One of the things I have missed about 2020, were the wine tastings I was doing. I loved doing the wine tastings for a couple of different reasons. I really loved meeting new people, and fellow wine lovers, One of my most favorite parts were getting people to try new wines. Wine is not cheap, so most of us are not too adventurous in the wine store. It’s way too expensive to take the chance on something you may not like. At the wine tastings, I’ve also met several spouses that ‘weren’t into wine’ but sipped along. These were fun, because most times they would end up finding a wine they really liked. Are you fairly new to wine? Let me help take away some of the mystery and hopefully make it a little easier to enjoy my favorite beverage.
When I do a wine tasting, I tend to bring 6 wines, in different styles. I always bring a sparkling wine. Did you know that most people think sparkling wine is sweet. It seems here in Canada, our first introduction to sparkling wine was Baby Duck.
I don’t know about your house, but in my house, it wasn’t Christmas Dinner unless Mom & Dad bought out the Baby Duck. How many of us had this as our first taste of wine? Launched in the 1970’s, it once dominated the sparkling wine market. Not any more. Sparkling wine doesn’t have to be an expensive Champagne, it can be a crisp, food-friendly foray into deliciousness. Take this one for example.
When starting out with Sparkling wine, start with an Italian Prosecco or a Spanish Cava, like this Hola wine. You never tend to pay more than $20 for a bottle of this wine, which is made in the same method as traditional Champagne. These delicious wines are a great way to start any get together or dinner party. They are perfect with appetizers, whether you are serving, cheese, oysters or a salad. You would have a hard time finding an appetizer that doesn’t pair well with a good dry sparkling wine.
Most people dip their toe in the wine world by starting with white wine. Great wine doesn’t have to be expensive and this wine is proof of that. This is one of my favorite white wines, La Vielle Ferme is a French white wine that comes in under $15. I know buying French wine can be a little intimidating, because they don’t always put the grape varietal on the label. For whites, Chardonnay is a big heavy wine, tends to be aged in oak. Something like a Pinot Grigio is lighter, crisper and hasn’t seen oak.
So many people I meet, who drink white wine, would also love to expand into red wine. Here’s the biggest complaint I receive about red wine from white wine drinkers. The temperature. People tend to serve their red wines at ‘room temperature’. Well, in the Summer, the room temperature in my house tends to be about 26 degrees, and that is way to warm for any wine. On average, our rooms temperatures tend to be in the 20’s. Still way to warm for any wine. Room temperature was designated as the room temperature of the underground wine cellars, which were about 55-degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 13 – 15 degrees Celsious. Put your red wine in the refrigerator. And if it’s there a little long, take it out 20 or 30 minutes before serving. You’ll be amazed at how many of your friends will ‘love’ red wine once its served at the proper temperature, or even a little chilled. Start light with a Pinot Noir, or a Beaujolais (Gamay grape) or a Valpolicella and then work your way to the heavier reds of Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.
My wine of the week was a big bold Shiraz. So, a cute story to start
My sister Jackie and her husband came for a visit this past week. We had such a great time. She lives in my hometown of Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Her son is going to St. FX University here in Nova Scotia, so I am getting to see her more often. Her husband Craig, did some chores for me.
My brother in law Craig was kept very busy, so on Wednesday evening, we were going to do a big feed, and Craig wanted a glass of red wine. I was saving this wine to share with someone special, and couldn’t have picked a better person.
In 2012, just before I was transferred to Halifax, I had the opportunity to meet Wolf Blass, as he was visiting St. John’s, Newfoundland. I bought a couple of bottles of 2008 Gold Label Shiraz, two I gave away as gifts, and two I kept for a special occasion. I had opened one not long after this. It was very good. And I saved the other one. This was worth the wait! I was waiting for an opportunity to open it and share, and this seemed like the perfect day. So, this wine had a screw cap, had been bought 8 years ago, and was actually bottled 12 years ago. Living proof a screw cap can age a wine, some say as good as a cork does. The wine was aged in both new and seasoned French oak, and because of the high tannin content in Shiraz, that is a wine that ages very very well. This was spectacular, and if critics gave this wine 93-points after a couple of years, aging it turned it into a 95 or 96 point wine. Spectacular. If you see a Gold Label in the wine store, buy one or two, and keep one for a few years. You’ll love it.
Have a great week. Cheers