There are many things in life I am thankful for.  One of them is my job, the freedom it gives me to truly develop as a professional person, but more than that it allows me and indeed my colleagues to explore strengths and passions beyond the day-to-day of our work life.

Wine Room at Montage Palmetto Bluff

One of my great passions as you know is wine.  Over the years I have done many wine tasting classes and workshops for my office and while I would never say I am an expert, I am hopeful that my wine enthusiasm comes across in my presentations.  

I did a class on “How to Taste and Write a Wine Review” at our last retreat in Nizuc two year’s ago, which was super successful so I was asked to it again this year at the breathtaking Montage Resort in Palmetto Bluff, SC. How lucky am I?  

Capture1Once again, I put together a presentation, created handout booklets, an aroma wheel and picked one of my favorite Chardonnay’s of all time, the Nickel & Nickel Chardonnay.

I kicked off the morning workshop in the beautiful wine cellar at the Montage with a video on wine experts from the hysterically funny British comedian, Michael McIntyre.  This then kicked off two hours of learning, tasting, writing and lots of laughter.

Michael McIntyre – Wine Experts by red_devil78

I took the group through the process of the 5 steps of tasting – Look, Swirl, Smell, Taste and Think and then helped them work through applying all of their notes to writing a review with a team.  To say this was a fun experiment is an understatement.  


I created a grid to add a little more amusement to what we were doing.  I had everyone think about the following things – appearance, aroma, fruit, taste, celebrity, publication, car, season and shape.  The grid allowed people to initially bullet point their storyline about what what they were tasting and then put it in an actual story… wine review.  What followed were some amazingly creative reviews, which each team stood up to recite to the whole group like great Poet’s in front of a captive audience.  

Below are five of the many great reviews people shared.  


Nickel & Nickel Chardonnay 2015 just hanging out on my little patio at the Montage

Review One

The glass of wine is a light honey color.  Mysterious and unexpected on the palate with distinct depth and sharpness.  When I first took a sip the oakiness and woodiness was immediately apparent but with every sip, the taste changed imperceptibly with hints of sweet tartness similar to grapefruit.  This wine took me back to my early 20s living in New York and going to rooftop parties each night with the promise of fun but also a little mystery.  There is also a softer side to this wine especially when shared with sharp cheddar.

Review Two

The Nickel & Nickel Chardonnay has a handsome, diluted gold appearance with a full upper body that the likes of Don Draper would love.  It has the aroma of slow churned butter with a hint of spice and late night bar room floor.  The taste is as complete as the sharp aroma.  It hits the palate with a bold oak spice and leaves with a hint of grapefruit and final salvo of green apples.  This Chardonnay is meant to be sipped by Jon Hamm out on his back deck in the late fall waiting for his scallops with molasses demi glaze to finish searing on the grill.  Pair this wine Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” and enjoy the saccharine sweet pop music that changes to darker tones on the mid-range tracks.

Review Three

The Nickel & Nickel Chardonnay is a perfect crisp wine to transition from winter into spring.  The appearance glistening light gold and the aroma has a full nose that tickles the inside of your nostrils with a deep breath.  The hints of citrus – lemon and grapefruit are balanced with a glimpse of spice, buttery body and elongated finish.  This wine will be perfect with fresh pasta with a light lemon-basil pesto with a dash of red chili and a generous topping of shaved parmesan.  Allow this wine to kick start your spring. 

Review Four

This clear, luxurious wine draws you in and reminds me of gold leaf.  The smell is melted butter with a hint of mango over dragon scales, sweet with a hint of magic curled up on a fruit basket full of cantaloupe, lemon and hope.  The wine dances around your mouth as Channing Tatum does in Magic Mike, switching between spicy and fruity.  This expansive wine would be best enjoyed writing poetry in a spring meadow. 

Me presenting.

Review Five

At first glance the wine is clear and smooth, almost like pure water when reflected in the light.  The appearance masks the heady butteryness of the wine, which is the dominant aroma upon smelling, though there is a hint of fruit in the background, like lychee and pineapple.  An abundance of flavors come to mind when tasting.  It off starts of slow and sweet with the buttery aroma from before, but then escalates with explosion of spice and tropical fruit flavors.  It has a sophisticated and complex finish.  This wine reminds me of a proper and old fashioned actor like Hugh Jackman in the movie Kate & Leopold.  As with Leopold the wine is simultaneously smooth, luxurious and calm.  I was reminded of the time I visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – it’s masterful and highly recommended. 

These reviews just goes to show everyone has a creative side and their own personal take on what they tasting. 

I am visiting Nickel & Nickel for the first time next weekend and I hope if they read these reviews they will get that everyone in their own way enjoyed every moment of tasting their 2015 Chardonnay.  

I do love it when I get to these types of things.