Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Wine Course Tastes Lenz!

I have gone back to school. And I've never had so much fun at school as I am having at the Kevin Zraly Windows on the World Complete Wine Course. What can I say, I am a strong believer in continuing education.

Zraly is a maniac in the best sense of the word. He's funny, energetic, enthusiastic. And he's deeply passionate about wine. Part Bob Barker and part Robert Parker, he makes wine even more fun and exciting than ever before. And he has a very keen and sharp sense of how to take complex regions and concepts and use layman's terms to break them down for the lay person. I cannot recommend Zraly, or the course itself, highly enough. I learn 10 new things every class.

I must say, just last night we did the Burgundy region. Now, I have a cellar one-third filled with Burgundy and Rhone wines. I know what I like - Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape (especially Beaucastel and Domaine de Beaurenard) as well as sundry classics like Clos de Tart, Joseph Drouhin's Clos de Mouches, Crozes Hermitage, Cote Rotie, and two highly coveted Echezaux.

But I pretend no knowledge of the region, and rely very much on the critics from Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, and Wine Enthusiast for their endorsements. Last night I looked like a blithering idiot trying to answer questions Mr. Zraly rattled off with his good natured smile and razor-sharp knowledge. I was wrong 50% of the time. In the end, I learned a lot, and look forward to learning more about the region.

Weeks earlier, however, while tasting chardonnays from California, Mr. Zraly threw in a New York chardonnay for tasting. He offered a Lenz Chardonnay from Long Island. Here Zraly was, teaching people about the abilities and characteristics of chardonnay, and he praised this wine during the serving and tasting.

Congrats to Eric Fry and the folks to Lenz!