I hardly knew anything at all about wine before I met Mike. I knew there was white wines and red wines, and that some bottles had prettier labels than others, but that was about the extent of it.
I didn’t really have much of an interest in it—probably because I didn’t know there was so much to learn—and didn’t understand the varietals.
Mike was excited to help me discover wines and to learn what my palate would enjoy. In 2013, he took me on a wine tasting tour in Prince Edward County, and by the end of it, I was really enjoying it – and was also half in the bag. I highly recommend going on a wine tasting tour; you’ll learn so much and will be pleasantly surprised with experience as well as the wines you will discover.
We tried some chardonnay at Trail Estate, two different bottlings from the same vintage and the same vineyard. One was oaked, while the other was unoaked. The difference between them was truly unbelievable! It was crazy to see how fruit from the same year, from same vineyard could taste so different. My mind was blown! Previously, my chardonnay experience was limited to choking back a bottle of Yellowtail … I liked the label and I tried it once and got hooked, but it wasn’t because of the flavour, it was because I knew where it lived in the liquor store. Remember, now – I’m the one who thought all there was to know was “white wine or red wine”.
I also discovered that not all red wines are disgusting. That might seem harsh, but I never really liked red wine. Come to find out, that was probably because I just hadn’t tasted a good one! Most of the ones I have tried since are actually really lovely and delicious. (It’s nice when you have a winemaker guiding your experience! I would never have chosen any of these wines on my own!)
I learned that red wines can be full-bodied or light-bodied, and that the lighter-bodied varieties aren’t as offensive to me. Pinot noir is so lovely, delicious, and complex, even on its own. It’s light enough that it doesn’t need to be paired with anything besides a bubble bath and a good book … but it is complimentary with a wide range of foods. I ordered a glass of red wine once with my steak (god knows what it was) and didn’t like it one bit; it was heavy, overpowering, and instead of complimenting my meal, it became the conversation piece at the table: “I hate red wine, why did I order this?” My friends and I all tried it again, talked about it, and decided all red wine was painful to drink and we would never do it again.
So, if you’ve thought to yourself “red wines just aren’t for me”, then maybe it’s the varieties that you are trying, and not red wine in general. Trust me on this – the right wine will bring you great pleasure, whether it’s red or white.
Ultimately, wine is an experience to be had, not just a drink you have with food. Be adventurous, try everything! You never know what you might discover.