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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since France is pretty well regarded as the Mecca of winemaking it isn’t really surprising that many newer wine regions throughout the world look to emulate what the French have going on. Bordeaux especially gets the flattery treatment, which you might notice by how many other places in the world grow and make cabernet sauvignon and merlot wines.