Tuesday, November 12, 2013

iYellow Wine Club - Sip, Chat, Learn

I love my wine. Specifically I love full, hearty reds. I know I like Cabernet, and I don't like Merlot. But I never really knew why. That is, until I attended a wine school class offered by the iYellow Wine Club here in Toronto.

iYellow Wine Club is a large community (close to 10,000 members) where you can connect with fellow wine lovers, taste wines from around the world, and learn about the wines you love. Membership is free, and members receive invitations to a variety of events throughout the year, including classes and wine tours. The class I attended was a part of their Fall curriculum, focusing on local Ontario wines. Naturally, I chose to attend one of the "red" classes, and learned all about "Romantic Red Blends."

Each class is one hour long, and registration is $45. The cost includes generous tastings of 6 wines along with light food pairings. (We had amazing cheeses on our night.) The tastings are led by experienced sommeliers, but are in no way pretentious. Our instructor reminded us that there were no right or wrong answers when it came to what we thought of the wines. Everyone's palate is different. We learned a lot, but we also had a lot of laughs and got a good giggle on. Our table was a wonderful mix of iYellow veterans and newbies, and we had a truly enjoyable evening.

What did I learn about my wine preferences? Well, Merlot grapes are grown in clay soil, with shallow roots. This results in a softer, smooth taste, with low tannins. The Cabernet grapes are grown in gravel soil, with deeper roots. This means more minerality and a more complex flavour. I knew it wasn't all in my head. 

I also learned that if an Ontario wine is labelled simply "Cabernet," then it is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. And, according to VQA rules, if a single grape is listed on a label, then the wine must contain at least 85% that grape.

Starting next week, they are offering a three week series of classes on the wines of Argentina. I love a nice Malbec, and wonder what else I might discover?

To keep up on all of their offerings, you can follow the iYellow Wine Club on Twitter, or like them on Facebook. If you are thinking of trying one of their wine tours, I suggest you head on over to visit my friend Diana at her blog Toronto Teacher Mom. She'll tell you all about her experience travelling to Niagara with them last weekend.

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I did receive free registration in a wine class for myself and a friend, so that we could experience and review the offerings. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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