Close your eyes for one whole minute. (No peeking!) Take in the room. Take a deep breath through your nose and smell the scents wafting around you. Listen to the hum of your AC. Feel the carpet beneath your feet. Taste the flavors lingering on your tongue. (If you can taste things on your tongue, then pop a breath mint.)
Losing a sense can make your other senses sharper. With that premise, Tasting in the Dark was born. A monthly tasting hosted by Henry “Hoby” Wedler at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in California’s Alexander Valley, tasters are blindfolded* and led through a tasting of Coppola wines. Between the decadent wine and the exquisitely eloquently commentary from Hoby, the experience is inimitable.
I was honored to have been invited to the Dallas stop of the Tasting in the Dark tour at SĒR in the Hotel Anatole. After my last experience with FFC Wines, I was happy to explore more of their offerings. Hoby led our group through a tasting of four Coppola Diamond wines, two whites and two reds, and spoke with the group in detail about the smells, tastes, and textures of each. We each ventured a guess what varietal of wine we had in-hand, but for the most part failed miserably, some of us at times even guessing the wrong color.
Our host, Hoby is a grad student at UC-Davis who founded a chemistry camp for the blind and hosts the FFCW’s monthly Tasting in the Dark, and is uniquely qualified to lead this tasting as he has been blind since birth. Hoby’s descriptions of the wines is a thing of beauty. This guy … can seriously turn a phrase. He had our group so wicked hungry by the end of the tasting with his flowery descriptions of the meals that he’d recommend pairing with each wine. Luckily, we had lunch waiting for us.
I’d love to regale you with the intense flavors of the wines we tasted, but since we were blindfolded, I wasn’t able to take notes. That said, I’ll simply list the wines below, and encourage you to try each and every one because they were all delicious and worth a taste. Take your time before diving in and explore the smells and flavors of each. You’ll be surprised when you let the wines speak to you!
- 2012 Diamond Sauvignon Blanc
- 2012 Diamond Pinot Noir
- 2012 Diamond Chardonnay (Hoby recommends serving with seared pork belly)
- 2011 Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon (Hoby recommends serving with a smoked burger with a brioche bun topped with avocados, caramelized onions, and smoked cheddar)
If you’re ever touring the Alexander Valley, make sure you make Francis Ford Coppola Winery a stop on your agenda.
*These blindfolds were leGIT. I couldn’t see s**t, and my eyes burned like a vampire’s at dawn when I took it off.
***Please note: this tasting and subsequent meal was on the house.***