Wine Walks in Maine are the perfect pairing – wine education while on vacation – or an afternoon appreciating wine at new-to-you local venues. Your lovely host Erica Archer, CWP, WSET, offers this fun format of mobile wine classes in the Kennebunks, Ogunquit, and Portland, and Wine Sails in Portland and Camden.
I joined in a Friday Wine Walk in Kennebunk, as our group from Boothbay to Fort Lauderdale, made our way to four Kennebunk restaurants tasting unique Chardonnays – the wine theme for the day. Erica, the beautiful blond brainchild behind Wine Wise – her wine event company founded five years ago, presented four fabulous wines with rich detail and description as we sipped away the afternoon together.
We uncorked our first taste at Duffy’s on Kennebunk’s Main Street. Chef John prepared a delicious poached salmon with summer squash medley that provided just the right balance to our buttery Kendall Jackson Vintner Reserve Chardonnay. Erica offered regional background, technical terms like malolactic fermentation, and then very pragmatic tips like how to open a bottle of wine perfectly and champagne like a pro (turning the bottle – not the cork).
Our next stop at Owen’s Farmhouse, we smelled, sipped and savored a bright but subtle French Burgundy-region Albert Bichot Chardonnay which complemented the wood-fired pizzas we shared in this cozy café. Erica’s wine knowledge is impressive, she’s a Certified Wine Professional with Level Three Advanced Certification as a Sommelier. But she’s also warm, witty and passionate about her wines – no wine snobbery here. As Erica says, “If wine is a foreign language, we all become more fluent after a few glasses.”
At Academe, in the Kennebunk Inn, Chefs Brian and Shanna had created a clever BLT – Arancini with Brussels sprout and bacon which was fantastic with our beautiful bubbly – Veuve Clicquot Champagne (a Chardonnay in fancy French clothing).
We learned wonderful little wine facts:
Champagne corks can release at 45 mph
80% of the taste in wines comes from the aroma
Wines are served too cold, red, white, even rosé
French White Burgundy = Chardonnay
Red Burgundy = Pinot Noir
The Master Sommelier Certification Exam has a less than a 10% pass rate
The best wine opener* is the basic corkscrew with a knife, screw, and two notches
*note to my friends: please no more silly battery operated openers for my birthday
Our final stop was 50 Local for a Foxglove Chardonnay from San Luis Obispo California paired with spicy tofu, local field greens, earthy pasta and mushrooms. So we had toured the west coast to France and back in our two-hour wine block walk. Our minds had been opened with each bottle, to new approaches to drinking wine, and better appreciation of how territory and treatment affect each vine and harvest. Our food pairings were excellent – showing Erica’s attention to detail and collaboration with her host chefs.
We walked away from our Wine Walk having tasted and toasted new friends with a new improved vino lingo and greater love of wines.
Now I want to Wine Sail in Camden or Portland at sunset, sounds sublime. See Wine Wise’s schedule for Erica’s upcoming Wine Walks in Ogunquit, Portland, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport and Wine Sails in Casco Bay and Camden.