The iYellow Wine Club was launched in 2006 with a goal of making wine knowledge more accessible to everyone. Four years later, the “club” (there is no cost to become a member) has around 5000 members and is gaining new members each and everyday. The iYellow Wine Club offers members ways to learn about wine in a down to earth, fun, friendly and approachable way via social wine events, experiential wine tours, a regular e-newsletter and an online local wine store.
After noticing a demand for a more formal way to learn about wine iYellow Wine School launched their first Term in Fall 2009 with Sommelier Taylor Thompson. Classes sold out and It was a huge success – members loved the idea and iYellow Wine School was born. The interactive classes aim to be affordable and approachable, even for the most novice wine amateur. In 2010 iYellow launched 3 Wine School Terms (Winter, Spring & Fall). If you love wine, or just want/need to learn more about it, join the iYellow Wine Club to be in the know with what is going on in the wine scene, iYellow Wine School updates, Wine Store pics and all event and tour invites from Toronto’s hottest social wine club.
On June 19th, I attended the third of iYellow Wine School’s Spring Term classes entitled “Cool & Original”. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I read the description:
Cool, cool and more cool. Could we get any Cooler? Here in Ontario we get snow and have 4 seasons all year round. Some of us love it and some of us hate it. But regardless, we truly have some kick-ass wines thanks to our talented winemakers and our cool climate. Taste grape varietals that showcase our cool climate and make us proud to be Canadian regardless of how cold we get.
I am a fairly novice wine taster who believes that the best wine is the wine you like to drink (though I am game to try pretty much everything!) so I was looking forward to learning how to talk more knowledgeably about wine. In particular I was excited to try some of the cooler climate grape varietals since I am more familiar with wines from countries other than Canada. The 90 minute class took place at Four Restaurant and the $35 fee included a generous plate of foods paired with the wines we were tasting.
Above from left to right: Beef and Blue Crostini with Horseradish, Shaved Striploin and Blue Cheese Cream, Mushroom and Goats Cheese Phyllo Pastry, Mini Bison Burger with Avocado, Tomato Jam and Pepperjack, Cheese platter with Assortment of Artisanal Breads
We were provided with a tasting sheet for notes that included the proper way to taste wines.
Sight: Look at the wineSwirl: This helps to open up the wine and prepares it for you to smell
Smell: What do you smell in the glass
Sip: For the second sip, try to inhale some air to aerate the wine in your mouth. It will change what you taste
Savour: As you are drinking, ask yourself if you like the wine, what would you eat with the wine, would you buy it again, for example
Thompson led us through the wines at a fairly quick pace – we had a fairly small and quiet group, so he did most of the talking, apparently in the larger (up to 40 people) sized groups, it’s more rowdy! Thompson gave us a brief introduction to each of the 9 wineries and led us through the tasting, in some cases very rapidly. As a realtive newbie to this winetasting stuff, I would have preferred a slower pace, but the idea is not to go into great depth with the wines, just to give people an overview of how to taste and the flavours to look for. You are also provided with an “iYellow Dictionary” and some sample descriptor words to use when tasting and discussing the wine.
Top Row: Hillebrand Winery Trius Brut, Château des Charmes 2008 Aligoté Estate bottled, Rosewood Estates Winery 2008 Semillon
Middle: Rosewood Etates Winery Natalie’s Süssreserve Riesling, Château des Charmes 2008 Gamay Noir “Droit” St David’s Bench Vineyard, Coyote’s Run Estate Winery 2007 Red paw Vineyard Pinot Noir
Bottom row: Rosehall Run Vineyards 2007 Rosehall Vineyard Pinot Noir, Trius 2008 Cabernet Franc, Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery 2007 Baco Noir Reserve
There is one more class in this series, entitled “Full Figured and Graceful” which was postponed due to the G20. For details, click here.
Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher and part-time food blogger based in Toronto. Her blog, eat.live.travel.write focuses on culinary adventures both near and far because she travels as often as she can!