Tips and Tricks for Hosting the Perfect Wine Tasting at Home

Tips and Tricks for Hosting the Perfect Wine Tasting at Home

We are thrilled to announce that our Tasting Patio is officially open! While we are excited to welcome you back to enjoy your favourite Holland Marsh wines with us at the winery, we wanted to put together a few insider tasting suggestions for those who prefer to continue tasting from home for the time being. Keep reading below for expert tasting tips, straight from the Winemaker, that will help you get the most out of your wine tasting (at home).

Pick a ThemeWhen deciding which wines to add to your tasting lineup, consider choosing a theme. Think regional, grape varietal, or vintage year—just to name a few. We recommend tasting between 4 and 6 different wines, within your chosen theme, to truly make your tasting an experience. Also, be sure to taste your driest (least amount of residual sugar), and lowest-tannin wines first as this makes the most sense for your palette.

Choose the Right Glass – If you have tasted with us or other wineries before, you most likely enjoyed your tastings from a standard tasting glass. These glasses are specifically designed to optimize the aromas and flavour notes of all wines (even sparkling). While you cannot go wrong with a tasting glass, we recommend investing in some varietal-specific glassware to take your tasting to the next level. Varietal-specific glasses are excellent tasting tools, particularly for novice tasters, as they will accentuate and optimize key attributes that are unique to each wine, even to the untrained palette.

Highlight Subtleties with Pairings One of the easiest ways to elevate your at-home tasting experience is to incorporate food pairings. When choosing your menu, it is important to consider the balance of each pairing. Meaning, that both food and wine should always compliment one another in body, acidity, and sugar content.  Likewise, neither should ever overpower the other. While these are fantastic basic guidelines to follow, when it comes down to it, every palette is different. It is important to stay loyal to your own tastes, and if that means breaking the rules a bit, then go for it!

Keep it SimpleTake the guesswork out of the equation and consider ordering a tasting box or virtual tasting package from a local winery. Many vineyards are getting creative these days—us included—at finding ways to keep the wine flowing for our loyal at-home tasters. Check out our online store for more information on our Mystery Tasting Box, complete with wines, tastings notes, and pairing suggestions. Elevate your experience by adding a cheese or charcuterie box to your order. We also highly suggest making your at-home wine tastings a weekly tradition by choosing a different winery to taste each week!

Lastly, remember that tasting is a journey. Slow down, take your time, listen to your palette, savour every sip, and (of course) enjoy!

The Perfect Dessert Pairing

The Perfect Dessert Pairing

At Holland Marsh Wineries we love to pair our delicious wines with steak, seafood, creamy pasta, and sometimes with other excellent alternative dishes like hamburgers or pizza. While our wines are great with dinner, the most exciting part of any meal is often the dessert that follows. Let’s imagine for a moment, you open your fridge after a delightful dinner and discover an unfinished bottle of our 2019 Gamay Noir (unlikely, we know –but play along). Now, you need to make sure to pick a dessert with the intensity to match that of the wines. Fortunately, we are here to tell you about one of our favourite wine and chocolate pairing options.

The 2019 Ephemere Gamay Noir captures ripe, red fruit aromas, with notes of red currant and blueberry jam. This is when the Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake makes an entrance. This delicious and notoriously tempting dessert is a must try. With fresh raspberries being in season, no taste complements them better than chocolate! These two flavours are meant to be together and the best part? It is an excellent pairing with the Gamay Noir. This is mainly because the dark chocolate making process is remarkably similar to the wine making process. Both cocoa beans and grapes are fermented using similar yeasts. Despite their similarities, wine and chocolate, once paired, very often begin to compete for superiority in taste. So, when it comes to pairing this dessert with our Gamay Noir, the crucial part is to consider the wine as an extra ingredient. The combination will enhance the taste experience and take your palate to a whole new level, creating a unique and entirely new flavour profile.

This recipe is your perfect end to a romantic dinner.

