Back in the CA Paradis Wine Lab at Algonquin College on Monday for New World Wine Regions. Of course, I had to make an entrance by being late, and a spectacle of myself by dropping a glass (no worries - it was EMPTY. Thank gawd.) But I can't tell you how grand it feels to be in among my fellow wine geeks enjoying the beauty of the Best Drink In The World.
The instructor, Denise Dompierre, knows her stuff. And she's serious about it. You can tell she ain't gonna take no guff from anyone, and gawd help you if you even whisper the words "Baby Duck" in her presence.
Her rapid-fire delivery of the history of Canada's wine regions had us scribbling furiously to keep up. But when the wines came out, she opened the floor to discussion, encouraging us to share our thoughts. Mind you, there's a lot of introverts in the room (me being one of them) who would rather stay silent than be wrong, so when she asked for volunteers, several pairs of eyes suddenly found the bottom of their glasses very interesting.
There is no wrong when it comes to describing a wine. (I have to keep reminding myself.) There's unconventional, there's unique, there's even a sense of "are you drinking the same wine as me??" but if you speak your mind with confidence, cover all the bases and use the proper vocabulary, then it magically becomes oh so right.
These were my favourites from the evening:
Black Prince First Crush 2004 Chardonnay (Prince Edward County, Ontario)
Clear, pale greenish-yellow. A plethora of aromas: butterscotch, honey, apricot, maple syrup. Buttery, creamy mouthfeel, with moderate acids. Toast, tropical fruit and a slight bitterness on the palate. Spicy finish.
Mission Hill 2004 Reserve Merlot (Okanagan Valley, British Columbia)
Deep, refined garnet colour. Chocolate and ripe blueberries on the nose. Exceedingly well-balanced, with a smooth mouthfeel and flavours of plum and pepper. Here's the kicker: the bottle had apparently been leaking because of a poor cork, so it had lost some of its aromas and flavours and aged too quickly. But if it's that good with a fault, I can't wait to try one unspoiled!