Dolcetto in the Streets, Shiraz in the Sheets: A Threesome Blind Tasting

With World Cup 2018 finally under way, a lot has been put to the test both on the field and outside of it. The underdogs are ploughing their way through the group stage, bringing fame to their name, which is, as a result, sparking up extra interest for this beautiful game called football. The blind tasting held at Praelum Wine Bistro pulled a similar parallel with three “teams”– France, Italy and South Africa – fighting for the jewel in the crown.

As with many competitions, there are a lot of theories surrounding them. Some of them are utter bollocks, others prove a point. If you’re in this trade, you’re probably familiar with that guy you meet a house party and his classic line – “I saw this video on Youtube where experts couldn’t recognize the difference between a cheap and expensive wine. SO WINE TASTING IS BULLSHIT FOR SNOBS!!1” I never understood why people are so aggressive when it comes to wine. Yes, there is a lot of snobbery in our circles, but there is way more fun and never-ending room for discussion. The ultimate validation for that is a spot on blind tasting held on a hot, sunny afternoon with 20 people coming together from all spheres of life and engaging in a fun activity. Reasons are different. I met this guy who works as an accountant and is part of a French tasting group. He came to refresh his memory of Bordeaux. Another gentleman was from a logistics team who came to meet people of similar interests and support his favourite wine bar. I came to practice my detection skills for the final WSET Diploma exam coming up in a few months. Tasted nine wines, got six right (we had to guess the country). Below are my notes and a more detailed explanation on the process of this particular blind tasting. Continue reading “Dolcetto in the Streets, Shiraz in the Sheets: A Threesome Blind Tasting”

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Why the Hell Did the French Start Listing Grape Varieties on Labels?

Appellation d’origine contrôlée…ah, the hate-love relationship we all have with this beautiful, yet aggravating appellation system. The French always used long-ass terms to describe where their wine came from and what it was, still telling you nothing until you actually try it and do your research. And on top of all this, guess what they love to say to this? Well, only a true expert can feel the wine before opening it, that’s where the real magic lies. WHAT? You’re telling me that every single person out there that just wants to buy a nice bottle of Bordeaux (blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot and Cab Franc btw) and drown his everyday sorrows in alcohol needs to FIND THE MAGIC? That’s like telling a homeless person that his first million is just around the corner, but he just has to figure out how to stop drinking from AIDS-infected milk cartons, get out of the dumpster and start a cooking show. Continue reading “Why the Hell Did the French Start Listing Grape Varieties on Labels?”

Riesling: The King of Everything

What a way to start the epic Guzzling Grapes challenge! Riesling is the greatest grape ever to be planted on this earth. There, I said it, straightforward. I don’t want to sugar-coat with words like probably, one of the, amongst the, etc. I simply have confidence with this one. You don’t have anything to eat with your wine? No problem, grab a Riesling. You want a crunching refreshment for the summer? No problem, grab a Riesling. You want to pair it with arugula salad, jalapeno peppers or apple tart? No problem, man, grab a Riesling.

Before I go on with all the pros (the cons are kept to a minimum), let’s get one thing straight. Riesling is not an essentially sweet wine. Yes, some of the German specimens can have a bit of residual sugar, but that’s ok. Continue reading “Riesling: The King of Everything”