Monday, December 13, 2010

The Holidays are a Time for...Blogging

It's been a very long time, I have no excuse. I've been drinking wine, I've been thinking about what to write about the wine I have been drinking, but I haven't actually done it.

I could try and play catch up and go over all of the great wine experiences I have had over the last few months, (and there have been a lot) but that's ridiculous. Instead let's look at one wine that I have had two experiences with, last night being the most recent.

Early in the fall, I tried Henry of Pelham's Baco Noir as I got ready for a night out at Niagara Grape and Wine Festival. I new instantly I loved it. It was rich and creamy. However, after about three glasses the rich creaminess was starting to get to me. This was not a "drink the whole bottle kind of wine". As great as this wine was, I had choosen the wrong situation to drink it. Last night, I was able to enjoy the Baco Noir as it should be enjoyed: sipped as savoured while enjoying a holiday cabaret.

Henry of Pelham's Baco Noir as been recognized over and over again as one of the best of this variety Find some time to sip a glass this holiday season: while wrapping gifts, catching up with a friend, watching your favourite Christmas movie (I recommend LOVE Acutally) or destressing after a frightful drive home.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thanks for the Memories

May 24 weekend, the official start of summer for most Canadians and for me the start of winery touring season. So on a beautiful Friday afternoon, I headed to Inniskillin to do a little tasting. This was my first time visiting Inniskillin and was very excited to taste some wine from this influential and long standing Niagara winery.

Your experience at a winery is shaped by the tasting bar attendant and we were very lucky to have Jon as our tasting guide. He was friendly and knowledgeable, in a non pretentious way- my kind of wine guy. He may have been even friendlier after I mentioned that I write a wine blog, I may be on to something here...

I told Friendly Jon that I don't like Chardonnay. Jon, being a Chardonnay lover, asked me to keep an open mind and to try the 2007 Reserve Select Chardonnay. He laughed when I said it smelled like milk, but did admit that Chardonnay does have a high amount of lactic acid (point for me!) This Chardonnay was the best Chardonnay I have ever had, but I still didn't really like it. I didn't taste the butter, pineapple or baked apple pie that the experts do, but that doesn't mean that they weren't there.

Just as we were thinking about saying good bye to Jon he offered us a wine that he promised would have the "wow" factor. Intrigued, we watched Jon opened a skinny bottle and placed two icewine glasses in front of us.

For those of you reading this blog to gain tidbits of wine knowledge to impress, here is a great one for you. One of the co-founder of Inniskillin, Donald Ziraldo, convinced Riedel that they needed to make an icewine glass and after a few years of naggig it happened! I think it might be the prettiest wine glass out there (see above picture).

As he poured the amber coloured wine into our glass he explained that he doesn't open a 12 year old Riesling Icewine for just anyone. It smelled like caramel and burned wood and tasted like "wow". It lacked the super sweetness that I don't like about icewine and was so full of flavours that my taste buds were confused, in a good way. From caramel to apples to burnt sugar to honey. This was complicated goodness! When I got home and Googled this wine I found a bottle for $170! Well, at least I have the memory...

Thank you Inniskillin and Jon for a great afternoon!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Cure for a Bad Day

Last week, I had a bad day. One of those days where you feel like the world is against you and you find yourself crying on the way home. Then you find yourself angry at yourself for letting the world (or one person) make you cry. I think you all know the kind of day I am talking about, and boy did I have one.

I had been very proud of myself for avoiding my annual Birthday Meltdown. I actually thought that turn 30 had cured me of such irrational behaviour. I should have known better. All it took was a long day at work, cancelled plans and what I perceived as a "dirty look", and I was blubbering in my car as I looked at my life in ruins.

By the time I got home, I had stopped crying, texted my friend to let her know that the meltdown had happened (she had been on standby for the past week) and had a course of action: a chick flick and a bottle of red wine.

After a bad day there is nothing better. I poured myself a glass (or three) of Cave Springs Cabernet Merlot, got my blanket and watched Julia & Julie. The Cab/Merlot was warm and fruity and the movie with cute and funny and suddenly all was well in my world.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Turning 30 is not so Bad when you have Family, Friends and Wine

Last weekend, I turned the big 3-0 and thanks to great family and friends it wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. In fact, I had a great Birthday that filled with the people I love, sangria, delicious food and a pinata.

