Students toast to Friends of Wine at first meeting

Photo by Daniela Walter

Daniela Walter

Friends of Wine hosted its first meeting of the semester at Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. FOW is a student club that meets weekly with the intention to promote wine and educate students and aficionados through tastings, seminars, and by bringing wine industry speakers.

Amanda Bates, current president of FOW, explained that Friends of Wine was founded by Chip Cassidy, assistant director of Beverage Research and Lab Operations, in 1973 and brought to FIU in 1989. In its starting years, it was referred to as Les Amin du Vin. In which Cassidy conducted the meetings by preparing extensive gourmet menus to be paired with a very special selection of wines.

Over the years, the club has been passed through the hands of many students and it has been transformed into a club where students are able to enjoy tasting wine in a less academic setting, network with peers, and focus on the art and science of tasting.

Bates said that for this fall semester, FOW is focusing on being an independent, student-run club where the officers are responsible for utilizing their own network resources and recruiting professionals in the industry to speak at the seminars and sponsor the club with wines for tasting. The officers themselves also conduct some of the tastings, which allows students to research the wines and share knowledge with their peers in creative ways.

During the meeting, Bates welcomed each guest with an appetizing glass of Rose. All of its officers were present: Vice President Nicole Linares and Marketing Director Oswaldo Limongi as well as the ambassadors: Cortessa, Juan Carlos Santana, Huvenda and Alise. The officers did an amazing job on introducing while explaining the main characteristics of the corresponding grape and wine presented in the evening. In total, there were six wines.

The second wine of the night was my favorite white: a Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River Valley, CA. The producer is Hanna Winery & Vineyards and the vintage is 2011.

It had a light body with a pale golden color. Its scent was grassy with hints of lime, guava and white pepper. On the palate, its pleasantly crisp acidity surprised me and it ended with a medium-short finish. Great buy for only $19 and 13.2 percent alcohol. Usually a wine that is high in acidity should also be paired with a food that has high acidity as its main ingredient; the best example would be the use of lemon in ceviche, which goes lovely with this wine.

The third red and last wine of the night was a Zinfandel from Paso Robles, CA. The producer is Rosenblum Cellars and the vintage is 2008. It had a brick color, already showing signs of age; as red wines get old, they come lighter in color. The 18 months it aged in oak barrel contributed to a medium body with scents of blackberry and black pepper, although its minerality added balance to this unique wine. The finish was long and you can pair it very well with any meat dish. You can find this wine for $30.

If you would like more information on FOW please check them out on Facebook: Friends of Wine FIU.

Here are some of the next meetings you should not miss: the Wine and Food Pairing Dining Experience held on Sept. 24 and the Quintessa Block Tasting featuring Master Sommelier Larry Stone held October 1.

– Daniela Walter is a Teaching Assistant to professors Chip Cassidy and Bill Hebrank of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

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