Tasting Uncorked Kitchen Wine Classes

Notes of Fun and Knowledge Without The Pretension

glasses of wine ready for a wine tasting in denver

Wine appreciation is one of those skills that seems almost out of reach to the uninitiated or uneducated. Watching a master sommelier take a sip of wine and immediately ID the exact type, region, and year seems like magic to those of us who take a sip and think it just “tastes like wine.”

But after many years of enjoying wine without much thought into what I liked or why, I decided to make an effort to learn about wine properly. Not to nail a blind tasting, but to just gain a better understanding of how to buy and order wine, how to pair wine, and how to enjoy wine more fully.

Suburban Sipping

The only question was, how? Denver’s south ‘burbs aren't exactly a wine hub (some say the suburbs are where taste buds go to die), and I wanted something more than the unstructured liquor store wine tastings typically led by wine reps more interested in sales than education.

Waiter uncorking a bottle of wine for a tasting.

I also didn’t want an online class. After all, how much can you learn listening to someone talk about wine? You can’t. You have to taste it. You need to drink the same wine with an expert and other people, and talk about it to truly grasp the nuances involved.

So I was thrilled when I discovered Centennial’s Uncorked Kitchen, which not only defies the suburban stereotype by serving top-notch food and wine, but also offers cooking and wine tasting classes in the south Denver suburbs as well.

Learning about wine is like learning to write. You don’t learn it from a book. You have to just do it. Writers write. Wine lovers drink wine, and Uncorked Kitchen makes it easy, educational, and fun to do so – even at a distance from the world-renowned wine regions.

Wine tastings, Uncorked Kitchen-style

Twice a month, Uncorked Kitchen hosts social wine tastings classes in its sleek Wine Cellar, where it also hosts food and wine pairing dinners, family style private dining and other group events.

Wine class themes cover everything from deep dives on specific regions (such as wines of France, Italy, or Spain), and specific types of wine (Roses, Reds, Whites), but also domestic wines, New World wines, and even wines by season or event (Wines of Summer or Fall).

These aren’t a series of classes. Each wine event is an experience of its own. But the more you attend, the more you’ll add to your knowledge and appreciation of wines. What’s more, and more importantly… you’ll have fun.

Cellar tasting room at Uncorked Kitchen.
Wine Tastings take place in the warm and intimate Cellar Room

Class. Celebration. Community.

I found this out fast when I rolled into my first wine class at Uncorked Kitchen with a mission. I was driven to Learn About Wine Today, and sat down with my notebook, my list of questions, and my goals clearly set. I wanted to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could, develop a wine vocabulary, and develop my structural knowledge about How Wine Works.

What I experienced was something much different, and ultimately better. The Cellar Room was full of couples on a date night, groups of friends, a girls night out. This wasn’t a class. It was a social occasion. It was… fun.

Our instructor is Michelle Brede, a trained sommelier and wine lover herself who deftly balanced the “fun-night-out” vibe with well presented detail about each wine offered at just the right degree of information and pacing. Her knowledge of wine particulars is deep, but what makes the class work is her obvious passion and enjoyment… both of the wine itself and introducing good wine (and wine concepts) to guests.

The class starts with a basic overview of the bottle being poured, then a short slideshow of its different components. For each wine served, there’s a slide that breaks down the details of the specific region where it was grown, the subtleties of the winemaking process, the winemaker, and of course the wine itself. There's a tasting, and then an open discussion about what we all experienced.

Bottles of wine at Uncorked Kitchen ready for a tasting class.

“Are you getting notes of pineapple?” Michelle will ask, or “Can you taste the minerality?”

There are no wrong answers. And frankly you can ignore the whole slideshow and just toss ‘em back if you like. They’re not shy about refills. This isn’t a vineyard tasting with stingy measurements. It’s a wine appreciation experience.

Which is good, because typically the group discussion is a bit muted at first. A few brave souls who are really interested or already knowledgeable may start the interaction, but typically the discussion is contained to each individual table or group. By the third bottle, however, everyone has an opinion they’re sharing about them cross-table, and it’s a party.

Between tastings, Michelle walks by each table for one-on-one interaction with all the guests. She answers questions, pours some extra wine, tells a story. Pretty soon you’re fully mindful of every sip. You’re seeking out those flavor notes she and the group are discussing. You’re sharing your thoughts with your tablemates. And it all seems very natural, supportive, and fun.

All Taste. No Tests.

Server holding three glasses of wine.

As my wine education journey continues, that’s perhaps the best lesson I learned. Wine education isn’t so much about the taxonomy of grape varietals, or the subtleties of regional terroirs, or matching flavor profiles between food and wine. (Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned those things too.)

Instead, what the Uncorked Kitchen wine classes have taught me is that learning about wine should be fun first. It’s not a job. It’s not a test. There’s not even a right or a wrong. It’s about enjoying the wine and the company. It’s about experiencing something and just paying a little closer attention to the things you’re enjoying and noting why you’re enjoying them so you can enjoy them again.

At first, I was concerned that the two-hour class time was going to be a slog of foreign terminology and pretentious palate olympics. But in fact, it flew by fast.

After all, time flies when you’re sipping wine and having fun.

Interested in a fun and educational wine appreciation experience? Check out our upcoming wine tastings to get first-peek at newly scheduled events.

Antony Bruno holding tongs at sunset.

Antony Bruno is a Colorado-based veteran storyteller, writer and editor. After 30 years of writing about the intersection of technology and culture, he’s spending the next 30 writing about food, wine, travel, and adventure.


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