Grape days ahead: wine classes educate the palate
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If you’ve got learning about vino on the brain, you’re in luck — there are all manner of wine courses being offered throughout the city over the next couple of months, in a range of prices and with themes that run the gamut from yoga to dessert wines to Chardonnay and beyond…
Stretch out your palate and strike your best yoga pose as Kenaston Wine Market and Into Nature present a virtual wine and yoga event on March 25 starting at 7 p.m. (6:45 p.m. log in). The $45 (plus taxes) admission gets you access to the virtual session as well as three bottles of wine. (Those who sign up before March 22 can have their wines delivered before the event.) See wfp.to/0Bw for details.
For the not-so-flexible, or those who enjoy sweeter wines, The Pourium (942 Portage Ave., formerly known as De Luca Fine Wines) is hosting a tasting of wines with some sweetness to them at the store on April 6 at 7 p.m. The $75 admission (plus taxes) gets you a flight of sweet wines as well as some small bites to accompany; to reserve a spot, see wfp.to/0BB.
Manitoba Liquor Marts have also got some wine events on the docket. Sessions with tickets still available include a Spanish tasting on April 12, “Summer sippers of the Southern hemisphere” on April 20 and “Many shades of red” on April 26. Each of the events run from 7-9 p.m. at the Grant Park Liquor Marts location (1120 Grant Ave.) and cost $40 each plus taxes — see wfp.to/0Bt for more.
De Nardi Wines (1360 Taylor Ave.) has brought back their “Thirstday” casual wine tastings. Among the forthcoming themes are “Price Wars” (March 23), pizza and wine (April 6) and rosé wines (April 20). Prices range from $40-60 depending on the event; a charcuterie board can be added at select tastings for $15. Details and admission are at wfp.to/0BU.
The Winehouse (1600 Kenaston Blvd.) is having a Chardonnay showdown — specifically, California versus France’s Burgundy region — on April 11 at 6:45 p.m. For $45 plus taxes you get a seat at an intimate tasting featuring six wines tasted side by side as well as details on their place of origin, winemaking and more. For info and to reserve your spot see wfp.to/0B4.
Sticking with the noblest of white wine grapes, Jones & Company (1616 St. Mary’s Rd.) have a special Chardonnay promotion running all month in honour of Rebecca Lechman, a former employee who died March 29, 2020 and who was a big Chard fan. For the month of March, $5 from every Chardonnay sold (up to $5,000) will go toward an education fund for Lechman’s niece Aneska. Staff have been featuring some of their favourite Chardonnays on the Jones & Co. Instagram page at @joneswinemerchants.
And the folks at Calabria Market (139 Scurfield Blvd.) can be excused for not having much going on in the way of events at present — they’re currently in the process of expanding their food and wine shop. They’re still open for business while knocking down walls and such, and have been posting photos of the renovations on their Instagram page (@calabriamarketandwine).
Wines of the week
Hess Select 2019 Chardonnay (Monterey County, Calif. — around $24, private wine stores)
Medium gold in colour, this California Chardonnay comes from the relatively cool Monterey County region, and offers fresh tropical fruit, red apple and pear aromas as well as a hint of vanilla and brown sugar. On the dry, medium-plus bodied palate the ripe tropical fruit once again rules the roost, with bruised apple and peach showing well, the wood influence (25 per cent of the wine was aged in oak barrels) modest but noticeable and the 13.5 per cent alcohol delivering a touch of heat. Decent elegance and concentration of fruit for the price; it’s one of many Chardonnays available at Jones & Co., but is also most other private wine stores. 4/5
Casas Del Bosque 2022 Reserva Sauvignon Blanc (Casablanca Valley, Chile — $15.99, Liquor Marts and beyond)
Pale straw in colour, this young and fresh Chilean Sauvignon Blanc delivers bright grapefruit pith, herbal, lemongrass and subtle bell pepper aromas. It’s dry, light-bodied and zippy, with medium-plus acidity bringing vibrancy and tension with the fresh citrus and herbal notes before the modest, 13.5 per cent finish. Fans of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would do well to take this for a test drive. 3.5/5
Boutinot 2019 Les Coteaux Schisteux Séguret (Côtes du Rhône Villages, France — $29.99, Liquor Marts and beyond)
This Grenache-Syrah blend from the Rhône Valley is deep purple in colour, bringing ripe black cherry, wet earth, raspberry, violet and iron notes on the nose. It’s viscous and full-bodied, with ripe dark berry and cherry flavours working well with cocoa, black tea and slightly meaty notes, medium tannins and a slightly warm finish (it’s 14.5 per cent alcohol). Nice complexity and a solid balance of ripe fruit and rustic Old World charm. 4/5
Literary editor, drinks writer
Ben Sigurdson edits the Free Press books section, and also writes about wine, beer and spirits.