Archive for September, 2018

What to do with wine you bring to – or receive at – dinner parties

September 20, 2018

We had some family and friends over for dinner last weekend, and they brought wine! That is nice, obviously, but especially for me as a wine dweeb because a lot of people seem too intimidated to do that.

I ended up serving all the wine that was brought – which wasn’t what I would normally do — and that made me think the topic might be good for a blog.

When receiving wine from guests, I think there are a couple of options. If you already have wine planned for the evening, you of course don’t have to open the guest’s wine. Unless they ask you to – which is what happened to us on the weekend (as they had been to a new winery and wanted us to taste the wines).

Another reason to open it is just to help make sure you have enough for the dinner party! Depending on the number of guests, it can get a bit crazy – and expensive – to be providing all the wine.

The main reason not to open a wine is if it is for your cellar/to keep. How do you know that? Well, your guest may tell you…or you may be able to figure it out yourself (I previously was given a 2014 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon…it would have been nice at dinner, but will be even better in about 10 years!).

And if you bring wine…what should you expect from the hosts? That’s actually the tougher question for me.

I have come to judge it by the person I am bringing it to. If I know they are a fellow wine dweeb, I will ask in advance – do you want it for dinner or can I bring you something for your cellar?

If I don’t know them, I usually bring something that is good value but which I have had before. That way I won’t be disappointed if the don’t open it, and I know they will like it when they do!

I learned that approach after a couple of years of bringing a wine from my cellar that I wanted to try…and then not getting a chance to taste it!

Bottom line on bringing wine is always bring something you would be happy to drink yourself!

I hope all this helps!

SB

www.sbwinesite.com

Wine Tastings and Wine Dinners – a Few Tips

September 13, 2018

Fall is a great time for many reasons, and wine is one of them! A return to red wines is a must, as is the hearty food that shows them off so well.

It can also mean more wine events, including tastings and wine dinners. I had the good fortunate to attend one of both this week and found a few “bugaboos” at each I thought I would share…they might increase you enjoyment at such events (and limit how much you annoy others!).

Wine Tastings

Select your wine and move on

This has to be my biggest pet peeve! People ask for a one from the rep and then just stand there, either tasting it or talking to the rep, while the line waits behind them! The unwritten rule – maybe it should be written – is get your wine, ask a quick question, and then move on so others can taste.

Spit don’t drink

If you are planning to taste more than a couple of wines, I strongly advise you to spit. Some people think its gross, but it isn’t – in fact, winemakers see it as as sign of respect. And its easy to do. If you don’t, you could end up getting drunk or worse (i.e. getting sick or falling down on someone…).

White then red…not back and forth

At most tastings, the red wine are young, which can mean at least some are tannic. That tends to coat the palate, making it harder to taste other wines. It can also make it almost impossible to taste more delicate white wines.

So have a plan…white before red works well. Same as with sweet wines, by the way…save them till the end or it could ruin any dry wines you go back on.

Wine Dinners

I won’t get into basic social niceties here…although they can definitely play a role (especially the more you drink!). But here are a couple of wine suggestions.

Drink the wines in order

There is a reason the wines are paired the way they are – they are supposed to go with certain dishes, and also not upstage the wines to come. If you jump around, it often impacts your enjoyment of both the food and the wine.

You don’t have to finish all the wine

If you are having 5 or 6 courses, the quantity of wine can add up quickly! So don’t feel like you have to finish each glass…it can end up making you tipsy before you get to the end of the meal!

Save a little in each glass to taste later

Depending on the wines, its also interesting to come back and taste them later. Young wines, in particular, soften up with exposure to air, and can end up tasting remarkable different – and better – after even 30 minutes sitting there!

So there you go…a few tips to help you through Fall!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

 

Reflections on Summer 2018

September 6, 2018

Well, I’m back…both from summer and from spring (judging from the last time I wrote a blog!).

Lets start out with some reflections from the summer of 2018!

  1. Rose is good, but it needs to be cheap – we were fortunate enough to spend some time in France in June, and while it wasn’t stinking hot yet, it was hot enough that Rose was the wine of choice! And that was fine, since it was available for cheap – like 3 – 4 euros a bottle in the store! So when we got back and I couldn’t find it for less than about $15 a bottle plus tax…ouch!

2. Rhone style whites are better than I remember – Over the years, I have been off Rhone white wines. My memory was a lot of acidic, resiny wines. But in the south of France I tasted some super fresh blends, and found that when I got home they were the same!

3. You can still drink red wine  in the heat – Also in France, I was tasting big reds – Hermitage, Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas – and even though the temperature was in the 80’s, I had no problem at all, including with having them at lunch and dinner!

4. Pinot Noir and Syrah are the best BC reds – I also got up to the Okanagan this summer, and tasted at some of my favourite wineries (as well as some new ones). And it confirmed what I already knew – Syrah and Pinot Noir are the best red wines in BC! Minimal oak, lots of fruit, great ageability! Oh, and by the way – La Frenz is still the best winery in BC by a country mile!

5. Wine prices are still too high at home – Last but not least – surprise – is that wine prices at home are still way to high. I was able to buy some Gigondas in Gigondas that was rated 95+ points for 14 euros…wine that when I can get it here is over $40 a bottle! That is crazy…if I lived in France, my cellar would be crazy good for half the price!

Here comes fall…stay tuned for more!

SB

 

http://www.sbwinesite.com