I was at home over the Easter weekend and this year it happened to coincide with my brother Nick’s birthday. For the past few years he’s requested a wine tasting from my parents as part of his celebrations and, wonderful parents that they are, they’ve obliged.
With my post about Malbec a couple of weeks ago I’m now halfway through Wine Folly’s Noble Grape Challenge. Created as a challenge to learn about the range of wine, the Noble Grape Challenge lists nine red and nine white ‘noble’ varieties – generally speaking, the most widely planted varieties throughout the world – and challenges the reader to taste through them all as a way of getting to know the breadth and depth of wine created throughout the world.
At this point it feels like a good time to take a look back on how things went and a look ahead at what awaits.
This past weekend was Cuvée en Route, one of my favourite Niagara wine events.
This past week I was actually quite sick with the worst cold I’ve had in years (I’ve since been diagnosed with bronchitis, ouch!). On reflection it was probably too ambitious to leave my couch and venture to Niagara, but after being cooped up for three days my impatience got the better of me and the foolhardy in me took over. This means that I didn’t make it to as many wineries as last year – only four as opposed to last year’s nine-winery marathon day.
In any event, my friend (and WSET 3 classmate) Wendy and I made the short drive to Niagara ready to taste some wine. We managed to make it to four wineries, all very different from each other, yet all very delicious.
It’s time for the next installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. This time around we learn about our last red variety, which means after this post we’ll officially be halfway through the list. Last time we explored the wild and wacky world of Syrah/Shiraz, and today we get to know Malbec.
About the Noble Grape Challenge
Let’s refresh ourselves on what’s going on here – Wine Folly created the Noble Grape Challenge as a way to learn the spectrum of flavours and characteristics found in red and white wines. Taking nine reds and nine whites and going through them from lightest to darkest, we’ll learn about the key characteristics and flavours of each.
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and while for some that might mean getting wasted on dubious green beer, for me it’s an opportunity to pay homage to one of the many cultures that make up my heritage. I mean, I’ll still wear green, but I won’t wear one of those head bands with the little clovers on springs. Moderation, people.
Here are some beverages on my weekend sample menu. If you’re feeling particularly celebratory or, like me, have some Irish blood in there somewhere, I encourage you to give these a go.
I’m now past the halfway point in my journey through WSET level 3. I’ve begun studying for the exam (50 multiple choice questions, 4 short answer questions and 2 blind tastings – one white and one red) but am still waiting for my confidence to show. I had a similar problem with the last class I took – it wasn’t until the last few weeks of class that I finally started feeling like ‘hey, I think I can do this!’. Hopefully that feeling comes to my WSET studies soon. Better late than never, I suppose.
Palate Practice is a wine blog written by me, Meg. I've been enjoying wine since the days of childhood Sunday dinners and my Nan's dining table. When I was older I realized that, for me, wine is more than something to sip on when I'm heading to a dinner party.
Palate Practice is a place for me to share what I've learned (and am still learning) as well as stories of wine in my daily life. For me, sharing wine with someone is often the beginning of a really special experience.