Eppelation - wine tasting education with a splash!


Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.

~ Ernest Hemingway


After a brief summer hiatus we are back at the helm of Eppelation!  Never a dull moment, we headed to Aspen for the Aspen Wine & Food extravaganza in mid-June. Beautiful setting, great food and great wine - what more do you need?  The highlight for us was not the event itself, but the lunches and dinners we were fortunate enough to attend, and the opportunity we had to taste some outstanding wines.  If we had to choose a highlight it would definitely be the 1957 Richbourg Grand Cru Burgundy. Some of our other favorites were a 1989 Chave Hermitage, 1985 Chateau Palmer Bordeaux and a 1990 magnum of Spotswood Cabernet, and several incredible white Burgundies, to name but a few! What a memorable wine experience.  In fact the white Burgundies were so impressive it rekindled our excitement about Chardonnay, so much so that we decided to make our first class a Chardonnay tasting.


We hope to spoil you all a little (but not with a 1957 Burgundy!) in our upcoming classes - the message is that you're ready to try some higher-end wines, along with the great values that we usually taste, so we've done our best to include some of these in the appropriate tastings. A full list of classes is now available, so please visit our website and sign up for classes soon!


This edition of Eppelation News is jam-packed, so please delve in.  We have details on the much anticipated tasting schedule for the rest of 2011, a fun wine-making quiz, and a feature on the dreaded wine phenomenon of cork taint, and more. We're not running a wine feature until the tasting classes start up again so stay tuned on that front - we know many of you have used the wine feature coupons and are looking forward to the next one! 


We hope you had a great 4th of July weekend and that your summer is a good one so far. Looking forward to seeing you in a class soon.



Mark & Karen Eppel

wine tasting classes

We think we've come up with a great line-up of tastings for the next wine tasting series, and hope you agree. 


There's something for everyone - varietal tastings, food & wine pairings, regional tastings, wine tasting basics, an introduction to wines of Argentina, and a Signature Wines tasting. Once again, we've used the feedback from previous classes to create our tasting list.  So, without further ado, here is the tasting schedule for Series #2, 2011. For class descriptions, please visit the class schedule page on our website, or click the titles below.



refer-a-friend special offer

Many of our new class guests come to us via referrals from you, and we'd like to thank you for sharing! As a special offer for Series #2, you will receive a $5 Eppelation gift certificate for every friend you refer to our classes, 0r $25 for a referral to host a private wine tasting party. The gift certificate(s) can be applied to any of our classes or services in the future, and are valid for one year. Please check here for the fine print!



From time to time we'll share a testimonial with you. Phil Pringle, owner of Pringle's Fine Wines & Spirits, provided these kind words:


Fellow Wine Lover,


Part of understanding wine involves immersion on the subject  with someone  who has had passion and expertise both in tasting  and in the comprehension  of all that goes into the art  that is great wine. This involves many years of commitment and an understanding of not only wine, but the foods that  offer the synergy of the two together. 


It involves travel, vineyard tours,  years of reading with an emphasis on grape varieties, geography and geology as it pertains to wine, and the enthusiasm to keep it fresh and exciting for many, many years. Thousands of wines are tasted in a period of several years, and justly noted and remembered. To have the passion, expertise and discipline to immerse for a career in the understanding and appreciation of wine is route not easily traveled.


That being said, I would highly recommend Mark Eppel as an expert instructor in the understanding of wine. Mark has experience in several areas in the chain of supply including wholesale, assistant winemaker for a Napa winery, cellar master and cellar technician for several Napa area wineries. He has also been involved in crush and production in Australia.


Most importantly he has passion for wine, and a terrific palate that has taken many years to educate and hone. He has a remarkable overview of the subject, which makes him ideal as an instructor in the understanding and appreciation of wine.  Kudos.


Phil Pringle

Pringle's Fine Wines & Spirits

Fort Collins, CO, est. 1983

cork taint 

As a lover of wine, you've probably heard the terms TCA, corked, or cork taint, and most likely (knowingly or not!) had the unpleasant and disappointing experience of a corked bottle of wine.  Of the wine bottles closed with a cork, about 10% are affected by cork taint, hence the move to other types of closures such as screw caps and Zorks... but that's a whole other story. 


Cork taint generally refers to a fault in the wine, and is characterized by "off" aromas or tastes, usually only detected after the wine is opened after aging in the bottle.  The off aromas and tastes of a corked wine are often described as wet cardboard, moldy newspaper, wet dog or a damp, dank smell.... in other words, not very desirable!


TCA (2,4,6-trichloroanisole), a bacteria in cork, is the main culprit of cork taint.  Most often TCA is transferred from the cork to the wine, but other factors such as wooden barrels and storage conditions can also contribute to cork taint.  Some wineries reduce the risk of cork taint by testing batches of cork prior to bottling, in other words, quality control is a critical factor in minimizing cork taint.


While not harmful, cork taint dulls the natural aromas of the wine and makes it unpalatable. Having said that, cork taint can be hard to detect - some people have a high sensitivity (Mark!) and can detect it at very low thresholds, while others (Karen!) need it to jump out of the bottle and hit them over the head!


If you've ever opened a bottle of wine and thought it had these off aromas, but then it seemed dissipate, you're probably right - our olfactory system has a very rapid habituation to TCA, so the smell is less obvious on each subsequent sniff. Mildly corked bottles can still be enjoyed if you have a high threshold to TCA and don't notice it. However, if you're sharing a bottle with a wine geek and they notice it's corked, they'll probably pour it down the nearest sink! 


Napa wine tasting trip postponed

If you haven't already heard, we have decided to postpone the Napa wine tasting trip until 2012 due to family and work commitments.  We're excited about taking some of you to Napa/Sonoma and will schedule a trip in early 2012. Look for an update on this later in the year!


wine quiz

Test your wine-making knowledge with this short quiz. Click here for the answers.


1. What is the process of converting sugar to alcohol referred to?


2. What process is used to stabilize and remove tartrates from white wine?


3. Name the process that uses additives such as egg whites , gelatin, casein, or bentonite to remove particulates from wine.


4. The process of siphoning the wine off the lees to allow clarification and aid in stabilization is called what?


5. What is the most commonly used preservative in wine?



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Eppelation | P.O. Box 851 | Ft Collins | CO | 80522