Friday, July 3, 2015: Cottage Essential Wines:
Was feeling down today so not sure how this class would turn out. But, turned out great and I won a bottle of my fav wine of the night. Good thing I went. Finally, an all reds tasting. Reds are my favorites.
The greeting wine was a chardonnay from Ontario. First wine was a Pinot Noir from New Zealand (cool) turned out to be my fav of the night and I won it. Pinot grape is most expensive and most challenging to grow. Good paired with rustic foods. Second wine was from Spain (Tempranillo Grape). Did not like this one. Third wine from Italy (Amarone – cool) della valpolicella was very good. Grapes are dried before crushing. Fourth wine a VQA Cabernet from Niagara on the Lake. Good one too. Fifth a California Red. Bonus tasting from South Africa.
Friday, June 26, 2015: Summer Classics
When I walked in it was set up different. The tables were separated around the room with seatings of three to four people. Supposed to be casual but prefer the one long table. I sat with two ladies that were BFF’s. While making chit chat I found out I went to same High School with one of them. Do you believe she had the balls to ask me what year I was born in? Like who does that? Was an okay class but only one red and John gave me a red to greet me. Sure hope more reds are coming starting to think I wasted money on whites and roses.
June 12, 2015: Light and Wonderful Wines
Tonight I went in with an open mind and heart and decided to sit in a different spot to bring new luck. Had a great time. Met some lovely ladies. Everyone was friendly tonight. I am not a white wine drinker but I tried all, you know for the sake of learning. Thank goodness John (Cave Man) was kind enough to pour me a welcoming red. There was a red in the tastings and it was a Chianti which is my fav! Cheese was offered at end of tastings and you could also have a full glass of your favorite (yes! I had another Chianti which was the 3rd glass).
Chianti is a region in Tuscany. I must go there (added to my bucket list). Learned that Chianti is a middle wine for those who aren’t red wine drinkers. It is not strong in tannins so you won’t get a headache. A thin to medium skinned grape.
June 5, 2015: Pink and Beautiful Wines – Rose’s
Class started 1/2 hour late. Ended up being full. Was extremely loud and I was the only person on my own. Rose’s are very attractive but they are cold and sparkling which is not my cup of wine if you know what I mean. Left as soon as class over. Unfortunately, did not really enjoy myself. Felt very alone. Sure hope this was a fluke and next week is better.
May 29, 2015: Wine 101
You have to start somewhere so why not at the beginning with a 101 class. Doors opened on time. Again greeted in a friendly manner. Great turn out. An overview of the tastings and lessons learned. Only thing I would change is to serve nibblies while tasting instead of after at the end.
What I Learned (don’t quote me – took notes):
- Take into consideration that Wines come from warm and cool climates therefore taste differently.
- The warmer the climate, the sweeter the wine (hot sun/ripeness) and more alcohol
- Cool – Pinot, Chardonnay – apple and citrus notes
- Warm – Cabernet – tropical notes
- French is the standard for all wines.
- Grapes need sugar and sun
- There is old world and new world (ie. Italy, South Africa).
- Young wine is brighter in color
- White wines darken with age
- Warm climate white wines taste tropical
- Petral means gas
- Elevation makes a difference in price. Lower is easier
- Red wines lighten with age
- Thinner wines means less alcohol
- Thicker wines means more sugar
- If a wine tastes like vinegar or cardboard, it’s bad
- Need a balance of acidity and sweetness
- A flabby wine means there is an absence of acidity
- All grapes have a style
- Repasso means to pass over grapes
- Wine Name = Grape Name and Region
- Rosé wine is made by leaving skins on longer (maceration)
- White means no maceration
- Rosés are available for Spring/Summer
- Longer skins are left on, more flavor
- Hours on vine = color and flavor
- Vintages: handpicked wines (availability, price, quality)
- Essential Vintages are available all the time at retail
- 2012 was one of the best years for wine all over the world, especially Ontario
- Wine tree takes 7 years to get established
- VQA means Ontario
- Champagne is made with Pinot and Chardonnay grapes
- Oxygen ages wine
- Reserve means barrel age
- Wine can be aged in oak or steel barrels
- Oak barrels let oxygen in
- The newer the oak barrel the more expensive
- Barrels devalue over time
- When you swirl look for the legs – more legs = oiliness
- slow legs means high sugar and high alcohol
- Wines are rated on a point system by critics (100 points) due to subjectivity
- Balance wine and food weight
- The higher the acidity the better pairing with foods & cheese
- The more tannins pair with protein
- Pair local with local (ie. animals and tree raised on same regional soil)
- The 20 minute rule: Take white wine out of fridge 20 mins before serving; put red wine in fridge 20 mins before serving.
- Order wine first and then food
Sight: Hold glass up to light and see color and clarity
Swirl: if beginner, have glass on table or it could fly out of your glass and that would be a waste right? Opens aromas
Smell: everyone smells differently (do you smell sweet? flowers? pepper?) If it smells like vinegar or cardboard; wine is bad
Sip: Cleanse palette by swishing around mouth and then a little lip gargle while taking in a breath (ok to make noise just don’t look around to see who is looking at you). This really opens the flavours and you can get the full flavor. Is it acidic? Is it sweet? Does it make your cheeks and tongue tingle?
Savour: Yum! The best part. Everyone has different amount of taste buds so what you like, your neighbor might not like. I think it was summed up: Tasters; non-tasters; super tasters.
May 21, 2015: Ports
Love me a glass of red wine. I wanted to learn more so I signed up for several classes over this Summer to learn, taste, meet and enjoy. Last night (May 21) was my first time attending the IYellow Wine Cub. Atmosphere was dark, cozy and sultry. Greeted by Sam and John who made me feel welcome. Tawny Ports from Portugal were featured. About 18 people were in attendance. Lasted a couple of hours. Had a great time. Met some great people and tasted some yummy ports and nibblies. Yes, you leave with a buzz. Looking forward to next week’s class.