A Chardonnay is just a Chardonnay, right? Aren’t all Cabernets created equally? But then again why do I like some Rieslings but not others? Most important, how do I find my favourite? Not always an easy task, as wine is perhaps one of the most complex and intimidating topics and also a highly personal aspect of the culinary world. Finding your favourite can be overwhelming and sometimes a daunting task but you can arm yourself with some basic wine speak to improve the likelihood.

 

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU LIKE TO EAT.

First thing to think about is what you normally like to eat and drink. Do you take your coffee black or do you love a double double? Soda pop or soda water? I love any-thing pickled, salt and vinegar chips and sharp vinaigrettes so it’s no surprise I love dry, highly acidic wines. Simply knowing if you like your wines sweet or dry can start you off on the right foot. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to say you like your wines with a ‘hint of sweet-ness’, if the wine is well made it will have a great level of acidity to create balance on the palate. And remember a wine is good if you like it, so sweet wine lovers unite and be proud to tell the world!

 

BE ACQUAINTED WITH DIFFERENT GRAPE VARIETIES.

No question that flavours do vary for grape varieties much like apples or pears. Yes, all apples are all apples, but yet you might have a preference for a Courtland or Delicious and maybe Mutsu, as they all have slightly different textures and flavours. In the wine world first get to know white versus red grapes and then concentrate on ‘typical’ flavours for each variety. For example, Sauvignon Blanc generally has grapefruit and gooseberry flavours while a Riesling commonly has honey and apricot notes on the nose and palate. Again, think about what you ordinarily eat and how the wine flavours compare to what you normally enjoy. Chances are you will see some similarities.

 

GET TO KNOW THE WINEMAKER.

While we can determine what grapes we generally like best, all winemakers however are not created equally. To further perplex wine drinkers, much like chefs, winemakers each have their own personality and therefore style in wine-making. Some winemakers prefer wines with oak, others without, some like bright fruity flavours, others more complex and intricate. But most excel at wines they personally love, often investing the most time and effort into wines they are passionate about. And that’s why the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake Winemakers’ Pass is the perfect opportunity to get to know your neighbourhood wine-makers and to help you find your favourite. You can use it all year-round and taste the wine that each winemaker is most proud of, one that he or she feels shows their true self, their wine personality.So get tasting, and get the lowdown on your local wines and winemakers and find the one you love! Take a bit of time to think about what you are drinking and look for similarities in both grapes and styles. Perhaps philosopher Sir Roger Scruton said it best, “Wine is not just an object of pleasure, but an object of knowledge; and the pleasure depends on the knowledge.”

You can buy your Winemakers’ Pass All Year-Round at wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com.

By: Andrea Kaiser