What are the hottest wine trends right now? What’s the difference between natural wine and orange wine? Are new drinks like blue wine and Pinot Freezio here to stay? How does canned wine hold up to its bottled counterparts? Why has Rosé been able to move from fad to mainstream?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Darren Oleksyn, journalist and author of Uncorked: The Definitive Guide to Alberta’s Best Wines Under $25.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
How can you differentiate between natural wine and orange wine?
Why does orange wine help you to appreciate white wine?
What similarities might you pick up between orange wine and craft beer
How did natural wine get its start?
How can you be a part of the natural wine community?
What are qvevri and what do you need to know about orange wine’s connection to Georgia?
Why should you consider blue wine as more of a marketing fad than a wine trend?
What main ingredients can you find in wine?
Why does Darren think you should have more information about what’s in your wine?
How would serving size suggestions on labels benefit you as a wine drinker?
Why do I prefer to buy wine with 13.5% alcohol or less?
Which canned wine should you try?
What wine trends should you keep an eye out for?
Why is natural yeast sometimes trickier to work with than industrial yeast?
Should you feel guilty about adding an ice cube to your wine?
How has the mainstream discovery of Provence Rosé contributed to its upswing in popularity?
Are you likely to encounter fall-related wine trends when the seasons change?
What does the increasing number of appellations and sub-appellations signal to you about the Canadian wine industry?
How do region descriptors on wine labels help you as a consumer?
Are wines from Eastern and Central Europe gaining shelf space in your average liquor store?
Which Canadian Viognier should you add to the top of your must-try list?
What wine mantra is Darren’s best advice for you as a wine drinker?
Why is it time for you to ditch the “red wine at room temperature” advice?
Who would Darren love to share a bottle of wine with?
What wine experiment should you try this week?
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About Darren Oleksyn
Darren Oleksyn has been working as a journalist for 28 years and writing about wine for the past 7. He works at the Calgary Herald, where he writes a monthly wine column among a variety of duties. He was introduced to wine by his father, who made fruit wines in Saskatchewan. After moving to Calgary in 2004 he became captivated by wine, attending numerous wine events, festivals and completing his WSET Level 3 certification in wine and spirits.
He has travelled to wine regions in Canada, the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany, and has judged at wine competitions in British Columbia and Calgary. In 2013 he wrote Uncorked: The Definitive Guide to Alberta’s Best Wines Under $25 with friend and fellow wine writer Shelley Boettcher.
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Transcript & Takeaways
Welcome to episode 83!
What are the hottest wine trends right now? What’s the difference between natural wine and orange wine? Are new drinks like blue wine and Pinot Freezio here to stay? How does canned wine hold up to its bottled counterparts? Why has Rosé been able to move from fad to mainstream?
That’s exactly what we’ll learn in this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. We’re chatting with Darren Oleksyn, wine columnist for the Calgary Herald and co-author of Uncorked: The Definitive Guide to Alberta’s Best Wines Under $25, along with Shelley Boettcher.
This conversation first aired on my regular Facebook live video a couple of years ago, so keep that in mind as the context for Darren’s comments. He mentions some predictions about the upcoming legalization of cannabis in Canada, which has since become legal, but I’m leaving these in as they provide interesting insights.
Also, you’ll hear me respond to viewer questions. You can be part of that conversation every second Wednesday at 7 pm eastern.
I’ll include a link as to where you can find us on Facebook as well as the video version of this conversation in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/83.
If you want to discover mouth-watering juicy wines and what to pair with them, sign up for my free, online video wine class the 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner (and how to fix them forever!)
Go to nataliemaclean.com/class and choose a time and date that work for you. I look forward to seeing you inside the class!
Okay, on with the show!
You can also watch the video interview with Darren that includes bonus content and behind-the-scenes questions and answers that weren’t included in this podcast.
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this chat with Darren Oleksyn.
Here are my takeaways:
- Darren clarifies the difference between natural and orange wines, giving us a solid definition of both. Since this show aired, the Union for the Defence of Natural Wines, based in France has come out with a definition of natural wine with twelve rules, among them that the grapes are organic, hand-harvested and the yeast is wild and native to the area, not a commercial strain and there is less than 30 milligrams of sulphur per litre in the wine. As well, there are no winemaking interventions such as reverse osmosis to reduce the alcohol level, filtration or flash pasteurization to stabilize the wine. This vin méthode nature is recognized by the National Institute for Origins and Quality (INAO), the French Ministry for Agriculture and the French Fraud Control Office and wines that comply will be allowed to have the designation on their label. The hope is that this classification becomes adopted throughout Europe and then the rest of the winemaking world. There’s a lot of debate and push back against such a definition because many believe that what a natural wine is should be left to the interpretation of the winemaker, and that it will differ from region to region with different climatic and soil conditions. They believe that you can’t codify a winemaking philosophy and approach to life and small-scale farming. There’s also the fear that big corporations will co-opt the term meant for boutique, artisanal producers and diminish consumer trust, or at a minimum, create confusion.
