Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting 101’

DIY Wine Tasting – tips from our Sommeliers

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
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Have you been renovating all winter? Show off your new digs by having friends and neighbours over for a do-it-yourself wine tasting?  It does not need to be an overly grand production, rather a novel ‘reason’ to have people over to ooh and ahhh about your handy work.

Like hiring a designer or contractor, you can call on a Sommelier (check out our 17 Savvy Sommeliers who are there to help you) to take care of all the details and work with a caterer to prepare a menu paired with each wine.   Here’s our tips & trick on hosting your own wine tasting:

Savvy Company - GiancarloStep 1 – It’s all about the experience

Depending on how formal and structured you would like the experience to be, a wine tasting can be conducted at a large dining room table with rows of wine glasses waiting to be sampled.  For a more casual experience, try a reception style in your family room, but the reality is that everyone may end up in the kitchen. This way they can help themselves to a table full of different wines and platters of hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening.

Step 2 – What’s your theme?

Your wine tasting event can focus on exploring wines of a certain country or region or can examine one type of wine such as Pinot Noirs, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnays from various wine regions around the world.

The top 5 themes for wine tastings that our Savvy Sommeliers design & host are:

A Trip Around the World in 5 Glasses
Cheese, Chocolate & Wine!
An Endless Night of Bubbles! (showcasing different styles of sparkling wines)
Passionate about Pinot (featuring Pinot Gris & Pinot Noirs from around the world)
Be Adventurous – wines under $20 you’ve never tried

Step 3 – Wine shopping made simpleCathy Law with glasses

With your theme in mind, now comes the fun part of selecting the wines.  Here are tips from the pros at Savvy Company:

Welcome your guests into your newly-renovated home with a glass of sparkling wine.  The popping of the cork sets the mood for a party (watch that it does not spray onto your freshly-painted walls or hit the ceiling!) and a glass of bubbly cleanses and refreshes your palette, preparing it for the evening ahead of delicious wines and foods.

Feature 5 to 7 wines as too many wines will ‘numb’ your palette. Each sampling of wine should be approximately two ounces (about one inch in an ISO wine tasting glass…more about glasses below).  This equates to serving 10 people per bottle of wine.

Step 4 – What about food?

Wine is made to be enjoyed with food.  At a minimum, offer your guests sliced baguettes and water crackers to cleanse & refresh their palettes between wines.  To augment the food selection, have an artisan cheese board with an assortment of hard, soft and blue veined cheeses.  Go a step further and enhance the wine and food experience by pairing each wine with hors d’oeuvres.

Tip from the pros:  leave pickles, dips & vegetable sticks for another party and serve foods like grilled vegetables, hearty meatballs, chicken satay, roasted nuts & olives …and don’t forget cheese!

Now…Let the fun begin!

Savvy Company - AmandaEnjoying wine engages all of your senses.    There are no rules to wine tasting as everyone’s impression is personal and this makes for interesting conversation. I always say, “Wine tasting is as easy as eyes, nose and mouth.” With each wine, take note of the colour (eyes), the aromas (nose) and the flavours (mouth).

Let’s taste a wine together… Pour approximately two ounces into your wine glass.

Eyes…

Tilt the glass 45 degrees away from you, using a white tablecloth as the backdrop and notice:

The colour and clarity of the wine. 

What colour does it remind you of:
Whites – pale straw or golden
Rosés – cotton candy pink, salmon or terracotta
Reds – garnet, fire engine red, cherry, purple, ink or opaque 

Nose…

Aromas or bouquet, however you call it, Sommelier pros suggest to hold the ISO tasting glass by the stem, swirl the wine in a steady circular motion to introduce air into the wine to release the aromas.

What does the wine smell like? 

Basic descriptors are:
Sparkling wines – nutty, refreshing, crisp
White wines – dry, floral, citrus, tropical fruit, pineapple, pears, apples
Reds – cherry, strawberry, blackberry, earthy, vanilla, leather, dried fruit

Mouth….

And now to taste! Take a sip, chew the wine (as if it were mouthwash) to coat your entire mouth.

Take note:
Is the wine light, medium or full bodied?
Does the wine taste the same as it smells?
Do the flavours linger or disappear?
Try each wine with food and note how the food changes your enjoyment of the wine.

Repeat…Repeat…Repeat!

After an evening of swirling, sipping and perhaps spitting, it is no wonder that a wine tasting is a fun way to explore the world of wines as well as socializing in your newly renovated home.

 

Tools of the trade

ISO wine tasting glasses: These tulip shaped glasses (right) allow you to easily swirl 2 ounces of wine and the narrow rim captures the aromas.  ISO glassesFor a formal tasting, one glass per featured wine is needed per person, or a casual cocktail style event requires one glass per person to re-use throughout the event.