Sunshine, Wine, and Birria!

Sunshine, Wine, and Birria!

Now that the chill of winter is gone and we are starting to see a little more greenery around the vineyard, patio season pairings are certainly on our minds. Over the winter, we have been pairing one of our newest and favourite blends, the 2018 Cabernet Merlot, with hearty, deeply flavoured dishes—and it has been hitting the spot! But with all this warm weather and sunshine, we’re craving something vibrant, complex, and a little smoky with our Cab Merlot: Birria Tacos!

If you haven’t heard of this delicious traditional Mexican dish, then let us take you on a little culinary adventure…

Originating from the small town of Cocula, in the State of Jalisco, ‘Birria’ evolved over several generations from a simple family stew into a traditional celebratory dish served at special occasions and holidays. Though the word ‘Birria’ roughly translates to ‘mess’ in English—kind of fitting for tacos, wouldn’t you say? —its culinary meaning is actually: “Exquisite savory dish, full of culture and tradition.”

Today, Birria is still served in its traditional form, however, it has recently taken on a more modern connotation within the street food scene: Birria Quesatacos. The taco meat is prepared in the customary Birria method: stewed for several hours in a unique combination of herbs and spices, after which it emerges with fantastically complex flavour and is unbelievably tender. Accompanied by fresh shredded cabbage, diced onion, cilantro, cheese, and lime, this dish has “patio” written all over it.

Be forewarned: though this dish is not overly complicated to master, it is definitely not a 30-minute meal. We recommend attempting this pairing over the weekend, or when you have a day or two to spare during the week. SO worth the effort, though. Trust us.

Now, the wine!

The 2018 Cabernet Merlot boasts dark red berry fruit notes delicately intertwined with toasted cocoa, and ripe tannins. Its bold character stands up beautifully to the vibrant flavours in this recipe, helping to bring out the subtle smoky flavours and hints of sweetness.

We absolutely love this match up and we have a feeling you will too. If you happen to try it out, feel free to tag/message us on social media to let us know how it went.

We always love a good taco + wine story!

P.S. Vegetarian/Vegan Friends: We didn’t forget about you! This recipe is easily customizable by replacing the beef with jackfruit, swapping the beef stock for veggie, and by using vegan cheese (if needed). Bon Appetit!

Spring Wine Pairing with Jerk Chicken

Spring Wine Pairing with Jerk Chicken

Spring has sprung in Newmarket! We are craving bright and flavourful dishes to entice our spirits and embrace the spectacular weather to come. Before we know it, we will all be enjoying asparagus, radishes and fresh greens straight from the Holland Marsh!

These sunny spring days have us of dreaming of the beach and this Caribbean Jerk Chicken takes our palate there too. This flavourful one-pan meal has a homemade jerk seasoning that will offer comforting warmth on those cooler nights spring always throws at us. Chicken, jerk seasoning, bell peppers, coconut milk, pineapple and rice come together to create a well-rounded dish. 

Our 2018 Ephemere Vidal Blanc is our Sommelier’s top pick with this recipe! For spicier dishes like this one, we recommend a slightly sweeter wine that will complement the meal and refresh your palate rather than compete with the spice. The Vidal has a bouquet of honey and flowers with notes of peaches, apricots and honeydew. The sweeter finish of this wine allows you to fully experience the beauty of the tropical fruit characteristics – it is still wonderfully balanced with a hint of acidity. 

The 2018 Ephemere Vidal Blanc is also a fantastic choice when enjoying dessert. Finish off your meal (and wine bottle) as you enjoy a fresh rhubarb tart or keep in the Caribbean theme with a Toto Coconut Cake!

Cheers to spring, good food and great wine!

Our Wine Shop is open and we are offering tastings on the patio! Our Store Hours Tuesday-Thursday 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM and Friday - Sunday 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM - We are now Booking Tours!

You can also visit our Online Wine Store to have your wine delivered or scheduled for Patio-Side Pickup.

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