Stick Your Whole Nose In It: A Kiler Grove Wine Tasting

Posted March 10, 2014 in
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Knight explaining the voodoo of wine making. Photo: Amanda Rock

Hidden in the industrial south side of Salt Lake City, unique and delicious wines are being made. Kiler Grove is Utah’s first urban winery. When I saw the tasting class from Continuing Education at the University of Utah, I was sold. I’m a huge fan of their classes, especially the ones where I can imbibe.

A rowdy group of retirees, my husband and I gathered in the winery. Tables were set in up the warehouse amid huge barrels of wine and machinery. Michael Knight, part owner and winemaker, meticulously explained the art of winemaking, or “voodoo” as he calls it. He also shared the story of his little winery started in Paso Robles, California on 10 acres of rocky, dry land, where grapes grow the best. The vineyard produced wine for La Caille for many years before becoming Kiler Grove. Working with South Salt Lake officials and zoning laws, Knight settled on the discreet location in South Salt Lake.

And then we tasted! French wine scholar Rhea Cook explained how to properly taste wine by first observing the color against a white napkin, sticking your whole nose into the glass and smelling. Then swirling the wine against the sides of the glass (fun!), visiting the aroma again and daintily slurping it up. The air helps the wine travel across your tongue, hitting all the taste buds.

We tried six varieties of Kiler Grove wine. I loved the 2010 Red Thriller made by blending leftovers from their other wines. This unconventional wine is a great conversation starter. This is what you bring to barbecues. It also pairs well with pizza parties.

We decided to bring the 2010 Zinergy home with us. With hints of smoke and blackberries, it’s perfect with spaghetti and meaty dishes. Another favorite was the Trebbiano. This is spring in a bottle. It’s clean and crisp with flavors of kiwi and grapefruit. Try it with seafood and Caesar salads.

At Kiler Grove, you can taste the wine before you buy it. Genius. You can also watch it being made if you visit on Saturday afternoon. Even better! It’s a friendly place where customers can learn about wine, sample it and then buy a few bottles to take home. I’m a committed locavore—wine from my own city is a dream come true!

Continuing Education at the University of Utah is a world of fantastic classes about food and drink, ranging from Creminelli salumi to scotch. The classes I’ve taken have introduced me to new things and broadened my palate—money and time well spent.

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