January 11, 2013 | 9:57am
There it is, right there in front of you: a restaurant wine menu that's thicker than Tolstoy's War and Peace, and offers about 101 selections and varietals, all at varying price points. You're having fish for dinner and on a date / dining with wine-loving friends / trying to impress your boss, but really you have no idea what to order. You'd like to be able to pick the perfect merlot -- but should it be a pinot noir, instead? Or a cabernet?
No matter if you're in a seedy bar where wine is two-for-one at happy hour, or out at the hottest new spot downtown. At times like this, wouldn't it help to know a little more about wine?
That's exactly how Gulp! Food and Libations founder Coreen Gottschalk felt when she ordered a glass of pinot grigio at a bar a few years ago. Just one sip and she knew immediately the glass in front of her wasn't the type of wine she had ordered. Gottschalk thought to herself if she knew more about wine -- including how to talk about it -- getting the perfect glass of wine wouldn't be a problem ever again. She asked a few close friends if they would be interested in wine education, too, and Gulp! Club, the area's exclusive food and wine pairing group, was formed.
Gulp! -- which stands for "gathering uvelloids and libation pairings" -- is now in its fifth year since forming in 2007. Uvelloid is a small cluster of ovaloid-shaped spheres, usually resembling a cluster of grapes. The purpose of the club is simple: help others learn about wine so they can enjoy drinking more of it.
Now you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about wine, too -- but without attending a pricey wine pairing dinner, or a boring class at your local Total Wine.
Gulp! events are open to anyone who loves good food, good wine and good company -- and also wants to know a little more about wine. Events take place once a month, and locations vary depending on the event and the number of people attending. Each meeting often focuses on a specific varietal or theme and covers each wine's background, production method and taste profile as presented by Gulp! event educator LeBeau Kpadenou. Largely self-taught, Kpadenou spent several years learning from Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon, often referred to as Detroit's "First Lady of Wine," and one of 18 women in North America to earn the title.
Gulp! event attendance prices range from $30 and $40 depending on the number of wines selected, and the type of food being prepared -- often four wines paired with four different dishes. As many as 40 participants can attend, but numbers vary depending on the event.
Interested? This weekend Gulp! will be hosting its first "Umami and Wine" event on Sunday, January 13 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in West Palm Beach. As the name suggests, the event will focus on umami taste profile in both wine and food.
Upcoming events include a Thai cooking class on Sunday, February 10, as well as the group's monthly food and wine pairing on Sunday, February 17. For more information on these upcoming events, contact Gulp! here
. To learn more about Gulp!, or to register for this weekend's event, visit the Gulp! website
"This event is one of my favorite ones so far," Kpadenou told Clean Plate Charlie during a recent interview. "Most people don't know much about umami and wine. It should be a lot of fun."