As guests arrived, they selected their seats at tables set for 8, with members from both societies seated at every table. After a brief welcome and introductions, we started our sensory experience. Brad Smith and Trent Ball from the Yakima Valley Teaching Winery had 2 “sensory stations” set up. The first was a “mouth-feel” station where we evaluated our ability to detect and differentiate water solutions with one of 4 basic tastes – sweet, acidic, bitter or astringent. Each set of samples had 3 intensity levels, so we could find our “threshold” of detection. Tasting was done “in the blind.”
The second station was an “aroma” station with 10 fruits in wine glasses that we could see and smell, and 10 “doctored wines” – 5 reds and 5 whites – that we tried to match with 10 samples.
I found the aroma station to be the most challenging, as did many others. Everyone agreed, however, that the only way to improve our senses of taste and smell was to keep on practicing – by tasting and drinking a variety of wines! After being thoroughly humbled by the sensory experience, attendees were anxious to sit down for dinner.
Jessica Smith of The Sensual Fork catered our dinner. Each course was paired with a Yakima Valley Vintner’s wine. From comment cards, the favorite pairing was Gewürztraminer with Chèvre Crostini with Rosé, Cardamom and Rhubarb Compote. But, from the variety of comments and favorites noted, 2 conclusions: when it comes to wine and food, we like what we like; and, there
is no right or wrong answer!
One of the evening’s highlights was interaction between our members and those from the YES. We are looking forward to having future joint events!
Thank you to YES event co-chairman, Ron Larin, for helping me put this event together. Kudos to Brad Smith and Trent Ball for their hospitality and hard work, and to Jessica Smith for her culinary efforts. Good wine, good food, good company – that’s what it is all about!