Sunday, September 5, 2010
Wine in the Afternoon
I don't usually post about wine, probably for the same reasons I never post about restaurants - I don't feel confident enough 'to judge'.
I have taken some wine courses here and there. I think my first one was when I was 19: I worked in a restaurant with a fantastic wine list (it is still great!) and the owner was about to open a second restaurant, a bit more upscale (the bistro is no more, sadly, and it was the most beautiful kitchen I had ever worked in)- he wanted staff to be able to speak about the selection with confidence. Even though I was with pots and pans and so so many cakes, I still had to know about pairings. I focused, I tasted, closed my eyes and imagined ingredients, preparations, mouthfeels. Then I went home, and tried remembering the taste of a certain wine. Or that wine. Or would this wine go better with what we were eating? I was obsessed with pairing the right wine with the right food. One week we spoke about a grape variety, one week it was all about a region - I always just focused on taste, association and memory - everything technical and geographical was forgotten.
That was almost 15 years ago. Ouch.
What is fabulous as time goes by is that your palate develops, both for food and wine.
I've tasted more, I've cooked more, I've read up more.
Some wines I know I am less fond of - I would probably never order a Gewürztraminer nor a Cabernet Franc without food - I don't like them enough to simply sip on them. I always make an effort to try them at tastings, they are given a fair chance... Riesling & Grüner I have learned to appreciate in the past years. Sauvignon Blanc I couldn't live without. Ditto for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Today we drove up to Navan, Ontario, for a quick winery tour. Inspired by Holly, I convinced my mum (plus Lola the dachshund) and Simon to put on a 'petite laine' and walk through the vineyards of Domaine Perrault.
I had their wines a few summers ago and remembered enjoying the rosé, not too sweet, perfect for my liking. We were so warmly greeted by the owner (I think! She spoke of her dog just up the alley...) and she offered us a sample of all the wines (we passed on Chardonnay, not anyone's fave). I have to admit that whites in general have grown on me in the past 5 years... and I was a bit disappointed that none of the 4 available today wowed me. I was though pleasantly surprised by a red, Rosalie, it had delicate floral and peppery notes. We bought some, as well as a few bottles of the rosé, Marilys.
We strolled down the vineyard in the cloudy afternoon. Some vines were covered: the owner told us that they lost about 20% of their crop last year to birds.
It was pleasant to taste the grapes, to guess which were which. We saw no indications about type - I would love to go back as a group and ask for a more informative tour. Maybe next year? I would certainly volunteer to cut the grapes along with some wine-loving friends.