Although Richmond is coming into its own as a craft beer mecca of sorts, Secco Wine Bar is making sure we learn to appreciate the charm of carefully fermented grapes by offering Drink Something Different wine classes.
Julia Battaglini and Matt Brehony relayed their knowledge of European-based wine in the newly renovated section at Secco Wine Bar this past Tuesday. For $30, you get a generous tasting of six wines (with a surprise ending), light snacks to munch, and an enlightening conversation with two people who know the importance of reading wine labels.1 Let’s just say, it’s a history lesson that’s worth drinking to, spanning from the Arneis grape almost going extinct, to France’s bizarre reasoning behind making Coca-Cola flavored wine (hint: it’s for the kids).
Many of us came in with just a slight knowledge of wine, and a dislike for Riesling, but if you say that too loud, Julia will respond, “we’ll beat it into you.”
Here’s a quick rundown of what we sampled:
Vietti Arneis: “Very Italian” dry white wine from Piedmont, Italy
This light, amazing white was a perfect starter wine. It goes with everything, but I’d definitely like to sip it while eating brie and crackers.
Lucashof Riesling: Medium-dry Riesling from Germany
Alright, it was love at first sniff, and it was conversion at first sip. It wasn’t too sweet, and apparently goes with all food, if you’re into that sort of thing. And no, I was not beaten into liking it, but nicely coaxed instead.
Tiphaine Rosé: Full-bodied, floral, and French
I was already a little biased going into this, because I am a rosé girl through and through. It was suggested to have with breakfast, but let’s be more appropriate and say with brunch.
Rolet Jura Rouge: Bright red and earthy, from France
Best quote: “I want to marinate in it.”
Roagna Dolcetto: Ruby-colored, dry, and fruity (definitely can taste figs), from Italy
This winery is run by a handful of people, and they keep the business within the family–talk about dedication!
Cubillo Rioja: Light red wine with hints of red berries, spices, smokiness, from Spain
Julia rating: “Best effing wine ever.” I can also proudly say I did sense a cherry-like flavor as well as the smoky undertones.
Cocchi Americano Rosato: An aromatized wine from Piedmont, Italy
This tasted like chai tea, but in wine form. I have no idea how they did it, but they did it beautifully. I usually like a spiced wine warmed and in the winter, but fairly chilled and at the end of a meal in the summer is even better.
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- It’s worth it to get a pricier bottle, because anything less than $10 is either closeout or has gone bad. This is difficult for my young mind to fathom when I can go to Trader Joe’s and buy a red for $3. Nevertheless, I can brand myself a burgeoning wino and head to Secco to grab an old-world wine instead.
- If there is leftover wine, store it in smaller containers.2
- A bonus point for decent red wines is that they won’t stain teeth! Or at least the ones at Secco won’t, I was scoffed at for asking such an offensive question that concerned drinking these at parties.
Most importantly, we must rebel against the generations of palate oppression, explore past the buttery chardonnays, and embrace decently made Riesling! And don’t forget the beloved Rosé and the Third Annual Rosé Crawl3 that will be happening next Wednesday, I sure won’t.
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