We’ll be needing all these glasses, thanks. Photo by tinou bao.
There can be few pleasures as simple as splitting a bottle of wine with friends. It’s difficult to pinpoint the source of the romanticism, but it could be the systematic pouring from the bottle, the rhythmic swirling of the wine, or the life implicit in something that has to breathe. At the same time, wine can be damn intimidating. There are people who babble on about the 2003 this and how the shiraz from this region just simply can’t compare to the one from that region.
Enjoying wines shouldn’t involve snobbery, says Craig De Blois, a spokesperson for the Lifford Wine Agency, which is holding its annual Grand Tasting tomorrow at the Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District. “I’ve been in the wine industry for six years, and I’m still learning,” he says. “There’s so much to learn about wines that no one should be a snob about it.”
Wine agencies are an alternative to buying wines at the LCBO, and De Blois says it is a legal way to access a wider range of wines. More than seven-tenths of available wines, he says, are not sold through the LCBO, so it’s a neat way to serve or give something less expected. Only caveat? You have to purchase a case and it has to be delivered to your door.
Knowing which wine to pick up is obviously important. A variety of homegrown sites have sprung up on the web to educate and raise awareness. WineAlign, for one, compiles user and critic ratings for wines available for purchase in Ontario. (It also helps to keep experimenting. We recently found local site Cooking With Booze, and we had thought our love affair with alcohol had already reached its zenith.)
A tasting is another way to improve your wine IQ. De Blois promises an “anti-snobbery” atmosphere at the event, which brings together seventy-five suppliers and more than 200 wines. At the event, attendees range from wine neophytes to oenophiles, and there will be people on-hand to answer your questions about why everyone raves about pinot noir and why Sideways did a disservice dissing merlots.
Of course, there’s nothing like a $150 price tag to dampen your buzz; it’s not the most economical Wednesday night’s entertainment in this climate. (If it helps, the Grand Tasting raises funds for the Delisle Youth Services.) De Blois counters that there’s the opportunity to try a variety of wines that buying a bottle of would be expensive: “It’s a chance to try a $200 bottle of wine.” In addition to wine, there will be a selection of fine cheeses and food. “I shouldn’t tell you this,” he jokes, “but it’s kind of all-you-can-eat.”