The Grape Count

In Vino Veritas- "In Wine there is Truth"
Grapes to try to date: 200

Grapes tried: 104
Grapes to go:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

#5- Merlot

Happy Valentine's Day and happy birthday to my father as well. Pretty soon I will be heading out to celebrate the day and try yet another new wine, but first, time to write about the Merlot I tried a couple of a week ago (and a bonus for this blog as well--a second Merlot for comparison).

So it wasn't my intent to compare two Merlot wines but the timing of the Olympics made it possible. The Merlot wine I chose was a California wine from the Barefoot Winery. This winery won several awards in 2007 including Wine Brand of the Year. The Merlot grape is the most prominent grape in France and is one of the most accessible types of wine here in Canada. Practically every country in the wine making world produces a Merlot.

I had one of my closest friends Michelle over for dinner to watch our guilty pleasure, the Bachelor. We cracked open the Merlot which accompanied our pasta dinner (I'm sensing a pattern here with me and red wine...)In any case, we settled in to our evening and as you can see, Michelle was enjoying a quiet evening at my house (the couch was her best friend this evening). I have had many evenings (including last night where we had the most amazing fondue) at her house enjoying bottle after bottle of wine. Michelle and her husband Jeff appreciate and enjoy a great bottle of wine so they're great partners when experimenting with new wines.

The Merlot is a wine that I couldn't stand when I first started drinking wine. It took me many many attempts before I finally started to appreciate Merlot but now, I am usually a fan of the grape.

Drinking the wine, the first thing I noticed was house velvety smooth it was. I wanted to leave it my mouth and just enjoy the texture as the wine swirled around my mouth. Sips later, I really noticed the taste of the boysenberries. Michelle too captured the taste though we were both left guessing if anyone could actually taste the supposed chocolate flavour. But we did manage to pair this wine with an excellent brownie (and it's so true, red wine and chocolate go very well together).

When I managed to get Craig to finally try the Merlot, he sat there for a few minutes without saying much. And then out of nowhere, his blurt "berries. I can taste berries. It's good." Succinct and well said. Craig did an excellent job finishing up the bottle. We quickly gave my mother a taste but not being a fan of the merlot, she had a sip and that was it.

Being die hard Olympic couch athletes, our evening wasn't complete without trying the Jackson & Triggs official wine of the 2010 Olympics. There are two types but tonight we took on the Merlot to compare it to our Barefoot one.

The Olympic wine however, only gets the silver medal while Barefoot gets the gold. The Olympic wine tasted young and more acidic than I would have preferred. I actually found it hard to swallow at first and had to let it breathe for several more minutes before finding it acceptable to drink. Craig on the other hand had no problems drinking it right away and liked it as much as the Barefoot. But it is my blog and so I say the Barefoot wins.

And for a white wine drinker, Craig is sure doing a heck of a job putting those glasses of red wine away. Our next wine to try is a harder to find grape- the Furmint.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

#4- Gamay

So I'm a little behind on my blogging about the wines but rest assured, I haven't fallen behind on drinking the wine! Part of the delay is getting the wine to my brother for him to try and make his opinion heard. I hadn't seen him in a couple of weeks so I had a whack of wine for him to try last night during our family event which happened to be watching the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. We are proud Canadians and wouldn't miss the ceremonies for the world. But I digress.

We also drank a lot of wine, the unofficial Stevenson Olympic sport. So not only did we have to try a new wine, but Craig had to catch up on two previous wines. First up was the Gamay.

The Gamay is a less popular grape though I have no idea why. It is freaking delicious. The wine is from a Canadian winery in Penticton, British Columbia. The winery is Hillside Estate and the wine itself is a 2007 Old Vines Gamay Noir. The wine cost me about $20 to purchase at Liquor on McLeod in Spruce Grove.

Eating alone, I paired the wine with some pasta and meat sauce with a strong cheese to bring out the flavours of the wine. And boy did it. The Gamay itself is a very smooth and creamy wine. Absolutely no aftertaste. It took all of my power to leave Craig any wine at all in this bottle. I could take the fruit in the wine especially the cherries. The bottle mentions that the wine is aged in french oak barrels (which I'm not usually a fan of) but I guess the oak was subtle enough that I enjoyed the wine.

It took Craig a few minutes to decide if he liked this wine. In all likelihood because we'd had several different kinds by the time I insisted he try the Gamay. He too appreciated that there was no aftertaste to the wine. Not usually a huge fan of the red wine, he gave it an overall thumbs up.

I too give the wine a thumbs up and in all likelihood will try some more Gamay from other regions such as the Beaujolais region in France.

The next wine up to taste: Merlot!