Anthony Gismondi: Knowledge of wine is never a bad thing

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Anthony Gismondi offers you five Viogniers that will delight your palate

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Normally, we talk about improving your wine knowledge at this time of year by suggesting that you start the fall by taking a wine course or two to deepen or deepen your wine knowledge.

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But wait, according to a new study from Wine Intelligence, a self-described UK company that specializes in consumer research and information, consumer knowledge about wine is steadily declining – but oddly enough, consumer confidence. consumers in wine remains stable,

That’s right, you remain confident in your knowledge of wine, but you no longer feel the need to be as smart as you used to be.

How do they know? Well, they asked a few basic questions to check the extent of knowledge about wine among wine drinkers in terms of grape varieties, wine origins, and brands of wine, and they found that they were decreasing over time. almost all the major wine markets in the world. At the same time, according to WI, “consumer confidence in wine – which historically correlated with knowledge – is stable and, in fact, increasing slightly in some key markets.”

Why is this happening and how will it affect the future of those who sell wine? The folks at WI explain it as “cognitive offload”. It is a term that “refers to the growing dependence of consumers on instant information resources online, rather than memorizing information for the long term.” As such, while wine knowledge is accessible, it is not necessarily retained, resulting in an overall reduction in wine knowledge retained by consumers.

The wealth of online wine information sources, easily and quickly accessed via a smartphone, allows buyers to shop with confidence, without the need to keep hard facts.

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In some ways, that’s kind of what a lot of you do every week once you’ve read this column. Recommended wines come from dozens of recent tastings and years of knowledge gained from traveling, tasting and exploring wine from us, all you need to do is walk the column and pick up a retail bottle.

Armed with this knowledge, industry leaders reacted quickly, hoping to make wine more inclusive than exclusive. However, there is a fine line between making wine more accessible and democratic, adopted by many, and demeaning the product, practiced by many.

“The wine industry has undoubtedly helped consumers feel more confident in both browsing and enjoying wine, without needing to bring encyclopedic knowledge with them,” says Lulie Halstead, CEO of Wine Intelligence . “Wine consumers are helped by the fact that many wine labels today are both visually appealing and very effective at explicitly communicating the flavors and tastes inherent in a particular brand. “

The democratization of wine is an important step in the struggle to remain competitive in the face of the myriad challenges posed by craft beer and RTDs or ready-made drinks that plague the wine market. The opposition’s rhetoric is simple: if you want to have fun and enjoy what’s in your glass, wine might not be the way to go.

My point of view, while there is no product to sell, is that wine is a different animal. I agree that we should eliminate the need for consumers to understand all facets of wine production in order to be considered connoisseurs. Yet, on the other hand, wine is a complex and vast subject that does not need to appeal to everyone.

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For now, a well-designed mobile-optimized website with layers of information would be enough for most consumers, especially those who ask me most often, “How much does it cost and where can we buy it?” “.

Clearly there is work to be done on both sides, and with fall approaching, maybe we should all go back to school.


Selection of weekend wines

Hester Creek Viognier Stone’s Throw Vineyard 2020, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

$ 19.99 I 88/100

CUP: 626990222057

Smaller berries in 2020 led to intense flavors, and the best example is this Viognier from a single vineyard grown by long-time contract growers in Oliver, the Fournier family. Stone’s Throw Vineyard is conveniently located just over 1,000 feet, next to the Black Sage Bank. The Viognier Storied Series is an exciting addition to the Hester Creek lineup, albeit at a tiny 330 cases. The wine is essentially dry at less than four grams per liter of residual sugar, but don’t be surprised by its crisp, sweet, unoaked orange notes. It is an unusual aperitif that would also be at home at the dinner table.

Church & State Wines Viognier 2018, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

$ 21.99 I 88/100

CUP: 626990363132

Church and State Viognier is primarily fermented in stainless steel to keep it fresh, with 12% French oak, barrel-fermented juice. The result is a lively style that opens with a floral aspect before flavors of peach, lime, melon and tropical fruits. Like last year, this is not a light version, nor a big heavyweight. Somewhere in the middle makes it a perfect companion for prepared seafood dishes. I expect this wine to evolve with more complexity under the guidance of new winemaker Arnaud Thierry in the years to come.

