Learning about wine is a great experience. It leads you to try new grape varieties, buy more expensive wines to see the difference with lesser priced wines, travel to wine destinations like the Okanagan or Napa Valley, and maybe start your own wine cellar.
Winestains Wine Academy
is a new venture that has opened up in Richmond, that offers WSET training, a private wine tasting Club, and offers lockers where you can store your newly purchased bottles or cases of wine. I took WSET training many years ago. It was a great investment in time, which greatly expanded my knowledge and appreciation of wine. Winestains Wine Academy offers WSET 1 (Introduction) and WSET 2 (Intermediate) levels of training, with classes either in English or Mandarin. In a WSET class you will taste 8-10 wines on average, with the instructor talking to you about each wine, plus getting feedback from you as well. It is always interesting to hear about the aromas and flavours the instructor is able to glean from a glass of wine, and for you to then try to see if you can detect the same. The other great investment in time is belonging to a wine Club. Winestains invited me over to a private Club tasting of Ehlers Estate Wines from Napa Valley, where we sampled a flight of 5 wines. This Club, or any Club or Society, is similar to going to a WSET class. You get a flight of wines to try, and a knowledgeable person talking to you about each wine. Both courses and Clubs are excellent ways of expanding your wine knowledge.
The Club tasting of Ehlers Estate Wines took place in the 2nd floor at Winestains. It is quite a large, long room, where you could easily have a sit down event with 40 or more people. At the front of the room is a bar where the wines were poured and our speaker, Mr. Armen Khachaturian, the National Sales Director of Ehlers Estate Wines spoke about their wines. The winery is quite small, growing their own grapes on a 42 acre vineyard, and using organic and biodynamic vineyard practices. From discussions Armen indicated that they produce around 2500-3000 cases of each particular wine, which is quite small, and they sell out quite quickly. A few of their wines that I really liked are:
Ehlers Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($89) – This wine is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, together with 8% Merlot, and 7% Cab Franc. It’s translucent, medium garnet in the glass. Ripe cassis and light sausage on the nose. Dry, medium bodied, very soft with fine tannins. Very fruity with ripe cassis and cherries, together with vanilla and hints of chocolate and capsicum. Peppery finish. Rating:
- Ehlers Estate Cabernet Franc 2012 ($95) – Medium, translucent ruby+garnet colour. Chocolate and cassis nose. Medium intensity of aroma. Medium plus body, dry with medium acidity. Angular rather than round. Very fruity with flavours of cassis and chocolate with a bit of pepperiness. Vanilla and cassis on the finish. Rating:
- Ehlers Estate 1886 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($165) – Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with lesser amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot in the blend. Medium minus garnet in colour. Light intensity cassis and cherries on the nose. Medium body with lighter mouth feel, and softer tannins. It starts off with an earthiness on the palate, which quickly dissipates, leaving you with ripe dark fruit, in particular cassis, red cherries and pepper. The tannins firm up on the finish. Rating:
Where Can I Get These Wines?
We were told that Everything Wine in North Vancouver and South Surrey do carry their wines in the speciality section of the store. You can also purchase the wines through JAK Group which are a group of private stores located across the lower mainland.
Where Can I Store These Wines?
As I mentioned, once you try some wines you really like at Winestains, there may be an opportunity to buy them. If you do not have much storage at home, Winestains does have wine storage lockers. So you can buy a few cases of a wine to try over time and see how the wine evolves. You can also bring in wines from the outside. For example, if you go to the Bordeaux release, and purchase a few cases of wine. You can store these at Winestains.
Overall Winestains has something wine-related for most people. I wish them success in their venture.