe I bought my 1st bottle. It was dark, aggressive, tannic and certainly not my favorite. However on a windy moonlit beach near Venice with a thunderstorm out at sea – it made sense.

On my 21st birthday I bought my 2nd bottle and the cashier didn’t even ask me for my I.D. – REALLY?!? It was a sweet Lambrusco and my uneducated palate loved pairing it with fresh berries and chocolate.

In my 20’s I learned the basics of wine and began to teach them to others who knew absolutely nothing. WINE 101 – for new employees at the restaurant in which I worked.

“Taste this Chardonnay and this Pinot Grigio – now tell me the difference & sell it to me.  – Also, this is how you open a bottle of sparkling wine without killing someone” – WINE 101 for new hires

Then I got a job at a  wine bar and it all changed. I remember the wine that made it click for me – it was a flight of 3 reds from the Canary Islands. I could taste the rich volcanic soil and I was hooked.

I’m lucky to have landed in the Willamette Valley – the heart of the Oregon’s wine industry and close to the warmer climates of Walla Walla and the Yakima River Valley in Washington.  I’ve grown to love the earthy nuances of pinot noir, the acidity of riesling, the citrus notes of pinot gris, the bell pepper hints of cab franc, and the tannic spice of syrah. I will always, always, always take a glass of tempranillo, Rioja of course!

Now in my 30’s I’ve learned that sun, soil, geography, science, culture, history, language and above all passion get squeezed into every 750 ml bottle. Whenever I go on a road trip or camping I make sure to stop at a tasting room or two, sometimes to my traveling partner’s exhaustion.

I’ve had the fortunate experience of traveling briefly through some the vineyards of Bordeaux, Basque Country, Rioja & Cava Country in 2014 {I can’t wait to go back}.

I’m currently pursuing an Advanced WSET certification (level 3). In July of 2016 I passed the Introductory Sommelier Course through The Court of Master Sommeliers. During the course we practiced deductive tasting, while doing my first blind tasting under pressure {wait for it} I correctly chose a Rioja Reserva.

I’m not sure where my journey will take me next, but I’m excited and I’m positive that there will be a bottle of wine there – probably a Rioja {Gran Reserva}.

Also, if you’re interested in forming a tasting/study group contact me.