Here’s a secret. I don’t like wine. So when my friend mentioned taking a LCBO Wine Tasting class,
I was intrigued. Could this class help foster a love of wine? Only one way to find out!
We signed up for Intro to Wine, at the impressively massive Summerhill LCBO.
Each session focused on a different type of wine. Reds, Whites, Sparkling Wine (Champagne!) and Fortified Wines (Port, Sherry) were covered.The classes were entertaining, and our instructor, Neal Boven was energetic and passionate about wines. He had traveled all over the world tasting wines, and was responsible for selecting wine for the LCBO to sell each season.
The classes were held in the kitchen, and had a really nice set-up. 8 glasses of wine would be set up with generous tasting amounts, with a basket of fresh bread along with spring and sparkling water. We learned all sorts of neat facts, like pinot noir (pictured below) is referred to “the heartbreak grape” by wine makers due to it’s fickle nature. Did you know that red wine get it’s colour from the grape peel? I also quickly learned that I liked wines high on the sugar scale, and did not like bitter wines at all.
the heartbreak grape
we used this worksheet to review each wine
Here’s how to properly taste wine (according to me):
1. Take a deep sniff of the wine to see what notes you can catch.
2. Vigorously swirl your wine to mix with the air and release the scents. Sniff again.
3. Drink the wine, making sure to swirl it around in your mouth so it hits your palette.
Wine has some bizarre tastes. Some are what you’d want to taste. Honey, fruit, cake, spring blossoms, ginger Others…..gasoline, wax, cream of mushroom, Nivea cream, rubber, cat urine, mold ……definitely nothing I’d ever want to taste in my wine. Or my anything, really.
The very last session was about pairing foods with wine. We weren’t able to take this session with our regular instructor, and had to beg and plead to be allowed to take our final class at a different location. The final class was a lot of fun, and we tasted cheeses and chocolates with different wines.
Taking the course was a good experience. I now know what my favourite white wine is (Vouvray Lieu Dit Les Fosses D’Harengs) and how to pick a bottle of wine like a pro! I still don’t really like it though…
If you are interested in taking a course at the LCBO, go here! (They also offer cooking classes.)
A word to the wise…the Summerhill location is a particularly good one. When we visited another location for the final class, the instructor and class wasn’t half as interesting.