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HOW TO FIND GREAT WINE

Written by eadelson on Saturday, February 6th, 2010

A few weeks ago, SAQ La Cite offered a remarkable deal: spend over $50 and receive a free bottle of Hungarian Grand Cuvee Brut. If you’re a mere student, scoring a deal of liquor is the epitome of a bargain. To me, nothing says Celebrate Good Times, Come ON like a bottle of sparking wine. It is a beverage meant for sharing, it has fewer calories than other wines, and it goes well with finger foods and seafood (my faves). The SAQ deal was a double wine for me: a bottle of sparkling vino to keep in my fridge for the right occasion and an opportunity to buy a variety of new wines.

For most students (myself included), buying a good bottle of wine is challenging. Not only are we new to the wine-drinking scene, but specifics regarding grapes, vintages and climates are often lost on us. Marketers use cute bottle labels to entice young wine drinkers, even when the product is low quality. Luckily, my room mate Paula (who spent seven months studying in Paris and traveling France) is a bonafide wine drinker  and has offered some tips for buying a good bottle. Read on:

Buy wine at the SAQ, not the Dep

SAQ sells wines from around the world with employees on hand to help you make a decision. Alternatively, the dep sells inferior wines at a tremendous markup. A low-grade dep wine that costs $10 can’t even compare to the $8 bottles at the SAQ. A variety of wines, from Cab Sauvignon to Merlot, can be found at the SAQ for under $10. Check out the sale wines at the front of the store or browse wines by region. Paula suggests that you buy two bottles of wine at a time and try both with a group of friends. Trying two wines will allow you to compare and contrast the flavours to determine what you like best. If you find a wine you like, look at the description on the back to see what flavours are used. Once you determine certain similarities, you have mastered the first step towards picking wines you are sure to enjoy.

Never stop trying new wines

Once you find a wine that strikes your fancy, it is easy to forget all others and keep going back. According to Paula, one should always have a go-to wine in a pinch, but continue trying new wines to expand your palette. There are two reasons for this: firstly, there are so many wines to try, you might find something you enjoy even more; secondly, the more wines you try, the more discriminating your palette will becoming, leading you to even better wines in the future.

Wine and Food

We all know that certain wines pair beautifully with certain foods. If you are planning on eating and drinking simultaneously, check out this chart to find a fitting wine. found at http://www.how-to-cook-gourmet.com/foodandwinepairingchart.html

Chardonnay – Shellfish, Sole/Halibut, Salmon/Tuna, Poultry, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Sauvignon Blanc – Dishes with cream sauce, Shellfish, Sole/Halibut, Poultry, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio – Shellfish, Sole/Halibut, Salmon/Tuna, Spicy food (whether beef, poultry, or fish), Poultry, Pork/Veal, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Riesling – Fruit/creamy desserts, Dishes with cream sauce, Shellfish, Sole/Halibut, Spicy food (whether beef, poultry or fish), Poultry, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Gewurztraminer Fruit/creamy desserts, Dishes with cream sauce, Sole/Halibut, Spicy food (whether beef, poultry, or fish), Poultry, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Chenin Blanc – Fruit/creamy desserts, Dishes with cream sauce, Shellfish, Sole/Halibut, Spicy food (whether beef, poultry, or fish), Poultry, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Viognier – Sole/Halibut, Salmon/Tuna, Poultry, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Champagne

Extra Dry: medium dry – Dishes with cream sauce, Shellfish, Sole/Halibut, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Brut: dry – Dishes with cream sauce, Shellfish, Sole/Halibut, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Demi Sec: slightly sweet – Fruit/Creamy desserts

Rose (typically Brut style) – Dishes with cream sauce, Shellfish, Sole/Halibut, Salmon/Tuna, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Blush Wines/Rose

White Zinfandel – Fruit/creamy desserts, Spicy food (whether beef, poultry, or fish), Poultry, Mild cheese, cream based dips

Port Wines – Chocolate, Fruit/creamy desserts, Strong chees

Red Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon – Chocolate, Game, Lamb/Duck, Beef, Strong cheese

Merlot – Game, Lamb/Duck, Beef, Strong cheese

Pinot Noir – Salmon/Tuna, Game, Lamb/Duck, Pork/Veal, Beef, Strong cheese

Syrah/Shiraz – Game, Lamb/Duck, Beef, Strong cheese

Zinfandel – Dishes with tomato sauce, Game, Lamb/Duck, Beef, Strong cheese

Sangiovese – Dishes with tomato sauce, Game, Lamb/Duck, Beef, Strong cheese

Barbera – Dishes with tomato sauce, Game, Lamb/Duck, Beef, Strong cheese

Gamay = Salmon/Tuna, Lamb/Duck, Pork/Veal, Beef

Tempranillo – Dishes with tomato sauce, Game, Lamb/Duck, Beef, Strong cheese

Malbec – Dishes with tomato sauce, Game, Lamb/Duck, Beef, Strong cheese

Carmenere – Dishes with tomato sauce, Game, Lamb/Duck, Beef, Strong cheese

Pinotage – Dishes with tomato sauce, Game, Lamb/Duck, Beef, Strong cheese

Salut!!!

Erica Adelson

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