Posts Tagged ‘spitting’

SOME TIPS ON VISITING WINERIES DURING HARVEST SEASON

September 28, 2016

It’s Fall, and many people will be visiting wine country for festivals and to taste wines! So here are a few tips before you go…and some recommendations on where to go if you are visiting wineries in BC.

1. Remember it is harvest season – seems simple, but it is important…as much as wineries welcome you at this time of year, they are also getting ready – or even starting – to harvest this year’s vintage! That makes it very busy and stressful at all wineries. Keep that in mind if you get the sense your hosts have other things on their minds!

2. Fewer is better – whether it is the number of wineries or wines (or both), go for quality, not quality. No matter how good a taster you are, “palate fatigue” can set in pretty quickly. So pick the wineries you want to see in advance, and even the specific wines you want to taste. That will lead to a better experience.

3. Spit if you can – I know some people think it is gross, but spitting will really help you taste better – and more – wines. All wineries will have spittoons, and those leading tastings will actually be thankful if you spit.

4. Only buy if you really want to – unless you have unlimited resources, it’s okay to be choosey what you buy (if anything). Wineries won’t be insulted, particularly these days as most of them charge a tasting fee anyway. If you like it and can afford it, then buy it. Otherwise, don’t worry about it!

5. Taste and move on – finally, whether you are visiting wineries or going to a big tasting, don’t linger in the tasting line! Taste, maybe ask a question, but then move…you can always come back to taste more wines. One of the things that drives me and many “winos” crazy is people who just stand there for 10 or more minutes talking to the host or each other. That just backs up the line and gets people mad. So move it!

And as for tasting here in BC? Here is a short list of wineries to visit (or whose wines to taste) from our main regions:

1. Penticton/Naramata – La Frenz, Howling Bluff, Nichol, Marichel, Kettle Valley, Moraine
2. Similkameen – Eau Vivre, Orofino
3. Okanagan Falls – Blue Mountain
4. Southern Okanagan – Burrowing Owl, Nk Mip, Quinta Ferreira, Church & State, Moon Curser
5. Vancouver Island – Averill Creek, Rocky Creek, Vignetti Zanatta
6. Fraser Valley – Mt. Lehman, Vista d’Oro, Domaine de Chaberton

Enjoy the Fall!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

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5 Things to Focus on at 2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival

February 23, 2016

Can’t believe it is here again…the 2016 Vancouver International Wine Festival!

Italy is the host country this year, and they have pulled out all the stops. But with so many wines available to taste, what should your focus be? Here are 5 ideas (both Italy and beyond):

1. Barolo

I love Piedmont’s biggest wine, but it has become stupidly expensive, with most bottles over $60 (and I mean well over). But the Wine Festival provides a relatively cheap way to taste a dozen or more Barolos! Look for great producers like Damilano, Cesare, Conterno, Vietti. The only caveat — they are all young and will probably be very tannic…so watch out for a bad case of purple tongue!

2. Brunello di Montalcino

Same advice regarding Tuscany’s big red wine! There are numerous producers pouring 10 or more wines, and you can look for wineries like Argiano, Marchesi and San Polino. Brunellos tend to be not quite as tannic, so a little easier to enjoy young!

3. BC Wineries

I can’t leave out my homies…at least a couple of BC wineries warrant some attention, with Averill Creek leading the way! Andy is famous for his Pinot Noirs, but don’t miss his Pinot Gris as well. Burrowing Owl doesn’t have their Syrah, but try their Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc…a bit “Bordeaux like” for me, but nice wines. Finally,
Quails Gate makes nice — if expensive — Cali style Pinot Noir.

4. California

Not a lot of wineries this year, but some of the biggies are here. Mondavi, Beringer, Signorello, Seghesio…all are worth checking out.

5. France

Even fewer from France, but one of my favourite wineries is back…Famille Perrin, which makes Chateau de Beaucastel (which they are pouring, along with their Coudoulet and Vacqueyras). Definitely worth a trip!

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com

WINE TASTING DO’S AND DON’TS

May 28, 2014

With the May long weekend now come and gone, many of us will be heading off to wine country in the next few months to check out our favourite wineries and their new releases.

But before you do, a few tips that will help you make the most of the experience!

The main one is to have at least a general strategy for your day (or days). By that, I mean:
• Are you going to a few specific wineries or just cruising? – This is important because not all wineries are open on the same days, or at all! The last thing you want is to plan your trip around certain destinations, only to turn up and find they are not open. A quick look at the winery’s website can avoid this problem.
• Are you looking to taste/buy specific wines, or just what is available? – The same argument applies here, but even more so! Many wineries don’t pour their best wines, both because they are the most expensive, and made in the lowest quantities. Also, what is available is often driven by the time of year. Early spring is great for newly released white wines, but don’t expect new reds – they come out later in the summer! Again, a quick check of the website (or a phone call) can help.
• Are you going to drink or spit? – No, this is not a disgusting question. If you plan to visit a number of wineries – and taste many of their wines – you should plan on spitting for a couple of reasons. First off, if you don’t, you will need a designated driver! It doesn’t take very long before those “little glasses of wine” build up and make you unsafe to drive. As well, the more you drink, the less you will be able to actually taste. A “drunk” wine taster doesn’t have a lot of skill!

Okay, so you have your strategy. But now you are at the first winery, and there are a range of wines to taste. What do you do?

Well, this is the easier part – taste what you want to taste!

The great thing about tasting at wineries is that you are in control of what you want to taste, particularly since you are probably paying a nominal fee to do so anyway. So don’t feel obligated to taste everything, or the style of wines you don’t like.

You should, however, taste whites before reds (if you are doing both). If you do the opposite, your taste buds may get overwhelmed, making it impossible to taste the more delicate white wines. And leave any sweet wines to the end. The extra sugar will make it very hard to go back to red or white wines!

Finally, what about any expectations about buying a bottle or two? People often ask me that, saying they feel guilty if they don’t buy after tasting. And, to be honest, I experience that as well.

But the best thing to do is – get over it! You know what you like (and don’t like) and what you think is worth buying (and not). Don’t be swayed by guilt or anything else to buy something you don’t want to buy.

The wineries don’t mind, by the way. The cost of the tastings – and the wines involved – is all factored into the overhead of the winery and, ultimately, the cost of the wine. While they certainly appreciate purchases, they will also not be insulted if you don’t buy anything.

Last, but not least, is the most important tip – have fun! Don’t be intimidated by “wine speak” or any “wine snobs”. Wine is supposed to be fun, and wine tasting even more fun. Taste as much as you like, buy if you want, but just have a good time.

Otherwise, why are you there in the first place?

SB

http://www.sbwinesite.com