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Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2019, South Australia, Australia

$ 16.99 I 88/100

CUP: 9311789475974

Yalumba’s long history with Viognier dates back decades, fueled by the most extensive plantations of Viognier vineyards in the world. The result is the flagship offering of the new world under its Y Series label which opens with an aromatic nose of jasmine and honeysuckle. Fresh apricots, lemongrass and ginger blend vividly on the palate, revealing a complex, muddy white wine that indulges in $ 17. A vegetarian delight, you can serve it with a wide variety of salads and vegetable dishes. Superb value too.

Clos du Soleil Winemaker’s Series La Côte Vineyard Viognier 2019, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia, Canada

$ 22.90 I 90/100

CUP: 626990345015

Le Clos du Soleil owns and manages an organic farm called La Côte Vineyard. The fruit of the Keremeos upper bench is the subject of this wine. Wisely fermented in old French puncheons, it is aged on lees for five months. I like the light style, and the minerality and luminosity of the Similkameen shines through in the form of ripe orchard fruit and a full, juicy and spicy finish with barely a hint of sugar. A definite winner if you like the skinny Viognier style.

Van Westen Vineyards Viognier 2019, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

$ 25 i 90/100

CUP: 626990055747

2019 blows a new wave of apricot and jasmine. Equally impressive on the palate, with a lively attack of nectarine and Meyer lemon that refreshes each sip. Full-bodied, but with some of that mid-Okanagan acidity that captivates with its freshness. I called it extravaganza with restraint the last time around, and it’s consistent with this offer. The juice is fermented in large neutral barrels to add complexity to the texture without any woody notes. It’s fun to sip solo, but we enjoyed it with spicy tacos.

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Kabocha coconut curry created by Patrick Do of Do Chay Saigon Vegetarian.
Kabocha coconut curry created by Patrick Do of Do Chay Saigon Vegetarian. Do Chay Saigon Vegetarian

Recipe pairing: Kabocha coconut curry

This hearty vegetable dish, created by Patrick Do of Do Chay Saigon Vegetarian, fuses Japanese winter squash with sweet and savory flavors. Coconut milk adds creaminess while elements like chili powder and lemon grass layer create an unforgettable blend of flavors perfect for fall.

Kabocha coconut curry

1 C. (15 ml) vegetable oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 lemongrass stems, crushed

4 curry leaves

1 C. (5 mL) curry powder

1 C. (5 ml) paprika

1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL) chili powder

14 fl oz (414 mL) coconut milk

14 fl oz (414 mL) vegetable broth

2 cups (500 mL) kabocha cut into about 1 inch cubes (save leftover kabocha for dessert!)

1/2 daikon, cut into about 1-inch cubes

1 carrot, sliced

1 Chinese eggplant, cut into approximately 1-inch cubes

1 block of medium-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1/5 (7.5 mL) teaspoon salt

Rice or steamed bread

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, lemongrass. Heat until fragrant, then add the curry leaves, curry powder, paprika and chili powder. Mix well.

Add the kabocha, daikon and carrot to the pot and stir periodically until tender. Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the eggplant, tofu and salt. Stir and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve with rice or steamed bread. Enjoy!

For 2 to 4.

Recipe match

It’s hard to know how well you’ll make this recipe, so go for a creamy chardonnay for medium heat or less – for a spicy version, medium-dry Riesling is the ticket.

Rodney Strong Chardonnay 2018, Sonoma County, California, United States $ 22.99

Fresh citrus, red apple present on lees and tropical notes. He is ready to drink with everything.

2020 Four Shadows Riesling Classic, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $ 22.99

Ripe pear and grapefruit zest fill a juicy palate, held taut by a full-bodied grapefruit scented with apple blossoms.

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