Saturday, 28 April 2012

Upset About Not Enough White

So this week has been yet another crazy week for me as I'm sure that it has been for many of us. On Wednesday I held a wine tasting event for about 16 people and there was a great time had by all.

However, at the beginning of the class, I went on to describe about some basics of wine tasting and how the participants can make the wine more memorable, one of the women was visibly upset at the white to red ratio.We were lucky enough to have 10 wines in total with 2 white and 8 red.
She was willing to stay for the event as we had already begun.

She was definitely enjoying the whites that we started with, a Sauvgion Blanc and a Reisling.

As we moved onto the reds she was a little hesitant. We starting with a Pinot Noir, a Cabernet Sauvgion, moving on to a Tempranillo, Shiraz, a few blends, and ending with a Barollo.

Once she tasted the Chateauneuf du Pape, she was warming up to the ideas of some smooth drinking well balanced reds.

Like many others, if you are a novice wine person, you find something that you like and you tend to stick with them. Just like she was doing. She liked her Pinot Grigo and that was it. She would occasionally have a Sauv. Blanc, but was scared to stray off from what she was comfortable with.

So how do you learn what you like without going broke on buying wines and discovering you hate it and dump it down the drain?

There are a few ways to figure out what you like, and many of them without spending a lot of money if any. Here is how I do a lot of discovering of different wines.

Dinner Parties:
Dinner Parties are awesome for trying new wines. People will usually bring a bottle of wine when they come for dinner. As the host, it isn't out of the question for you to make a request of your friends to bring a bottle that isn't what you normally drink.

Wine Tasting Classes:
Taking a wine tasting class is a great way in tasting a number of wines. It may be a themed class, such as all from South America, or a specific region in France, but they are usually fairly inexpensive and can be amazing. (See Classes and More to have me run a class for you.)

Join a Wine Club:
There are wine clubs in cities all over the world. These usually have an annual fee that you will have to pay, but it will include most of the tastings in that fee. The advantage of a wine club is that they may have their own inventory of wines that are at their peek and not available on the market any longer.

Visit a Winery:
Depending on where you live, this can be an amazing day trip. Most wineries have a tasting room where you can sample their wines for simple $1 per sample. If you find something you like and end up buying a bottle (or a case) they will usually not even bother charging you for the tastings. After all, that's what they want you to do. Sample a wine, love it, and take it home.

Many wineries also have coupons on their websites for a free tasting. I know that Coyote's Run and Black Prince, both have them on theirs. Because I live in Toronto, I'm luck enough to be able to do day trips to both Niagara and Prince Edward County.

So where did that leave the woman in my class?
Thrilled. She said that knowing some of the background of the wines and where they were coming from was as important to her as the wine itself. I tend to agree.

But the key thing in this whole blog is this. Don't be afraid to try new wines, and step out of your comfort zone.
You never know what you might end up liking.

After all, that's what wine is all about, the experience.

Let me know if you would like to share a bottle sometime so we can both enjoy a glass.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


The last few weeks for us (me and my family) have for some reason been really rough.

As with many people, I'm not sure if it is the time of year when we start to get on everyone's nerves because we want to get outside and enjoy summer, but can't because Mother Nature isn't agreeing with our timelines.

My two kids have also been driving us a bit coo coo the last little while as well. More than the usual kid stuff too.  From having to deal with a broken leg on a 5 year old and a pre-tween going on 16, all I can say is ARRRRGHHH!!!

It got to the point on the weekend where we had to literally "pull the plug" on TV for a week.

How is a glass of wine going to help me with that?

Do I drink 3, 4, or 5 glasses until I'm so tired and can't function and drift off into a seemingly wonderful slumber, until the next morning? Well, I'm not 20 any more and can't handle the next mornings as well as I used to. So no, I don't do that.

But, here is what I have started trying to do every chance I can.

Once the kids have gone to bed and things are quiet, for at least a bit, I will grab my glass of wine and sit outside on our front porch. No laptop, no iPad, no BlackBerry. Just a blanket and my glass of wine.

Taking that 5 minutes or more to "unplug" has been the most calming and also inspiring time I have had in quite a while. Occasionally having a chat with a neighbour as they walk by, and watching the leaves try and squeeze their way out of the branches.

For those few minutes, sitting and reflecting on the day, and sipping my favourite red has made me appreciate the day, as crazy as it may have been.
The leaves trying to squeeze out!
Now I know why the "older generation" sat on the porch and just sat.

Enjoy a glass.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Having a Glass of Wine with the One You Love

I want to start off by saying that I am the luckiest guy in the world. Yes, I really am.

Back in 1997 I was given the opportunity to go to an event at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra called Classic Network. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about the night, but it was when I was singing in a chamber choir (Yes I did that. That in itself is another blog post.) and a free ticket to the symphony and free drinks to boot was so it an awesome night out.

 Little did I know that it was really singles night at the symphony. A big "any way", I had a very brief conversation with one of the staff members working at the event about my other favourite libation, gin.

15 years and 2 kids later I am lucky enough to still enjoy sharing a bottle of wine with the one that I truly love. We don't have a special bottle, variety, or vintage of wine that we keep going back to, and in fact, she is reaping the rewards of me buying most of the wine in the house. I'm totally good with it too.

But one of the things I enjoy most is sitting down for a great meal or even sitting on our front porch and talking over a great glass of wine.

There is something about how a glass can make the conversation more meaningful and bring back some wonderful memories. I want a lot more memories to come and be able to reminisce over many more.

So next time you open a bottle of wine, ask yourself this. Is the person that I am sharing this a friend or something more?

Friends are awesome, but if that person is something more, hold on to them and make sure you do everything in your power to show them how important they really are.

Be sure to tell them that over your next glass.

So enjoy a glass with someone you love, like I am lucky enough to do.