Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Salon des vins et spiritueux de Montreal

How do you sum up utter surprise and total enjoyment? I think that wow! will suffice.

What am I so excited about? Well, on Friday, March 28, 2008, my office, which belongs to a prominent Internet men’s lifestyle magazine, sent me and a few colleagues to the Salon des vins et spiritueux de Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This was essentially a wine show, not unlike a trade show with tons of free alcohol for those fortunate enough to have press passes – like us.

The only condition for the pleasure of going to the wine show was to accept an assignment, which entailed writing a brief review on a wine varietal of our Editor-in-Chief’s choosing. I have to say that I was somewhat discouraged upon receiving my task since I had never (I may be showing my ignorance here) heard of Gewürztraminer. After doing a bit of digging, I found that it’s largely produced in Alsace. This suited me fine since I’m a big fan of Riesling. Gasp! You can’t compare Riesling to Gewürztraminer. Well, I just did. And while I’ll agree with any enophile that the two wines are very different, you can’t deny the fact that if someone likes Riesling, they’ll likely enjoy a glass of Gewürztraminer.

Though I had just been acquainted with Gewürztraminer, I found that I had a preference for those that came from Alsace. Germany also makes a good one, and the grape is grown in other parts of the world as well, such as Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Israel. From what I can tell, and from the information that was given to me, the Gewürztraminer from Alsace is sweet and when the wine comes from Germany it is a little dryer. In general, however, Gewürz is a medium-dry wine that typically presents a bouquet of lychees, roses, passion fruit, and floral notes. It’s also perfect for fatty seafood.

A couple of my favorite labels were: Pfaffenheim Steingold, 2006; Ruhlmann Grand Cru Frankstein, 2003; and Riefle, Bonheur Exceptionnel, 2006.

So, what else did I come away with after attending the wine show? I now know what tannins are, I learned that something as simple as the soil (when all other conditions are identical) can completely change the taste of a wine, producers sometimes try to cover a bad wine with lots of oak flavors, barrels can cost about $1,000 and they’re usually good for a single use, and wine shows are a lot of fun.

Some other wines that I had the opportunity to try include:
  • Francis Ford Coppola Zinfandel, 2005
  • Francis Ford Coppola Merlot
  • Leon Beyer Gewürztraminer, 2003
  • Pfaffenheim Riesling Steinert, 2004
  • Ruhlmann Riesling Vieille Vigne – Coteau du Blettig, 2003
  • Ruhlmann Riesling Grand Cru Frankstein, 2003
  • Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc, 2005

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