Sunday, November 16, 2014

Barracks Row Culinary Education Crawl 2014

This past weekend, Barracks Row along 8th Street SE, became a cooking school campus with the 2014 Barracks Row Culinary Education Crawl. Over 20 classes were offered from 9:30 a.m. on Saturday to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday from establishments such as Senart'sMatchboxAmbar, and Belga Café . We went to last year's event, and decided to check out the "Syrah & Shiraz: A Succulent Study" wine tasting class offered by DCanter this year.

It's the perennial wine question - what's the difference between Syrah and Shiraz? The answer is more obvious than you might think - as they are the same grape.  There are a few different hypothesis as to how the name changed between countries, but even though they have the same foundation, there are still subtle differences between terroirs.  We tasted six wines in this seated 50 minute class to help us find out.

We started with two Rhône Valley Syrahs - the 2010 Romain Duvernay, Saint-Joseph AOP that is hand-picked from cliffs in cold climate and made in stainless steel to give a light and herbal effect and the 2010 Domain Mucyn, Crozes-Hermitage AOC that is much more floral and rich in flavor.  We paired both of these French Syrahs with a tasty fennel cheese.  We learned this wine also pairs well with game like lamb and duck.

Next, we tried a less popular Syrah from Idaho called 2012 Sawtooth from Snake River Valley AVA.  This wine region offers a continental climate creating a very fruity and peppery wine.  It paired well with the aged goat cheese.  This wine compared most with a South African Syrah called 2011 DeMorgenzon (DMZ) from Western Cape WO.  This wine was still fruity, yet a bit lighter in body and had hints of vanilla from the French Oak barrels its housed in.  I preferred the Idaho wine to this one, yet Keith preferred the South African one better.

Lastly, we tried two smoky Australian Shirazs - the 2011 Hope Estate Family Vineyards, Basalt Block, Hunter Valley that is machine-harvested in warm climate and had a floral fruity base with plum notes and a slight hint of bacon, and the 2009 d'Arenberg, The Laughing Magpie, McLaren Vale that is a blend of Shiraz with 10% Viognier creating a much sweeter version that Keith and I both enjoyed.

At the end of the class, we were encouraged to purchase some of the wine we sampled.  Though I love wine, we decided to pass on any of these bottles.  Overall, the class was fun and informative with a detailed powerpoint presentation to highlight the main notes of each and describe the various regions.  The Culinary Education Crawl on Barracks Row was a huge success - with each class sold out. If you missed it this year, look out for it again next year.  Additionally, DCanter offers other wine classes and events year round, check out their schedule here.

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