Just when I was beginning to think that no one was reading my blog, I was surprised again. Just take a look at some of the gifts I received:
  • A set of 4 Riedel stemless wine glasses (I know the giver is a little worried about me using these due to my tendency to break wine glasses. I promise I will be careful Rebecca, and if I do break one...or four, you know it was because I was just having too much fun!)

  • A collectible Lolita wine glass called "30 ish" (I wish it said 20 ish)

  • A Shopper's Drugmart gift card (To buy aspirin for my red wine headaches)

  • Gift certificates for the LCBO (I may surprise everyone and use these to buy vodka)

  • The Wine Bible (This will definitely be useful when I am trying to write pretentious posts. Or maybe I will actually learn something...)

Now for the wine:

  • Cave Spring Cabernet/Merlot 2007

  • Creekside Viognier 2008
  • Fazi Battaglia Titulus 2008 (I am very intrigued by this one, mostly because I have no idea what it is and I can't find it in my Wine Bible!)

  • Moselland Arsvitis Riesling 2004

  • Creekside Pinot Noir Rose 2007

  • Vitae Sangiovese 2007

  • Fat Bastard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

I love it when other people buy you wine. I have a selection here that for the most part I wouldn't have chosen for myself. I am so excited to try all of these (from from my new Reidel wine glasses) and blog about each. So stay tuned, and the pool is now open to see how long it takes me to break a glass!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

StatsCan Says!

I guess I am not the only Canadian trying to become more pretentious....

Monday, April 12, 2010

For those in Search of a Summer Wine

This week I made my wine choice based solely on looks. The liquor store on the weekend was stocked with loads of new wines just in time for summer. It seems the trend in wine for the last little while as been strange names: Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush, Goats Do Roam In Villages, Ten Minutes By Tractor, Cleavage Creek and Mad Housewife to name a few. I was having a hard time deciding on a wine and almost left without one until a teal label(my favourite colour)caught my eye. As I looked at the label, I knew I had to buy this wine.

From the hand writing on the label; to the twist cap with the rock, paper, scissors hands; to the name, I knew this would be a great wine. My ever so sophisticate checklist has never steered my wrong. It was called Sibling Rivalry from Henry of Pelhem and it was a blend of Riesling, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer. The caption said it all: "Sibling Rivalry is greater then the sum of all parts."

When it came time to open the wine and have my first glass, I became a little nervous. I was so excited about this wine based on the great name and label, but what if it tasted like cat's pee on a gooseberry bush? Thankfully the wine was delicious. The sweetness of the Riesling and Gewurztraminer it mellowed out by the Chardonnay and what you are left with is a tart, fruity, refreshing wine. I think I may have found my new summer wine. And my love only grew when I checked out their website. So have a look and then get yourself a bottle of Sibling Rivalry!

If you need a little more than a review based on a great label check out what theGlobe and Mail said. If you prefer to watch rather then read, check out this episode of the Naked Wine Show .

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Karaoke, Punk and Wine

In my first post I made a statement: "I will recommend a wine to try and something fun to do while drinking that wine." Today, I have two activities for you to try while enjoying a glass of wine. Neither is a traditional wine activity, but that's what makes both activities so much fun and so me.

Wine and Norebang (aka KTV aka Karaoke)
While living in Asia, I developed a love for karaoke. Not the Western karaoke bar but the Asian karaoke room. Picture it: A group of friends in a room that is equipped with a karaoke machine, microphones, tambourines and an endless supply of great songs. Throw in some wine, and next the thing you know you are fighting over microphones during Sweet Child O'Mine. How can this not sound fun? The wine of choice you ask? Fat bastard's Cabernet Sauvignon. The reason for this choice was very simple: I love the name and the chubby hippo on the label. Cabernet Sauvignon is my go to wine, and I was with my go to girls, it was the obvious choice.

"Who knew that wine and punk from 1995 were such a good match?"
This was my Facebook status last weekend. I must say many people didn't agree with me. I stand by my status. While waiting for a friend to finish getting ready, I poured myself a glass of Trius Merlot and started perusing YouTube for some old favourites. Trius is probably one of the best wines in the Niagara Region and a little pricier than other. As I was sipping on my Merlot, I found myself drawn to mellower choices of music. That wasn't going to work. It was Friday night and we were getting ready to go out, and here I was drinking a Thursday night Grey's Anatomy wine. So I called on my lighthearted friend Riesling, and soon my friend and I were dancing around to Goldfinger and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. A great night ensued.

