Wine 101

by Bri

Somm: Making wine exciting and terrifying for Millenials the way Sideways did for Gen-X’ers

Wine 101 was the first wine course I took years back while living in Vancouver. It is what inspired me to dive in deeper and start my exploration into the extensive world of wine. The vast amount of knowledge was, to be honest, very overwhelming. I definitely had my doubts if this was the right path to take mostly due to the Somm show on Netflix. The dedication, rigorous work and crazy palate (and noggin) those individuals had me thinking…..yeah maybe not. Slowly, I dipped my toes into this world and finally, I just accepted that I had the control to choose the speed and amount of information thrown at me. Since that realization, it has been magical. The amount of history blows my mind daily. It was such a treat to teach this wine 101 class if by some chance I gave someone some information that blew their mind, then the circle is complete. Please join me with the following tasting notes and wines which I chose for the evening.

Domaine des Aubuisieres Vouvray Brut $26.99
Wanting to show the brilliance of Champagne – but on a budget – I picked the sparkling Vouvray from Bernard Fouquet. Having been made with the traditional champagne method, this wine allowed me to show people the many different styles sparkling wine can be created. Serious bubbles that are consistently the “best value in its appellation”. The Chenin Blanc of Vouvray brings riper citrus and tree fruit to the bready flavours of Methode Traditionelle and racy, mineral acidity from the Loire Valley soils.

Marcel Servin Chardonnay Bourgogne $ 25.99
An obvious choice of grape to educate others, Chardonnay. This varietal has a vast amount of different in characteristics that can be expressed depending on climate and location. One of my favourite experiences when I took that Wine 101 class in Vancouver was when my teacher gave our class an un-oaked chardonnay. It was amazing to see this varietal, that has such a well-known flavour profile, and then BAM! Like life always does, it flips you upside down and smacks you in the taste buds. This Chardonnay is pale yellow with gold reflection. It has a VERY light oak presence, close to being completely unoaked in style. The nose is fine and elegant with fresh white fruits dominating (pear, white peach) blending with mineral notes.

Beck Riesling Spatlese $27.99
One of the most fascinating and exciting grapes out there is, of course, Riesling! In fact, it should Riesling! should nearly always be said with an exclamation mark if you ask me. With an outstanding amount of history, this grape is full of structure that can last decades. It can be made in dry, off-dry and sweet. Unfortunately, it has a reputation of being only sweet, but trust me, this grape can come in many different styles. A little tip for the masses is off-dry Riesling is amazing with Asian foods or any foods with a little spice to it, trust me! Discover why Riesling! is so delicious with this beautiful example. Becker Riesling is wonderfully balanced with striking acidity creating a counterpoint to a juicy sweetness.

Torlesse Sauvignon Blanc $23.99
This wine can be defined in three words fresh, citrusy, and herbaceous. Just completely delicious for any occasion. Sauvignon Blanc is a grape varietal that can be spicy and green depending on where it is grown. It loves cooler climates that let it hang out a long time and fully develop its perfume, but it also does well in warmer climates where it can develop tropical fruit and apple notes. Great value from one of New Zealand’s finest! Enjoy this very fruit-focused and delicious Sauvignon Blanc loaded with ripe, tropical fruit flavours. There’s a distinctive passion fruit aroma, which makes this white wine a treat to drink when young and vibrant. There’s no better match for fresh shellfish.

Torlesse Pinot Noir $27.99
It wouldn’t be wine 101 if we didn’t serve Pinot Noir. This grape has a notorious reputation of causing heartbreak and backache. Due to its thin skin, it’s extremely delicate. In order to fully ripen and then harvest, all while not splitting the skins can be tricky work. Pinot is one of the noble grape varietals and when created well can sing in your glass, as long as things don’t go Sideways before harvest! Grown all over the world this type of wine can show earth/umami notes to fresh vibrant red fruit. New Zealand produces some of the world’s best Pinot Noir. Torlesse has sourced grapes from vineyards in the Waipara and Canterbury regions to produce the character of this rich and complex red wine.

Okay, okay - here is your movie poster Gen-X'ers!

Lamadrid Cabernet Sauvignon $24.99
Cabernet Sauvignon is loved by millions – or possibly even billions. A grape that can satisfy those cold winter nights or pair with when it’s BBQ season. Fascinatingly this grape is the child of Sauvignon Blanc (white) and Cabernet Franc (red), which explains the beautiful deep red and black fruit notes, black pepper and green tones. I wanted to show a classic french grape varietal, however. Grown in Argentina. Just to keep everyone on their toes. Kensington Wine Market exclusive. This Argentine favourite, from the famous Mendoza wine-growing region, is made by the Durigutti brothers. It is Unfined, unfiltered and, according to Barnivore, vegan-friendly. Look for a deep purple red colour- spicy to the nose with clove, fresh berries, plum and raspberry notes. It shows a soft palate with a long and persistent finish. Grilled Alberta beef goes beautifully. That, of course, is not vegan-friendly, but it can taste great if you are an omnivore.

Gaudou Malbec $16.99
As mentioned before I wanted to highlight certain grape varietals but in a different than the “norm” regions. Just like I did with the Cabernet from Argentina, I purposely picked a Malbec from Southern France. Still showing beautiful red and black fruit, this Malbec also has wonderful earth. A lovely value-priced Malbec from the South of France! This juicy wine conveys a ripe black cherry and lightly spicy character. It’s all about the fruit, right up front and with a fresh, crisp aftertaste. Drink now.” Pair with steak or burgers, or just enjoy a glass or two by itself!

I would like to thank the wine gods for the delicious grapes and Peasant Cheese for their delicious boards!

Until next wine,
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