#30in30 Version 2013 was the best yet. I loved each and every business, professional, store, artist and venue that was featured and the PRIZES were incredible! I wanted to win every single thing.
I’m incredibly happy that Natascia agreed to review her experience with Craig Pinhey – if you remember, she won the wine tasting with Craig with 6 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir sponsored by Constellation Wines!
Baby vomit. It was far from the most eloquent term and it’s not a descriptor that you’d find in a marketing campaign, but as I swirled and sniffed the mystery red wine the simile stuck in my head like the liquid’s legs to the glass.
My colleagues and I had been presented with a challenge: three wines of near-identical colour sat before us. We had to identity the type of grape used to make them, then the country in which each was grown – once for a trio of whites, then for a triplet of reds. It was the simple yet eye-opening way Rothesay-based sommelier Craig Pinhey had devised to demonstrate how a wine’s flavour is almost entirely a product of where the grapes are grown, that region’s climate, soil drainage and other natural factors — even global warming — plus some fermentation techniques.
With little to no wine knowledge among us, Pinhey had asked us to smell, swish and taste the wines and throw out descriptors in our own words. He then (very encouragingly) refashioned those descriptors into industry-grade adjectives, and explained what produced those sensory qualities. The sweet and soft one person noted? Chances are that wine’s from a warm climate. Acidic-tasting; stick-to-your-tongue feeling; yes, even the smell of baby vomit were all appropriate clues.
Or, at least, they would have been if we had any idea where to start with our guessing.
Admittedly, we did more sipping then anything else but made a solid effort at furrowing our brows and staring into the distance quizzically as if attempting to puzzle out the wines’ origins. All the while, Pinhey narrated our tasting with curious bits of sommelier trivia.
Canada, for instance, with its sprawling geography and array of climates, is the breeding ground for many types of wine. One can hardly describe a wine as Canadian; rather, a taster would pinpoint the Okanagan, Niagara or Annapolis valleys.
Ultimately, we struck out 0-2 on our grape guesses (they were sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, if you were curious) and were only mildly more successful in our country conjectures. We left the wine tasting winners, though, having benefitted from an unintimidating, hands-on, five-senses way of learning about this vast and complex field of beverages. Having never been able to pinpoint why I liked certain wines and others not, I now have some tools to make a more informed decision when staring at those vast liquor store aisles.
Special thanks to Barbara Crawford, from whose blog I won this lovely wine tasting soirée, Craig Pinhey, and Mark Ward at Constellation Brands for the wine.
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I wouldn’t have done much better on my guesses!