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Learning about wine
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:32 am    Post subject: Learning about wine Reply with quote

Clotilde has stated she is teaching herself about wine. We all know attending tastings is the most fun and the best way to learn. There are also plenty of books out there to help and I suggest the book Sniff, Swirl and Slurp by Max Allen. It is an excellent introduction into wine. It is a fun, easy to read practical guide. Does anyone else have any recommendations?

The Wine Spectator column "What are we drinking" is also a great learning tool.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like this would make an excellent addition as a permanent topic under foods, don't you think?

Personally, (and heresy!!!) I don't care a bit about wine (nor most alcohol). But it's very important to almost everyone who enjoys their food so it seems like a natural!
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SWISS_CHEF



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Switzerland

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rainey,
I love wine....really, really love wine! I have loved it for over 20 years, but I made a big mistake in my opinion. I got way too deep into the academics of it and lost it's true purpose. My advice is to have fun with it, match it with food and don't get too caught up in it. Nothing is more boring than sitting at a table of wine geeks talking about wine trivia. Treat it like an ingredient, not like it's more important than the whole meal.


emcgaugh
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I couldn't agree more Swiss Chef. There is nothing worse than when someone starts talking about bud burst and brix when all you really want to say is "God this savvy is good", and get on with the eating.
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Barbara
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I claim no knowledge of wine but enjoy sampling immensely. It is an whole other world. It never fails to amaze me where and what kinds of wines are made. I first got a taste for red wines when living in Australia, home of many a fine bottle and still return to them consistently. Recently however we took a golf/wine trip to Canada's Okanagan Valley and were astounded by some of the product there (okay we brought back 11 cases). Sadly protectionism is a part of life so many of the fine British Columbian wines don't make it to Ontario in order to keep the market open for Southern Ontario wines.


Sniff, Swirl and Slurp is available in Canada for 24.95 and the U.S. for 19.95. Thanks for the tip!
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cucina testa rossa



Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 9
Location: San Francisco & Paris

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

when i was in cooking school i took a wine class with andrea immer, master sommelier - http://www.andreaimmer.com/. she is an amazing teacher - she makes it fun, easy and unintimidating. her book is the best i've ever read: Great Wine Made Simple. it discusses the 6 main varietals which is about 80% of all wine. she also has a food and wine pairing book called Great Tastes Made Simple which is also excellent and once again easy, fun and useful! cheers!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David, the Okanagan is so wonderful! We made a wineries tour a few years ago too. I was impressed (even as a Californian) at how much vineyard there is up there now. Though I've heard they're beginning to re-convert some of it back to orchard. Perhaps that has something to do with that protectionism and overproduction... I can't believe BC wines don't make it east!

I hope you've got some ice wine in your new collection. We've got a bottle we've never opened since we drink soooo little and can't bear to waste a whole bottle to a few tastes. But it sounds so delicious and has such an interesting story.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey, even as a Canadian it was a complete surprise how good the wines in the Okanagan were. Canadians have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to our wine products and historically it was well deserved! But the last 20 years has seen a huge improvement in B.C. and Ontario wines. In Ontario we get maybe 4 or 5 B.C wineries and only a few varieties from each. Hectares of Ontaio wines though!

Ah yes, Ice Wine! We have a few bottles at home for special occasions, just the half litre ones, and they keep well refrigerated even after opening. An older retired friend of mine is on call in Niagara on the Lake to hit the vinyards to pick the frozen grapes. It's quite the communal chore down there. All our ice wines are Ontarian.
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David - I've heard a lot about Inniskillin ice wine. The New Zealand wine tasting group (Women in Wine) organised an Inniskillin tasting in 2004. I was on holiday in Europe at the time and missed it...to my disappointment. Inniskillin is on my list of "places I must visit someday" so I'm looking forward to trying them sometime.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure you will be delighted Barbara, but not as delighted as I am about some of the remarkable sauvignon-blancs coming out of your neck of the woods!
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a university student in Europe one summer, I was exposed to good wine and began to be aware of food-wine pairings. Several years later I decided to learn about wine in the context of its integration into a meal rather than just as a pleasant beverage on its own. I went to a local large wine store with a knowledgeable staff and started asking questions, with a specific menu in hand and a price range in mind. I still do this sometimes.

I usually buy 2 of the wines that are recommended, or one that's familiar and a similar one that I've not tried before. We open both bottles with dinner for purposes of comparison, and I keep notes. Reading back over notes from a few years ago and comparing to the wines I'm drinking now, I can see how my taste has changed as my knowledge has grown.

Without doubt, finding knowledgeable shop staff speeded up my learning curve, helped me avoid nasty wine with good propaganda on the label, and saved me quite a bit of money. But I've also discovered there are some wines that don't appeal to my personal taste no matter how popular they are. I've also learned that there are plenty of decent wines in the $10-15 US price range, and high price is no guarantee that I'll prefer that wine to a more modestly priced one. The most important thing is to discover the flavors and characteristics of wines that taste good to *you!*
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MarkC



Joined: 12 Jan 2005
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the most enjoyable and informative books about wines of the world is Jay Mcinerney's book "Bacchus and Me". He is a successful novelist (Bright Lights, Big City) who later became a wine writer. He does not take himself at all seriously, completely dispenses with the usual lectures about winetasting, and instead writes a series of articles about different wines and wine regions. He is a wonderful writer, and is often hysterically funny. You will learn a lot about wine, and how to enjoy it, from this book.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David and Rainey,

I agree about the Okanagan, quite a nice suprise. I am not a huge fan of the sweet wines but my I have bought several bottles of Innskill to have on hand at dinner parties. I found a particularly nice pinot gris there a few years ago. I am now kicking myself, I had to give my last bottle as an emergency hostess gift.
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JustMe



Joined: 13 Apr 2005
Posts: 213
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:25 pm    Post subject: Food and Wine Pairing Reply with quote

I would like to resurrect this forum...for a selfish reason....

My husband & I have been invited to a wine tasting supper at the end of May. There will be 4 couples there and each couple has been asked to bring 2 different bottles of wine: to match the course that has been designated theirs. We are to research the best wine pairing for that course. We will all rate the selections and how well they matched the food they were presented with. The couple whose selection is rated the highest wins...drum roll please...a bottle of wine. (trust me....it will be a good bottle of wine)

Our course is the main course which consists of Curried Leg of Lamb with Sugar Snap Peas and Rosemary Baby Potatoes.

I know for sure that 6 of the 8 people prefer red wine. Now if it was a roast leg of lamb then my choice would be a medium to full bodied red. However, the curry throws a whole other dimension in there. I was contemplating coming up with one bottle of red and one of white because white seems a better choice for curry. (By the way...there is yogurt in the curry). I have searched the internet but so far haven't come up with anything decisive.

Any suggestions????
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, yeah, that curry really throws a spanner in the works doesn't it! I've generally found that red wine and curry makes for a nasty after taste, though there may well be a red to match it. I tend to go for something like a sauvignon blanc for spicy dishes, but then curried leg of lamb would be more curry flavour than spicy I suppose! Hope those better educated in this realm than I can help JustMe!
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