Travel broadens your horizons and your appreciation for local cultures.
It also gives you the chance to sample some local tipples from across the globe, especially awesome wines from far flung places. And Tuscany’s Chianti Classico region in central Italy is no exception. This mesmerizing area produces some of the highest quality and finest tasting wines imaginable which are enjoyed and exported all over the world.
Now you could be experiencing life and wine in this European haven as Gabbiano wants to send you and a friend on the ultimate, six-night Tuscan adventure! See all that Tuscany has to offer while staying at Castello di Gabbiano’s castle surrounded by their lush vineyard.
If you’re the lucky winner of this contest (worth $6,000 CAD), you’ll get complimentary round-trip flights and transfers to Florence, six-nights accommodation at the castle, a behind-the-scenes winery tour, as well as a delicious three-course meal. Literally a dream vacay.
You don’t have to know your wines to enter either as you’ll return home feeling like a true connoisseur, well-versed in the quality of Gabbiano wines (and how nice it is to enjoy a glass over dinner). Because let’s face it, you’ll be learning from the experts.
Until then, we’ve compiled a list of five simple tips from sommelier and chef Tonia Wilson that will help you convince everyone that you’re a wine pro (even if you’re not):
- Look at the colour of the wine. Think about the depth of colour; is it deep and dark, or light and transparent? If it’s white does it have greenish or golden hues? If it’s red does it have hints of purple or rust? These will all tell you things about what style it is, its age and what grape it was made from. A little tip: as red wine ages it gets lighter in colour; as white wine ages it deepens in colour.
- Swirl the glass and bring your nose in close. First thoughts? Is it pleasing? Are the aromas bold or discreet? Does the wine smell young and fresh, does it smell like the grapes were really ripe?
- Now, think about what type of fruit you smell. Some white wine aromas you might find are apple, peach, lemon, lime and/or fresh herbs.
- If it’s a red wine you may get notes of red berries such as cherries, black currants,
blueberries, cranberries. And you could smell aromas in the wine that indicate the wine has spent some time in an oak barrel. If that’s the case, you’re likely to smell things like cedar, smoke, baking spices, and of course oak.
- Lastly, take a sip. Swish it all through your mouth, along your gums, tongue and teeth. Swallow then open your mouth slightly. What’s going on? Do you taste the same flavours you smelled? Is the flavor big and warm with lots of alcohol? Or gentle and easy to drink? Is the flavor persistent, meaning it lasts a long time, or short-lived? Is your mouth salivating after you swallow? If yes, this is a sign of good acidity in the wine, and if you’re tasting red wine try to acknowledge the effect of the tannins in your mouth. Tannins, which are found in the grape skins and oak, give the drying effect to wine. They will make your mouth pucker a little and are exactly what you are looking for in a wine that is to be paired with food.
- Now, enjoy your glass of vino!
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