Learning About Wine, Wine

4 Tips on Hosting Your Very Own Wine Tasting

A couple of weekends ago I made a trip home to my parents’ house for my brother Nick’s annual birthday wine tasting. Since I’ve bragged to you about how great they are before I thought that this time around I would shake it up. Instead of a recap I’ve decided to bring you, dear reader, into the tradition.

Hosting your own wine tasting is simple and fun. Here are four tips to get you started.

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Wine, Wine WTFs

WTF are Tannins all about?

Welcome to another edition of Wine WTFs! In this series we’ll explore wine terms and ideas and try to figure out what the fuss is all about. Last time we talked about wtf the deal is with oak.

You know how it is. You’re over at a friend’s place or out for dinner and you’re sharing a bottle of wine. Things are great, conversation is flowing, and then you hear someone start talking about the wine.

“Ah, yes, the tannin in this wine is lovely.”

Oh yeah, totally, you think. You keep sipping.

… wait, what?

Seriously, wtf is the deal with tannin?

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Beer

A Beer Tour of the World

When I was in university I didn’t know much about beer. I drank it when I went out to the pub but that was about it. I usually ordered something cheap like Labatt 50 (hello student budget) or sometimes splurged on Creemore (before it was bought by Molson) or Sleeman (before it was bought by Sapporo).

It wasn’t until I started doing beer tours that I really got to know what beer is all about.

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White Wine, Wine

Going Natural in the Okanagan

Something interesting is happening in BC. Specifically in Summerland, a small town in the Okanagan Valley.

While winemaking in the Okanagan actually has roots in the 1850’s, the winemaking situation we know now started in the mid 1970’s. The geography of the valley is really cool. It’s buried in the BC interior, nestled between a bunch of mountains and right next to Lake Okanagan, which is incredibly deep. All these things protect the vines as they grow the grapes, and you know what that means – good wine.

Like many cool climate regions the Okanagan makes excellent pinot noir and chardonnay, but there’s also a bunch of great merlot, cab sauv, cab franc coming out of the region. Not to mention one of my faves, pinot gris.

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Travels, Wine

Another Year, Another Cuvée

This past weekend I made my annual springtime pilgrimage to Niagara for Cuvée en Route, a passport style event with about 30 participating wineries each offering a tasting menu. This year I made the trip with my friend Andrew – a fellow wino, so it wasn’t very difficult to twist his arm and get him to join me.

Wine friends!

I’m always interested in the chance to take a drive and experience wines in the place they’re made. There’s something special about tasting a wine while looking at the vines that gave it life.

Except for one stop this year’s Cuvée adventure consisted of wineries I’d never been to before. I apologize in advance if I’m a broken record about all the newness! My game plan going in was to use this year’s Cuvée as an excuse to finally get to some places I’ve been meaning to go for years.

So let’s get on with it, shall we?

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Beer

What’s a ‘craft beer’, anyway?

In my early beer-drinking days my consumption habits were much different. It was the early 2000’s and most of my drinking happened at my favourite local pub in the town where I was going to university. Its draft list was modest and straight-forward, exactly what you’d expect at the time – Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue, Rickard’s Red and a couple other things. In an effort to find something I liked I most often gravitated toward Labatt 50, for better or for worse.

And then something wonderful happened. Sometime around 2008 I tried a new beer. It was from Ontario (gotta love local!) and was a new type I’d never had before, a Kolsch. It was delicious! And it was a craft beer.

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Wine WTFs

WTF is the deal with Oak?

Welcome to another edition of Wine WTFs! In this series we’ll explore wine terms and ideas and try to figure out what the fuss is all about. Last time we figured out wtf the deal is with terroir, and this time around we delve into another often mystifying wine characteristic.

This wine term is one that gets lots of talk but possibly less understanding. It’s used and overused on labels, so much so that many people have no idea what it actually means. It gets slandered when paired with white wines and becomes near invisible when paired with reds.

Have an idea of what I’m talking about?

Seriously, wtf is the deal with oak?

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Travels, Wine

Gearing up for Another Cuvée

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It’s that time of year again – Cuvée en Route is back! It’s one of the many times each year that I get in the car and make a little pilgrimage to the region in my own backyard. It’s also a welcome way to further my wine knowledge and keep my palate up to snuff.

What is Cuvée en Route?

Let’s review. Created by the good folks at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), Cuvée en Route is an annual showcase of the fantastic wines this region has to offer. On March 23, 24 and 25 wineries throughout the region will create tasting menus (usually 3-4 wines) for passport holders, often share wines you can’t get at a normal tasting. Case in point – my first Cuvée year I had wines from as long ago as 1998! Cuvée is a great opportunity to taste things you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere (or any time) else.

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