Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wine Lingo, Part 2

Happy Wine Wednesday! As promised, here is a continuation of my previous post on wine terms. 

Finish: the lingering flavour and sensation of the wine after drinking. It can be short, long, dry, complex…you get the idea.

Ice wine, or “Icewine”: a sweet dessert wine made from frozen grapes. They can be red or white depending on the grapes used. Ice wines are usually a fair bit more expensive than other wines because of the strict conditions required to make them, but it's worth it. 

Nose: the overall smell or aroma of the wine. 

Sugar scale: a numerical system used to describe how dry or sweet a wine tastes, with 0 being the most dry. This system is being phased out and replaced with the more vague qualitative categories of extra dry, dry, off-dry, medium sweet, and sweet. 

From the LCBO website. 

Tannins: more common in reds, tannins are what make your mouth pucker after taking a sip and make a wine taste more dry or bitter. Tannins come from contact with the grapes’ seeds, skins, stems, and sometimes wooden barrels that the wine is aged in.

Varietal: the type of grape (or grapes, if it's a blend) used in a wine. Different appellations are conducive to growing different kinds of grapes, which is why some areas are known for a certain type of wine.

Vintage: the year the grapes were harvested in. Not all wines specify the vintage, because sometimes they use grapes from different years and hope that no one will notice the difference. 

VQA (Canada only): stands for Vintner’s Quality Alliance. In Ontario, a VQA wine must use 100% Ontario grapes and jump through a series of hoops before they get to put a special sticker on the bottle. 

I'll keep adding terms as I think of them. Next up: a review of the brand new Trius White 2012!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Big House Red 2012 Review: "Criminally Delicious"

Last night I tried Big House Wines' 'Big House Red 2012'.

Big House Wines' Big House Red 2012

Let me start off by saying that I'm not a huge red wine drinker. I've been told it's an acquired taste, so I've been making a serious effort to speed up the process by continuing to try new reds at every opportunity. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Happy Winesday!

Over the weekend, my boyfriend Thomas and I had the pleasure of visiting Thirty Bench Wine Makers in Beamsville, Ontario. It’s not quite Niagara on the Lake, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As we drove through the blowing snow, I wondered whether our trip was going to be worth it. 

Thirty Bench Wine Makers, located in Beamsville Ontario

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nice Legs! Wine Lingo 101

There’s quite an array of terminology to describe a drink that is essentially fermented grape juice. Some of them are less obvious than others, and some sound like they were made up by someone who had already started on the wine. So, here are some of the basic terms you might hear if you hang out around seasoned wine drinkers. 

Acidity: the right amount of acidity gives wine a crisp, refreshing taste. Too much and you’ll feel like you’re drinking sour patch kids.

Appellation: a geographic region where grapes are grown. 

Aroma: specific scents you can pick up after sniffing a glass of wine, such as peach, cherry, or blackberry. The aroma depends heavily on the grapes used.  

Body: the fullness, density, or weight of a wine in your mouth. 

Bouquet: the overall smell of the wine, usually reserved for older wines that have been aged in oak barrels.

Brix: a fancy scientific scale used the measure the sugar content of unfermented grapes. The higher the Brix, the higher the alcohol content will be.

Dry: the opposite of sweet, not the opposite of wet. 

Legs: the streaks that a wine leaves after swirling it around in your glass. Lighter-bodied wines will have thinner legs that dissipate quickly, while full-bodied wines cling to the inside of the glass.

I'll be adding more terms in a future post, and eventually compiling a separate page of wine terms. Until then, go impress people with your fabulous new wine vocabulary. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

What's a Winebrary?

Winebrary: it's like a library, full of valuable information, but with books you can drink. No membership card required, and you can be as loud as you like.

I don't know about you, but that's a concept I can definitely get behind.

Wine can be a bit intimidating, especially for those who are just starting out on their wine-drinking careers. Trust me, I know. In May of 2011 I applied for a job at a wine store, with very little wine knowledge and even less experience actually drinking it. You can imagine my embarrassment and panic as I struggled to answer questions like, "What grape varietals are in this Meritage?", and, "What wine should I serve with my curry dish this evening?".

Fortunately for both me and my customers, I've learned a little bit about wine over the past few years. I've had the opportunity to taste more wines than I can count, visit beautiful vineyards across Canada, and learn from people who have earned their wine connoisseur badge after years of experience in the field.

Stay tuned for all things wine-related, including reviews, food pairings, how to's, and more!