I challenge all of you to try an nontraditional wine pairing. If you need some help getting started, pour a glass of your favourite wine and have a listen to this video.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wine Tasting from Different Perspectives

Here are two video on the art of wine tasting...I am hoping there is something here for everyone.

Check in later this week for Wine and Karaoke!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Lighthearted Friend Riesling

I have had a few people ask me to recommend a wine for the person who doesn't like wine. I was trying to remember the first wine I started drinking and after many text messages with my best friend, we came up with nothing. We know it was white and cheap and that we bought it at the grocery store in Taiwan. The only wine that stood out in both of our minds was Australian Bush because the name makes us giggle.

For the novice wine drinker, white is way to go. My recommendation would be a Riesling. Anyone who says they do not like Riesling is lying. It is just so delicious. I think Billy Munnelly put it best:"Riesling always feels lighter and livelier than most other whites. It’s friendly and lighthearted – perfect for events when the wine needs to give everyone a good time." I have agree, maybe that's why Riesling and I are such good friends, we are both lighthearted.

For those of you who are reading to learn about wine you should know the Riesling grape originates from the Rhine region of Germany and has been cultivated since the 1400s! Wow, that is one old grape! The Riesling grape is very versatile and can produce wine that runs the gamut from dry to very sweet to sparkling.

For a nice local pick try the Cave Springs Riesling. This is one fun wine and I promise a good time will be had by all!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Can I Offer you a Glass of Fortified Wine?

One of the greatest things about visiting friends is that they often have wines that you normally won't buy. So when I was recently offered a glass of fortified red wine, how could I say no?

Unfortunately my wine knowledge up to this point does not include fortified wine. And even more unfortunate was the fact that my host had little experience with fortified wines also. We spent sometime speculating about what it could be. Before we plunged into the unknown wine, we decided to run a quick Google search to find out what we were getting into.

A wine that is fortified has a distilled alcohol added to it, usually brandy. The alcohol is added before the end of the fermentation process which kills the yeast and leaves the sugar. And voila you are left with a sweet dessert wine.

Upon this discovery, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. I am not that crazy about dessert wine and the the atmosphere wasn't really really calling for a dessert wine, but in the name of the blog I tried it.

It was a beautiful deep maroon and I loved the tears of wine a.k.a the wine legs a.k.a the church curtains a.k.a the the way the wine coats the glass. All wines will do this but a dessert wine does it best.

In the end, the fortified wine had a really nice rich fruity taste but after about an ounce I was happy to switch to some homemade Gewurztraminer. It may not have the legs, but the lower sugar content won't leave in me tears the next morning.

Tears of Wine

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fuzion Time

It's Saturday night, I am poor student and I want a glass of wine. That means it is Fuzion time. For those of you who don't know about this wine, which made it's first appearance at the LCBO in the summer of 2008, take $7.45 and buy a bottle. That's right, $7.45. As the economy crashed this Argentinian wine made it's appearance. It soon became the hot wine of 2008 as it flew off the shelves quicker than LCBO could restock them.

Because I am not a wine snob, I believe that you can get a decent bottle of wine for a good price. This is a decent wine, if you don't believe me just Google Fuzion and read the many articles about it. Billy's Best Bottles by Billy Munnelly describes the Shiraz-Malbec as "smooth, soft, with spicy sweet vanilla flavours. A knock-off of Aussie Shiraz!"

On Saturday, we had the Shiraz-Malbec and the Chenin Blanc. I preferred the red, but as we have learned that may of been due to the mood I was in. I find the Shiraz-Malbec to be very smooth. From my research, Malbecs are very "fruit forward" and I have to say with the Fuzion I can taste the fruit! Woohoo! My my palate has become more refined! I have also learned that Shiraz is more peppery. I may have missed the pepper in this wine...

Overall I had a great night with Fuzion. I got to have a cheap and tasty glass of wine and a night dancing. And let me tell you I was dancin'! What more does a girl need to love life?

Here is a list of other wines that won't hurt the wallet. I have not tried all of them, but I do see a challenge coming on...

