Appies, dinner & dessert – a fairly standard order. There’s also a “recommended” wine tasting order: whites before reds, lighter before fuller-bodied and sweeter dessert or late harvest wines last. Makes sense, right? Sure – but that doesn’t mean it has to happen that way. As for talking about wine, well, I’m going to make you wait until the end of the blog-meal before I serve up the (lighter) special treat. Because I can.
Wine tasting is something I recommend you do with a buddy, friend or random stranger you meet outsideÂ the tasting room. You know what I’m talking about: you’re on the tasting circuit and realize you’re following or being followed by that sylish couple with the cool glasses or the gentleman that likes to talk to himself. It’s inevitable.
Where was I? Right – tasting with friends.
My fella likes to dip into the wine with me, but sometimes I like to bring along aÂ friend who has a)Â different knowledge than me, b) a few spare hours and c) a good sense of humour because my descriptors aren’t standard WSETÂ lingo (as you might have guessed by now). One of the friends I like to taste wines with is Luke,Â the empire builder from an earlier wineopoly post.
Luke joined me for some tasting the other night; here’s an sample of how it went.
Me: Deep hole earth.
Luke: Hmmm, really?
Me: It’s like I’m in a big hole and it smells like earth from deep down.
Luke: That’s interesting.
See what I mean? There was some cursing involved (in a good way – sometimes descriptors need a bit of oomph), discussionÂ about cropping and yield per acre (on Luke’s part – I sat and listened) and talk of good barnyard smell versus bad barnyard smell. On the whole, I learnedÂ (as usual) a bit from Luke and heÂ (I’m sure)Â got a good laugh. Deep hole earth says it all.
I tried my first BCÂ Zweigelt, from ArrowleafÂ in Lake Country. A long, deep inhale on this baby took me to carnivals and cotton candy. That’s right – cotton candy. But it’s a spicy little grape, and on shorter sniffs I could have been walking past the spice aisle in a grocery store. I fell in love with zweigeltÂ (say it like svy-gelt) in Ontario’s Niagara Region, and I’m happy that BC wineries are producing it too. This one’s a bit more cherryish than peppery, and it looks like purple, velvet curtains. Very cool.
On the docket was a Merlot from Twisted TreeÂ in Osoyoos – and damn it’s a nice looking bottle! Seriously folks, the bottle itselfÂ has presence, and is pretty sexy.Â When I think BC merlot, I think dark and sexy.Â This is the wine that made me think deep hole earth. It also made me think of rich liquors and cassis, and blackberry porter (yes, I drink beer too). Get your hands on a bucket of overripe blackberries and some deep hole earth and you’ve got this merlot. I warned you that I wouldn’tÂ use wine-speak.
It’s time for dessert. Not that this wine tasted like dessert – it’s just that it’s the bomb, the bee’s knees, the freakin’ stellar event of our wine tasting night. It’s the Pinot Noir from Howling BluffÂ on the Naramata bench. Two words: rainy day.Â A whiff of this little gem was like walking on a sidewalk afterÂ a summer rain, when the stones and groundÂ are still wet and everything’s got that clean-rain-smell. The more we sniffed and slurped, the more we oohed and aahed over it. Simple tasting, like chocolate and cherries and summer, but with that fantastic rainy day smell. Perfect.
It’s nice to enjoy a glass (or two) of wine by yourself – I’ve been known to do that myself on occasion. Don’t look in ourÂ recycle bin.Â But it’s way more fun when you’ve got some friends with you and you’re just drinking and chatting. That’s when things like deep hole earth happen. And there’s nothing more un*wine*d than that.