After an extended break it’s time for another installment of the Noble Grape Challenge. Last time we explored what Cabernet Sauvignon was all about, and today we’ll get to know Syrah/Shiraz.
About the Noble Grape Challenge
Remember the Noble Grape Challenge? Yeah, I kind of forgot about it too. Let me refresh you 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.
A friend of mine recently asked me for a list of red wines between $10 and $15 that could be good go-to wines. I told her I’d get going on that list immediately, and then I had a thought – far be it for me to keep this list of wine goodness from the rest of my fellow wine lovers. So here it is! A tidy list that you can take to your local wine shop. Pick away! And let me know what you think of them.
Some Notes Before We Start
There are, of course, many many wines that could have made it on the list that I didn’t include.
My palate tends to skew more toward the intense, fuller body end of the spectrum, and this list reflects that.
Some regions and types of wine can command a higher price point than others – reds from Bordeaux, California Cabernet, Australian Shiraz, for example. In the interests of affordability these wines didn’t make the cut.
I’ve tasted all of these wines, so I am personally vouching for them here. Don’t like them? I’m interested! Let’s talk.
Every so often (very often, if I’m being honest with you) I try a new wine and think – why am I not writing tasting notes? Writing tasting notes is a great way for me to explore what the heck I’m drinking and help myself figure out whether I like what’s in my glass or not. So I’ve decided to start writing more notes and, of course, I thought you might be interested.
Friends, I’ve started a mailing list! Sign up to receive monthly re-caps of these posts and other interesting wine-related links.
In typical Meg fashion, I’ve enrolled in yet another wine course. It started last week and I wanted to share with you what it’s about and how it’s shaping up.
What is it?
WSET level 3 is advanced level learning from the Wine Spirit and Education Trust. WSET is a snooty-seeming wine educational organization based out of England. This course will offer the same knowledge but, contrary to Sommelier training, there is no service component. This is the thing that drew me to WSET over Sommelier training – I have no desire to work in a restaurant or serve wine. I just want to know all the wine-things so I can write here about them!
Friends, I’ve started an email list! Sign up to receive monthly re-caps of these posts as well as other interesting wine-related links.
If, like me, you tend to find yourself on websites devoted to food and wine, you might have noticed a new trend popping up for the winter months: red wine hot chocolate.
Yes, you read that correctly. Red wine and hot chocolate, together! What could be better, right??
To be honest, I’m a little skeptical. A lot skeptical actually. I love wine, and I also enjoy the occasional cup of hot chocolate (I refuse to call it ‘ho-cho’), but I just can’t see the two working together. In the words of one of the commenters weighing in on this idea, “This sounds revolting!”. Coconutlime, I think I agree with you.
However, a friend tweeted me about this odd concoction recently so I thought – what the hell? This is why I have a blog, right? To push myself and try new things? So here I go, trying this disgusting-looking thing. For YOU, dear reader. I hope you enjoy.
In my internet wanderings I often come across questions relating to wine, and now that I feel like I know some things about things I thought I’d share what I would say to someone who asked me these questions.
How long can wine last in optimal conditions?
First of all, let’s talk about what ‘optimal conditions’ are when it comes to storing wine.
Ideally you want to store wine in a place that fits three main criteria: cool, dark, and dry. Light, heat and dampness** can all wreak havoc either on the cork or the wine, so you want to try and curb these things as much as possible if you plan to hold on to a bottle for more than a few months.
**Edit: My wonderful stepdad (and personal wine oracle) has gently reminded me that dampness is not quite the red flag I thought it was. Also, I forgot that wines also like to age undisturbed – jostling them around or moving them too much can shorten the life of a wine. The more you know!
So, how long can a wine last in these conditions? Well, like many things in life, it depends. On what, you ask? Read on to find out.
Well, another Christmas has come and gone. I always get a little sad once it’s over – we have to wait a whole other year to absent ourselves from regular life and soak up the slower pace that comes with Christmas Day. I know there are often other opportunities to take a break or go on vacation, but it’s not the same as feeling the world slow down in unison like on December 25th. Even if you don’t celebrate the day, the slowness and the pause is a nice offshoot of our Christian-established society.
So, now that it’s over, what do we do?
We celebrate the coming year, of course!
I know I’m not alone in feeling like 2016 was a tough, difficult year. On the macro level we were faced with Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, Orlando, Syria, and the loss of a hurtful number of artistic icons. On the micro level I personally felt incredibly challenged by career-related and mental health issues and while I’m taking action to (hopefully!) make some positive changes, I find myself feeling a bit raw as 2016 draws to a close. So I’ve decided I’ll be celebrating the new year with open arms and using the evening of the 31st to give 2016 a swift kick in the butt. Good riddance to this awful year! It’s served its purpose I guess, and I’m ready for better things.
The holidays are officially upon us, and you might be wondering what sort of wine to get for the big day. This day could be Christmas or Hannukah or Kwanzaa or Yule, but every celebration worth celebrating comes with a big feast, which of course begs the question – what will you drink with it?
Here are some friendly pairing suggestions from your favourite wino.