1. Cantina Tollo Rocca Ventosa Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2007 (Italy), $7.80
2. Dopff & Irion Crystal d'Alsace Sylvaner 2006 (France), $12.45
3. Jacques & Francois Lurton Les Fumées Blanches 2007 (France), $11.45
4. Leaping Horse Chardonnay 2007 (California), $12.30 in Ontario
5. Peninsula Ridge Inox Chardonnay 2007 (Ontario), $12.95

1. Gabbiano Chianti (Italy), $13.95
2. KWV Roodeberg (South Africa), $13
3. Marcus James Malbec 2007 (Argentina), $9.25
4. Strewn Rogues Lot Cabernet Franc-Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Ontario), $12.95

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day...By the Numbers

Stats Canada offers a fun breakdown of holidays by the numbers . Here is what they had to say about Wine on Valentine's Day...By the Numbers.

A glass of wine
$5.4 billion — The value of wines sold by wineries, liquor stores and agencies in Canada in 2007/2008, up 7.3% from the previous year.

425.3 million litres — The volume of wine sold at wineries, liquor stores and agencies in Canada in 2007/2008, a 4.9% increase. The growth in sales of imported wine was more than twice the growth of domestic wine sales.

62% — The proportion of the volume of sales of red wine (including rosé wines) relative to white wines sold in Canada. Three-quarters of all red wines sold in Canada were from other countries, compared with just over 62% of white wines.

15.0 litres — The per capita consumption of wine in Canada in 2008. This represents 20 bottles (750 ml) per person aged 15 and over in Canada!

$312 million — The value of sales of sparkling wines in Canada in 2008. Canadian products made up less than a quarter of this amount.

18.6 million litres — The volume of sparkling wines sold in Canada in 2008

I can't wait to see the look on people's faces when I bust out these new fun facts: "Did you know that three-quarters of all red wine sold in Canada is from other countries? That is really a shame when we have some great red wines from the Niagara Region." Oh yeah, one more pretentious wine fact to wow people with.

Anything here surprise you? Let me know what you think and share you Valentine's Day wine stories!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

For Valentine's Day

This has nothing to do with my quest to be pretentious. Just a Valentine's Day video from my favourite blog.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Drinking for Charity

We jived the 50's away. We twisted through the 60's. We discoed like no others in the 70's. We moonwalked across the 80's. We head banged like Axel in the 90's. It was a busy night for my friends and me. On Saturday night we took part in Niagara College's Dance the Night Away. An event that was put on by the Event Management students to benefit the Many Hands Project.

One of my favourite activities is “drinking for charity”. Helping other while dancing and drinking wine, is a good night in my book any day. Upon arriving at Club Italia I bought my drink tickets and pondered the wine choices. My options included an Italian Merlot or Chardonnay or a Peller Estates Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot gris. I work at Club Italia and from experience know I don't really like the Italian wines. They are ... too old (meaning dry, bitter and a little boring). Also, we live in a region that makes great wine and should support this industry. Earlier in the night I had a vodka tonic, so logic told me I should have a Pinot gris.

I really enjoy Pinot gris. It's light and fun and doesn't take it's self too seriously. From what I have learned it is a wine that should be drank young. None of this sitting in a cellar for years waiting for it to get better. In case your wondering, if you buy a bottle of Pinot grigio it's the Italian form of Pinot gris. Add that to your list of “pretentious knowledge”.

If you have an event where I can "drink for charity", drop me a line and I will be there to support your cause!

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Little Secret

I did not drink a glass of wine all week. I met up with my cousin at the The Office and deciding that it was way too "couplely" for two single girls we headed to the Merchant Ale House. Thus the reason I have no wine experience to share with the blogging world this week. In my books it would be just silly to drink wine in a place that has great beer.

I am going to take this time to share a little secret with you: A lot of the wine I drink is homemade. About a year ago I discovered a family friend owned a wine brewing store. So after a short phone call I had made a batch of Cabernet Sauvignon that would be ready in four weeks! So easy! Nothing like I thought. That might because I was basing my knowledge on wine making from an I Love Lucy episode...

After four weeks of anticipation, a friend and I headed to the store to bottle, cork and label my wine. I completely recommend taking an afternoon with some friends and bottling wine as long as "sampling" is involved.

The only downfall of drinking homemade wine is that the wine definitely benefits from aerating. Aerate is a fancy word for letting the wine breath. By allowing the wine to mix with the air the flavours will mellow making it smoother. The younger the wine, the more tannins (yay! I used one of my new wine words) it will have. The more tannins it has, the longer it needs to aerate. Now that I know what the word aerate means all I have to do is find the patience to actually do it.

