Look, Sniff, Swirl, Swish, Drink--Wine takes work!

With just two days left before my friend Janet went home for the summer, we decided that we needed to do something fun and adventurous...something that neither of us ever had done before. I wanted to go to the Wild Waves: Theme & Water Park. Not only did the weather forecast predict clear and sunny skies (I happen to check the weather obsessively...this is what happens when you live in a city with such unpredictable weather), but I had also just bought this new swimsuit at the Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sale that I was just dying to wear...not to mention that ever since I've been living on the mainland, my tan has been completely screwed up, and this was the perfect excuse to do some tanning damage control. However, she wanted to do some wine taste testing. You know, drive to the wine country, check out a couple of wineries, and drink, drink, drink. And guess who won...yes, she did.

I wasn't complaining though; I had always wanted to go to a winery to test taste wine. My most vivid and only memory of going to a winery/vineyard was in Napa Valley, California, a place famously known for their wineries and vineyards. Actually, it was more like several wineries. I was about 13 or 14 years old, and my mom, her boyfriend, Colin, and my cousin, Giezel, who is six months older than me, went on a little road trip to the land of the grapes and wine. But because we were underage, we ended up staying in the car while my mom and Colin went off to the different vineyards, went on tours, and tried a whole bunch of wine. Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of fun waiting in the yellow Nissan Xterra rental car that smelled like cherries, (yeah, the memory was that vivid), but then again, we were strange little children...who knows what we did to entertain ourselves for those countless hours of wine tasting.

But any way, coming back to the story about my current adventure, Janet and I decided to focus on the wineries of Woodinville...I know that there are a lot more around the state, but one, we didn't want to drive too far, and two, a lot of the wine tasting tours only happen on the weekends. And it was a Thursday. So Woodinville it was.

The only winery in Woodinville that gave tours on the weekdays was Chateau Ste. Michelle, so Janet, her friend Kalei, and I decided to go there. It was a cute little winery...and we got there just in time for the 35 minute tour. One thing that I happened to notice while we were waiting for the tour to start was that we were the youngest people there. But whatever. We were over 21 so it didn't really matter.

And so the tour began. The tour guide, let's call her Betty (why can't I ever remember anybody's names?), took us through this factory where the wine was being bottled. Upon entering, you could instantly smell the all the wine! Yum! Did you know that before the wine goes into the bottles, they put Nitrogen inside to flush out all the Oxygen? Because apparently, Oxygen ages the wine. (The inner chemist in me thought that this was a very cool fact. Sorry.)

After seeing how the wine was put into bottles, Betty led us to another area of the factory where HUMONGOUS barrels of grapes were being fermented. She kept talking and talking and talking, about Washington (I guess a lot of the people on the tour were from out of state), and so I stopped paying attention to her after awhile, because you know, I've been living in Washington for about four years, and I figured that I knew enough about the state. So while she was talking, I decided to look around, all the while giving Janet looks of boredom. The only thing that I got out of her little shpeel was that at this winery, they only made white wine.

After that, Betty finally took us into the wine tasting room. Again, more barrels of wine. And oh, a bar. With glasses of wine! But not so fast! Because Betty likes to talk! So we couldn't drink the wine just yet! Although, I must mention, what perhaps was the moment of the day, hell, maybe the week, was that while we were listening to Betty talk, I walked over and stood next to Kalei, and all of a sudden, this huge woman grabs me by the shoulders, and she physically moves me about three feet to the left. And I'm thinking, what the hell?! Janet had witnessed this and was giving me WTF looks, as was I. Later did I realize, that she wanted to take a picture of her husband, and I was standing in his way. But really, couldn't she just have said, "Excuse me, could you please move?" But then I thought, maybe she didn't speak English. But then again, she could have tapped my shoulder and motioned for me to move, not move me herself. It was okay in the end though, because she was quite apologetic after (she must have noticed the extremely confused and shocked look on my face).

But any way, we finally get to the fun part...wine tasting! We got to try three different wines: Chardonnay (white), Merlot (red), and Muscat Canelli (dessert). Now, here is the secret to tasting wine: first, hold up your glass and look at it. How is the color? How is the clarity? If it is clear, it's good. If it's murky or has pieces in it, pass on that. Now, smell the wine. You should be able to smell the alcohol at first. Now, swirl the wine in your glass to "open up" and release the flavor of the wine. Smell the wine again. You shouldn't be able to smell the alcohol anymore...it should smell a bit different; there are no wrong answers here. Now, take a little bit of wine in your mouth and swish it around. By doing this you are cleansing your palette. Now take another sip of wine. This is how your wine should taste. And let me tell you, it really does make a difference!

Out of the three wines that we tasted today, I have to say that the Muscat Canelli was DELICIOUS! It was very light and sweet. Perfect with spicy food and dessert. So naturally, I had to get a bottle of it.

To conclude this extremely long post, (sorry about that), I will say, it was a very good day, and very good experience. Mission accomplished.