Wine. Can’t say I love it or really understand it but that doesn’t mean I’m not intrigued. Whenever I’m around people who know their wine, I soak up whatever information and tips they have to say. Thanks to them, I’ve come to acquire a better appreciation for wine! So when I started seeing a bunch of tweets and photos of tastings all at the same place I was eager to get more information. What’s this iYellow Wine Club (@iyellowwineclub)?
I’ll let Angela Aiello (founder) explain that:
“Welcome to the iYellow Wine Club! No matter how you want to learn about wine, iYellow can help build your wine confidence. iYellow is a place where you can taste wines from all over the world, learn about the wines you love and meet other wine lovers! The wine club plans regular events, tours and wine school classes for you to attend a la carte and you can also learn on your own on our website where we have blogs, videos and photos.”
There are a lot of options of classes and there’s even a wine trip to Tuscany happening in August! Their “Summer Wine School” sessions have already begun and with classes like “Cave Aged Cheese”, “Essential Cottage Bottles” and “Sexy Saisons & Rich Harvest Ales”, you’re bound to find something to your taste.
I was invited to go check out their “Spring Sippers” class a few months ago. I didn’t know what to expect but one thing I knew with absolute certainty was that by the end of the evening, my face would be red. Very red. Trying to locate the wine club was a bit of a struggle. Turns out the entrance was in the back of the building, not the front…
Anyways, down a flight of stairs we went which led to a very welcoming, well decorated room. I really like how it was essentially a big room but clearly divided into different sections. It allowed for some privacy to mingle and chat while still being included in the bigger group.
The SEVEN wines we enjoyed that evening:
2010 Jackson-Triggs Entourage Brut
2013 Inniskillin P3
2011 Inniskillin Reserve Series Pinot Noir
2011 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay (Vintages release July 19)
2011 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir (Vintages release March 1)
2012 Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Vintages release May 24)
2011 Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Shiraz
I thought I’d be intimidated to be in a room full of wine enthusiasts but of course that was just me being paranoid. Everyone there (almost all ladies by the way) was ready to start their weekend right and to have a great time. Angela welcomed us to her “wine cave/basement”, briefly introduced herself and how the class would progress.
My guess is that not all the iYellow Wine Club classes follow this progression but at least this’ll give you a better idea of what to expect when you go in for your first class! For us, there were to be 3 flights of wines, each flight paired with a petit amuse or bite as a suggestion for how we can pair food & wine.
What I really enjoyed is how Angela walked us through how to taste wine! It’s not just about swirling it, taking a swig, smelling the wine cork (please don’t be a cork sniffer… Seriously, what do you expect to smell from a piece of cork? It won’t tell you much if anything at all about the wine. I don’t know and highly doubt there’s any validity to sniffing the bark of a tree, but what I do know is that you look silly doing it). Rant over :D
So how does one first approach a wine? There are 5 steps:
1. SIGHT: What’s the colour? Red, white, pink/rose are basic but once you’ve established that, you can go further. Is the colour deep, vibrant, are there bubbles, how clear is it etc.
2. SWIRL: Swirling the wine in the glass serves several purposes! It not only helps to aerate the wine (to open the bouquet—the aroma of the wine) so when you go to smell it, you don’t just get a punch of the tannins and so you can check out the legs (the streaks of wine that’ll cling to the side of the glass). You’re checking out if it’s thick, thin, and how fast is travels. Long story short, the thicker and slower it travels, the higher the alcohol content.
3. SMELL: The swirling helped prep you for this step! Angela taught us to smell it twice because the first time, your nose will mostly pick up the alcohol. Go back for a second whiff and you’ll get the bouquet of the wine!
4. SIP: Now for the tasting of it! We were told to take a quick sip, sucking in air simultaneously, and let the bouquet open up in our mouths as we tilted our heads slightly forward. The head tilt—not something I’ve heard of before!
5. SAVOUR: The whole reason why you have wine in your hand in the first place, to enjoy it! :D Steps 1 to 4 are done, now time to drink.
Sébastien from Le Clos Jordanne (@ClosJordanne) introduced their wines and what makes theirs unique. The winery is situated in such a way that the grapes used for their pinot noir are right out by the lake—promoting air circulation which ultimately leads to successful and delicious pinot noirs. He also mentioned how a few hundred meters difference in location can produce a discernible variation in wine. Cool stuff!
My friend and I couldn’t stay til the end because we had to jet to a basketball game (my first one ever! Raptors vs. Knicks!).
Verdict: This was a super fun and informative class! Maybe I’m just an eager beaver but I filled out a good 10 pages of scribbly notes in the cute notepad they gave us. After the class, you’re welcome to stay, hang out, and drink MORE wine! What a great way to learn about wine in such a relaxed and non-uppity setting. The best part is that all the wines are really affordable ($20-$40) and available at LCBO. So if there was something you really enjoyed, you can easily pick up a bottle or five.
*The class was complimentary but all opinions, as always, are my own.