I am sure that my homemade wine is not helping in my quest for pretentiousness but I know my friends are happy when I show up with a bottle of wine.

Because Everyone Loves Lucy

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Visit to the Theatre and a Glass of Shiraz

“525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year?” The day after I still have a smile on my face as I hum and sometimes belt out the lyrics to Rent. Yesterday, three great friends and I headed to Toronto to take a chance of getting “student rush tickets” for the Broadway tour of Rent. After waiting in line for 45 minutes, we headed to the Eaton's Centre for lunch with smiles on our faces and four orchestra seat tickets in our hands.

As we settled into our table at Mr. Green Jeans we dove into the topic of what wine goes best with Rent? A general consensus was reached: a cheap, nondescript, red wine drank from a paper bag. Hmmm, might be a little difficult in a nice restaurant with a wine list. Well, at least we have narrowed it down to red. After the perusing the menu I decided to go with a Shiraz.

When my glass of Shiraz arrived we began to discuss the wine. “Wow, it's a really deep colour,” one friend comment. As I stuck my nose in the glass and took a whiff, chestnuts filled my nasal passage or what I guessed was chestnuts.

Today I set out to actually become pretentious. I would find out why Shiraz is such a deep colour and if it really does taste like chestnuts. I learned that Shiraz can also be called Syrah, which clears up a huge misunderstanding my brain. The reason it is so dark? Obviously, because it is made from a dark skinned grape. More importantly, Shiraz is a full to medium bodied wine with lots of tannins. Translation: lots of taste. And the tannins (a chemical substance found in planets) are responsible for the red wine headache and that sometimes bitter taste. According to, flavours of black cherry, blackberry, plum, black pepper, clove, licorice, dark chocolate and smoked meat can be found. I am sticking with chestnuts; who are these “About” people anyways?

My research today has left me feeling a little more sophisticated and capable of discussing Shiraz with a bit of confidence. Although, I was a little disappointed to discover that chicken fingers was not a food pairing of choice...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunday Night Dancing is the Best

Most of my Sunday evenings are spent preparing for the new week: doing laundry, finishing homework and overall dreading the end of the weekend. So when my fabulous ladies suggested we check out a funk band and put on our Sunday night dancing shoes, I decide that wine and a funk show would make for a great first blog post.

Upon arriving at my friends I was faced with the decision of red or white. This is not a choice that I make lightly. Wine snobs would discuss "the pairing of a wine with a dish so that the full aroma and body of the wine can be felt on the palate," or thing like that. I don't do that. When considering red or white, I like to make the decision based on situation. In front of a fire: red wine. A picnic in the park: white wine. So now you ask, what goes best with a funk band? The answer is obvious. Funk music is fun, lively, light and makes you want to dance; therefore one needs a fun, lively, light white wine.

With a glass of Gewurztraminer in my hand I was ready to dance.
And danced I did. LMT Connection was the perfect fix for my need to dance. If I ever doubted my conclusion that white wine and funk go hand-in-hand my theory was proven correct shortly after arriving at the show. I watched a lady drink a glass of red wine and not even bob her head a band belted out one great funk song after another. Needless to say, the lady left and the glass of red wine was left on the table. If only she new that red wine belongs at an acoustic show not at a funk show.

What a great idea, Sunday night funk dancing. My Sunday night became a great way to start a week rather than a depressing end to the weekend.

The Unpretentious Wine Drinker

I love wine. This love is fairly new for me. It's only been about four years since I really considered wine a drink of choice. Before that time, most of my wine experience had been with "table" wine: the generic, usually mouth puckering, dry wine found at weddings. This turned me off the drink for a number of years.

When I first started drinking wine, I only drank white wine. As my palate become more "sophisticated" I switched to red and felt I was too good for the Riesling and Chardonnays of world and left them behind. Over the past year, I have discovered there is plenty of room in my life for Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons, Pinot Grigios and Gewurztraminers.

At this point it should be stated that I do not consider myself a wine expert. I am just a girl who enjoys a glass of wine and the socializing that goes along with that glass. I will recommend a wine to try and something fun to do while drinking that wine. Not pretentious, just fun. Maybe one day, if I try really hard, I can be a pretentious wine connoisseur.

Wait, who am I kidding?