Wine Roulette

First, wine tasting is not easy. If anyone tells you that, they are liars.

I don’t mean having a sip and tasting what is in your mouth. I mean smelling your wine, having a sip and being able to tell me what fruits, flowers, herbs and hints of whatever is in the wine.

To even have a decent shot at picking out the flavours and scents you need to be able to concentrate and not be around any smells like perfume, cooking smells, or pet smells. Even a glass that is the wrong shape or size can alter what you are able to smell.

The temperature, age of the wine, what you were eating before you sampled the wine, all of these things play a factor into what you taste.

I had ordered a glass of wine at a restaurant that I know I love, but I was eating a different kind of food with it, and it tastes totally different and kind of gross. It’s amazing the difference that makes.

Real experts at this can look at the shade and transparency of the wine can tell you what type of wine it is. I could probably tell you the difference between a pinot noir and a cab sav, but that’s about where it stops. I know Syrahs or red Zinfandels are usually a dark purple/black colour and Pinot Noirs or Sangioveses are a lighter, more browny/red colour.

Fruits are usually the most prominent smell and taste you can pick out. Herbs, spices and flowers are sometimes apparent.

Then there are the smells from the barrels. You could have oak, vanilla, smoke, chocolate, espresso, or even things like nuts.

Overwhelmed yet? Each part of your tongue tastes different things, so when you are ready to taste you have to swirl the wine around in your mouth to catch all the flavours.

To me, that seems like using mouthwash and also is going to make me have red wine mouth. I don’t want to. Especially if the wine has a lot of tannins in it, it will give your whole mouth that bitter dry feeling.

I invented a game to test out your skills in a way that, hopefully, isn’t infuriating.

Go to your favourite restaurant with a friend, hopefully on half price wine night, ask your server for the wine menu and to surprise you with a glass of wine. Each of you try and pick out the flavours, you will have the wine menu in front of you so it’s not super overwhelming and a complete shot in the dark. The person who guesses correctly doesn’t’ have to pay for the wine!

After you guess, get the server to bring over the bottle of wine so you can look at what it’s supposed to taste like and try to find those flavours in your wine.

You actually will be learning something and it won’t break the bank. It will show you what to look for in a particular type of wine, hopefully help you with picking out flavours, and you might find some new wines you love or hate!

Wine tasting is learned. It’s not easy, and it’s not something you are going to learn overnight. Make it fun.

I’m going to try this with Scott and see how it goes. Wish me luck!


A little tip for a bubbly sip

Champagne: The beverage of choice for many celebrations.

I, actually, do not like it.

I do not like it saying “cheers”

I would rather have some beers.

I do not like that Baby Duck.

I really think it does taste YUCK.

I do not like it here, or there.

I do not like it anywhere.

I think I am just scarred from years of Baby Duck — yes I know Baby Duck is not champagne. It’s sparkling wine, but for the purposes of what I’m saying, I’m sure this trick would work for sparkling wine as well.

It’s the only reason I don’t have graphic Ts that talk about mimosas. But my goal is to have a closet full of graphic shirts for every mood, so who knows, maybe my tastes will change?

But, I do have a trick for you if you want to keep your bubbles in the bottle over night.

This is one of the things that I would have thought is ridiculous until I tried it for myself — like chips in the freezer. Seriously, try it.

So, you can’t put the cork back in the champagne bottle, and even if you could, it doesn’t help much with keeping the bubbles in.

Don’t ask me how this works, but if you put a metal fork in your bottle and put your bottle in the fridge, your champagne will stay bubbly! It’s honestly a miracle. I suppose a spoon or knife would work, but a knife seems dangerous and it might fall into the bottle.

I first discovered this method at my cousin’s house in Vancouver. She likes champagne and there was just a straggler bottle of Moet hanging around with a spoon in it. I thought it was weird until I tried it. Pink champagne is the exception to my dislike of champagne. My brain tricks my tongue into thinking it’s delicious because it’s pink. I’m ok with that.