I haven’t always been a wine snob. In my undergrad days at McGill, I never went to the liquor store. I was pretty lazy, and generally only went as far as the dep down the street, where cheap bottles of wine could be bought until 11 p.m. I remember thinking, even back then, that the wine was pretty terrible. But it was either that or jello shots, and the latter required advance planning, which is not my forté.
I suppose I truly began taking notice of wines and their intriguing differences when I lived in Buenos Aires, in Argentina. I was in the land of Malbec and I LOVED it. In fact, when I came home, that was all I drank. There was something about the plummy, rich taste (and accompanying staining quality leading to the unfortunate consequence of what I affectionately call “peasant teeth”) that made me feel like I was back in the land of steak and tango. The astonishingly low prices at the LCBO were also a bonus (Fuzion was my go-to at the time).
Eventually, I grew tired of Malbec (it was pretty much all I drank for a year). A trip to France opened my horizons a bit and convinced me that I needed to try new things and maybe start spending a bit more than $7.95 a bottle. For years, I kept trying to find deals (i.e. wines that I liked for around $10). But I found that this price point still limited my trial-and-error tasting method. There just weren’t that many wines I liked for under $10, so each year I increased my price limit a bit more. These days, I still try not to spend more than $20 a bottle.
It may come as a bit of a surprise, but my personal wine turning point was actually losing my job in 2011. Winter was coming (yes, that is a Game of Thrones reference, just go with it) and I had nothing else lined up. What else was a girl to do but sign up for a wine course at the local college! It just happened to be part of one of the best wine education programs in Canada. One course led to another, and it was all downhill from there, a snowball effect of wine snobbery leading to the recent acquisition of my Sommelier Fundamentals certificate earlier this year. That’s right, people. I am now fundamentally a wine snob.
This piece of paper has proven to be pretty powerful (please pardon the alliteration). Not in any major way—it’s not like my inbox is filling with Winery Translator job opportunities (my dream job, by the way)—but people in my circles who know about my diploma now ask me all sorts of wine-related questions. Questions like:
– What wine do you pair with spicy food?
– What is a good wine to bring as a gift that makes it seem like you spent a lot of money, but you didn’t?
– Does Ontario make any good wines?
– What’s so great about French wines anyway?
None of these questions have a simple answer. And I am by no means claiming to be an expert. But I do hope to answer these types of questions here, in a way that anyone can understand, even if wine isn’t your thing. For me, the point of this blog is simply to share my love of wine, and introduce you to the fabulous range of delicious wines available at reasonable prices. All too often, we get into wine habits, such as my aforementioned Malbec obsession of 2007. I hope this blog will inspire you to break those habits and try new things, whether you are a seasoned oenophile or your idea of a fine wine is Baby Duck.
Here’s to raising a glass together soon!