White tablecloth:  drape your table with a basic white tablecloth so that your guests can use it white background to really see the colour of the wines

Pitcher of Water: for rinsing the glasses and refreshing your palette in between wines

Spitoon or bucket: used to empty unwanted wine and rinsing water.

Don’t forget the corkscrew!

 

Savvy Company - ShawnLet the experts do it for you!

If you are DIY-ed out and want a Sommelier to design and organize a fun wine event in your home, call on our Savvy Sommeliers us anytime 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926).

Or join us at our Taste & Buy events to sip and sample Ontario wines which are not available at the LCBO.

Next event: County in the Capital – Wednesday April 8th- featuring hard-to-find wines, craft beers & ciders from Prince Edward County. Tickets $65 + bring a friend for $1.  Buy your tickets quickly – this event will sell out fast!>>

Cheers!
Debbie

 

This article appears in the ‘Spaces’ issue of Ottawa Life Magazine – March/April 2015

 

 

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Is 2014 your year to learn more about wine, cheese & beer?

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 3rd, 2014
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New Years resolutions of ‘eat more artisan cheese’ or ‘stop buying the same wines’ or ‘go local at the pub & drink different beers’ or ‘give blue cheese a chance’ make our team of Sommeliers smile – BIG time.

Once you venture into the world of wine, artisan cheese & craft beer, you can make delicious discoveries. The hardest part (if there is a hard part) is starting.  Don’t despair because we have made it easy to keep your 2014 resolutions and begin as soon as this month!

Wine tips & tricks all day long

Debbie Trenholm - Savvy Company SommelierJoin me for my annual Wine Appreciation 101 ‘Class’ on Saturday January 18.  While called a ‘class’, it is really a full day of enjoying wines you may never have tried, learning wine lingo, tasting the difference glassware makes & deciphering a restaurant wine list to name a few of the things we’ll cover.  And because I absolutely LOVE wine, I will sprinkle in all kinds of tips and even party trick…learn how to easy it is to sabre (yes, with a sword) a bottle of bubbly just like Napoléon did when he won a battle.  Mark my words, this is one ‘class’ that you will definitely WANT to do the homework!

The class will naturally take place in Ottawa’s coolest wine venue: Must Kitchen & Wine Bar in the Byward Market.  Gourmet lunch is included to give you first hand experience with food & wine pairing. This class always sells out, so register early & save $15 or bring 4 friends for a special group price.  Everyone, regardless of their wine knowledge….is sure to learn more about the world of wine & have a new shopping wine list.

Or have wines delivered!Savvy Selections - Ontario wine of the month club

Can’t make my Saturday class? No problem, I can arrange wines delivered to you.  Simply subscribe to our Savvy Selections wine of the month club and each month our Savvy Sommeliers will choose the best wines in Ontario & have them delivered to you at your home or office.  Learn more about the winemaker, the winery & the wines in our monthly Savvy eZine & try your hand at recipes that our Sommeliers have selected to go with the 3 different wines.  And these wines are hard-to-find as you won’t see them on the shelves at the LCBO.  Stick to your resolution by subscribing for 4, 6 or 12 months.

More cheese please…

Vanessa Simmons - Savvy Company Cheese SommelierCome in from the cold to nibble & nosh all day as you learn about fabulous fromages from our Savvy Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons.  She will introduce you to new cheeses from around the world, share stories about cheesemakers & show you the ‘whey’ as you learn cheesey FUN-damentals. Vanessa will even make cheese before your eyes!

During the day you will learn the ‘whey’ to buy cheese, make a delicious cheese board, cook with cheeses & the talk the cheese talk like a BIG fromage!  Like my wine ‘class’, this will be a fun day tasting a wide variety of cheese from all parts of the world.  And there’ll be a pop quiz: is cheese better with wine or craft beer?  Think you know the answer? You are in for a surprise!

Join Vanessa for this all-day ‘class’. Warning: you will have loads of fun!

Does your New Years resolution include both wine & cheese? 

Join us for a Wine & Cheese Extravaganza – register for both classes $250 per person – all in! Life seriously does not get any better than this!

Did you say something about a beer ‘class’?

We are working on it…and we have another announcement ‘brewing’ too!  Email us to be the first to get the brew news.

Mark my words, it will be an absolutely DELICIOUS year!

Cheers,
-Debbie

Keep in touch with us!

Follow Debbie on Twitter: @SavvyDebbie @SavvyCompany.  Vanessa is on Twitter too: @SavvyVanessa

And we are on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/savvycompany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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