Food

Selecting The Right Wine

Thursday, July 13, 2017

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Last week Saturday, I hosted another of my Introduction to Wine classes. The first 90-120 minutes laid the foundation of understanding the world of wine and answered the most pressing questions. We then spent the second 90 minutes tasting between six to eight wines covering all the major varietals, namely Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. For this class we introduced two wines from Croatia: the Ilocki Podrumi Traminac Select, which is a very aromatic, crispy and fresh fruit-forward dry white wine, and the award-winning red Vina Laguna Terra Rossa 2015. Decanter Magazine recently selected the Terra Rossa among the 25 recommendations of the world's red wines for daily summer enjoyment for 25 or less.

How to select the right wine

The packed room all had very similar expectations of what they wanted to hear, while a few came to have a fun afternoon tasting wine. Many had very specific questions for which they wanted answers, including: what is the correct serving temperature and how does one get wine and food pairings right? The most popular question, however, was how to always choose the wine that they will like.

We poured Riesling with cream of pumpkin soup, Sauvignon Blanc with the tuna tartar bruschetta and Chardonnay with crispy fried fish cake with a papaya mango salsa.

Know the style of wine that you like

The key to always making the correct choice is to first understand the primary styles of wines available on the market and then to figure which category you like the most. Some industry experts have said that ALL wines fit into the following five categories: (1) sweet or slightly sweet wines; (2) dry, light-bodied white wines with little or no oak (3) dry, medium to full-bodied white wines with oak; (4) light-bodied, low-tannin red wines; and (5) medium to full-bodied red wines. Many believe that sparkling wines deserve their own category, but the jury is still out. For all our Wine 101 events, we ensure we have at least one wine from every category. Our wine sponsors for the event were Caribbean Producers Jamaica (CPJ) and Croatian Wines and Products Ltd (Crowines). Our venue sponsors, the Courtleigh Hotel & Suites, prepared tasty small bites to allow attendees to experience wine and food pairings.

In the category of sweet or slightly sweet wines, we offered CPJ's Wente Riesling. This Riesling taste is bright and fresh, showcasing flavours of honeydew and mango.

For lovers of dry, light-bodied white wines with little or no oak, we offered CPJ's Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc. This Sauvignon Blanc is elegant, round and mouth-filling balanced by crisp acidity. In this category the Crowines Iloki Podrumi Traminac Select might have straddled both categories above.

Those with a preference for dry, medium to full bodied white wines with oak were offered CPJ's Fetzer Chardonnay. This crisp, medium-bodied wine has flavours of citrus, baked apples, melon and pear with a wonderfully lingering finish.

Lovers of light-bodied, low-tannin red wines enjoyed CPJ's Hob Nob Pinot Noir which is light to medium-bodied with soft tannins, to create a smooth, rich texture.

Finally, for the medium to full-bodied red set, we poured CPJ's Fetzer Merlot with flavours of black cherries, plums, caramel and toffee. Crowines medium-bodied Vina Laguna Terra Rossa also fit into this category: it is a blend of Merlot, local Croatian grapes Borgonja and Teran. It exhibits spiced red and black fruit which results in a refreshing and juicy taste. The full-bodied wine for the tasting was CPJ's Trapiche Oak Cask Cabernet Sauvignon, which is dark red in colour and displays aromas of cherries, plums and licorice. The palate is fresh and clean, with depth and ripe, slightly oaked flavours of cassis, blackberry, and chocolate.

Once you figure out the styles you like, you will always be able to select a wine that you like.

Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord

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