The Weekly Bleat: Sheep Thrills
Sheep Thrills Italian Non-Vintage Red Blend and 2016 Pinot Grigio
A couple of weeks ago, I was grocery shopping at our local Kroger when I spotted these whimsical wine labels featuring sheep attached to parachutes with the name, Sheep Thrills. Although I didn’t know anything about the brand of wine, the bottles were too cute to pass up, so I bought them. Since they were in the $10.00 range, I thought I’d take them home for homework. 😉
Some of you may recall that Farmguy and I are taking the Level 3 Award in Wines through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). It’s a wine course based in London, England that requires its global participants to understand wines well enough to explain style and quality; and, part of our final exam is a blind tasting of two wines–one white and one red where we have to write detailed tasting notes on each. So, because this portion of the exam counts as half, we’ve been “studying” by tasting (and spitting–because we’d be under a table if we didn’t) various wines. The main goal is to improve our tasting skills by identifying primary, secondary, and tertiary aromas and flavors in wine.
During our first class, which mostly seemed to be comprised of people in the wine industry (and we’re not), I felt a bit stressed. Our instructor jumped right in with the wine tastings—each class we taste about 6-8 wines from various regions. Anyway, she asked folks to introduce themselves and then walk everyone through the wine we were tasting. I heard people saying, “I’m getting….forest floor, tarragon, mocha, and petrol… Well, can I just say at that point, I thought, y’all really gettin’ all of that? Because, I’m mainly gettin’ some crushed grape. Panic started to set in, especially since I didn’t want to walk anyone through a tasting note…at least not until I’d gone home and sniffed all my spices, gas tank, and taken a walk in the woods….for practice. As my chest tightened and my breathing became shallow, I started counting how many people were in front of me. Relief! There were ten people in front of me, and there were only eight wines. I thought, thank you, Jesus. As I breathed a little easier, I heard someone announce that they were getting “wet wool” on the nose. At that moment, I smiled and made a note to make sure to smell the sheep when I got home. 🙂
Here’s the thing: Even though Farmguy and I had written lots of tasting notes over our intensive (3 day) Level 2 Award wine course this summer, the grid tasting profile was a little hazy. Normally, when I’m having a glass of wine, I’m just enjoying it. I’m not always evaluating it for its clarity, intensity, color, condition, aroma characteristics, development, sweetness, acidity, tannins, alcohol, body, flavor intensity, flavor characteristics, and finish.
As I sat there, feeling a bit rusty and somewhat out of my element, a girl from the back row yelled out, “soap” as a wine descriptor. And then, I realized something…I’m probably not the only one feeling this way. So, I stopped being nervous and concluded that any class where I’m learning about and tasting wine is a good class, and best of all—practice makes perfect! 🙂
**For a little more practice and a lot of fun, I thought I’d write tasting notes for these two wines:
Wine: 2016 Sheep Thrills Pinot Grigil–Italy
This wine is clear, pale, lemon. It has a clean nose with light intensity. This youthful wine is fragrant with hints of lemon zest, green apple, and chamomile. On the palate, it’s dry with medium minus acidity, medium alcohol, and medium body. It’s flavor intensity is medium and features lots of citrus notes and green apple. This is a simple, balanced wine with a relatively short finish. Drink now for best results as it’s not suitable for aging. This refreshingly, light Pinot Grigio would be perfect on a sunny afternoon. $11.00
Wine: Non-Vintage Sheep Thrills Red Blend–Italy
This wine is clear, medium, ruby. It has a clean nose with medium plus intensity. This youthful wine is very fragrant with scores of black fruit–blackberry, black cherry, and black raspberry. It also has some spice, especially cloves and black pepper as well as a hint of earthiness. On the palate, it’s medium-dry (tiny bit of sweetness) with medium acidity, medium alcohol, medium body, and medium tannins. Its flavor intensity is medium plus as it is extremely jammy. Once again, lots of blackberry, black cherry, black raspberry, blueberry, and a bit of green pepper. This youthful wine is well balanced with medium plus intensity and a medium finish. Drink now; don’t age. Overall, this wine is very good and would be lovely with cheese or your favorite pasta. $11.00