- Darren points out that orange wines may or may not be natural wines. Their definition though has great clarity since it refers to a winemaking technique rather than a philosophy. Orange or amber wines are white wines that are fermented on their skins for some length of time, which imparts colour, flavour and tannin, the latter being unusual for white wines. Orange wines are often great wines for IPA beer fans or red wine drinkers who want a white wine with more heft.
- It’s a relief to know that blue wine is probably a fad. Notes of antifreeze and Scope anyone? Ironically, Scope ran a recent commercial with two snobbery wine tasters in a cellar swirling the brand mouthwash in a wine glass. Save us!
- I agree with Darren that ingredient labeling on wine would be helpful, even if it does cause some confusion initially. I know that when restaurants started putting calorie counts beside menu items, my eating habits changed for the better.
You won’t want to miss next week when I’ll be chatting with Dr. Antonia Mantonakis, a Professor of Marketing and Consumer Psychology at Brock University’s Goodman School of Business in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. Now I mentioned this last week, that we’d be chatting with her this week, but here we are due to some scheduling changes. Antonia is also an Associate Fellow of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the university’s research institute focused on the Canadian grape and wine industry. She runs behavioural experiments out of the Consumer Perception and Cognition Laboratory. She’ll be chatting with us about celebrity athletes who own wineries, and how the fit between the athlete’s particular sport affects our perception of a wine. We’ll look at examples from the world of golf, wrestling and speed skating. It’s not what you’d expect. Dr. Mantonakis joins me from the university in St Catharine’s next week.
In the meantime, if you missed episode 12 about the hotly debated topic of wine scores, go back and take a listen. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
If you liked this episode, please tell a friend about it, especially one who’s interested in the fascinating wine tips that Darren shared. You’ll find links to the wines we tasted, a full transcript of our conversation, the video version of this chat and where you can find us on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm, at nataliemaclean.com/83.
And if you want to connect with me personally, join me in a free online video class at nataliemaclean.com/class.
Thank-you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a lovely orange wine!
Darren Oleksyn 0:00
Natural line is basically wine in its purest form. They do it as simple as they can they grow organic grapes or biodynamic grapes. They bring them in, they use natural yeast that’s in the air. They don’t add any yeast. They don’t add any kind of additives or chemicals or anything, they make the wine and they put no sulphur or maybe just a small amount of sulphur in the wine at the end before they cork it. And there it is. Its wine in its purest form, whereas orange wine is not necessarily natural wine. It’s kind of like all champagne is sparkling wine, but all sparkling wine is not champagne. Orange wine is white wine, where they ferment it on the skins, so it sits on the skins for quite a while, like that’s where it gets its colour. Yeah. And that’s where you get the orange colour from and you get 10 which is something you don’t necessarily see very often in white wine.
Natalie MacLean 0:56
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine Do you love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations. That’s the blend here on the unreserved wine talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie MacLean. And each week, I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please. And let’s get started. Welcome to Episode 83. What are the hottest wine trends right now? What’s the difference between a natural wine and an orange wine? are new drinks like blue wine and peanut free to here to stay? How does canned wine hold up against its bottled counterparts Why has Rosie been able to move from fad to mainstream? That’s exactly what we’re going to learn in this episode of The unreserved wine talk podcast. we’re chatting with Darren alexson. Wine columnist for the Calgary Herald and co author of uncorked The Definitive Guide to Alberta’s best lines under $25. Along with fellow writer Shelley Boucher. This conversation first aired on my regular Facebook Live video show a couple of years ago. So keep that in mind as the context for Darren’s comments. He mentioned some predictions about the upcoming legalisation of cannabis in Canada, which has since become legal, but I’m leaving in his comments as I think they provide some interesting insights. Also, you’ll hear me respond to viewer questions. You can be part of that conversation every second Wednesday at 7pm. Eastern. I’ll include a link as to where you can find us on Facebook as well as the video version of this conversation in the show notes at NatalieMacLean.com/83. If you want to discover mouthwatering juicy wines and what to pair with them sign up for my free online video wine class, the five wine and food pairing mistakes that can ruin your dinner and how to fix them forever. Go to NatalieMacLean.com/class and choose a time and date that work for you. I look forward to seeing you inside the class. Okay, on with the show.
Natalie MacLean 3:38
Our guest this evening has been working as a journalist for 28 years and writing about wine for the past five for one of the country’s largest newspapers, the Calgary Herald, and before that for wine access magazine, he is also judged by in competitions and in 2013. He wrote uncorked The Definitive Guide to Alberta’s best wines under 20 $5 with his friend and fellow wine writer, Shelley butcher, and he joins me now from his home in Calgary. Darren Oleksyn. How are you? I’m great. How are you doing? Good. Good. Thanks for joining us. We’re all excited to talk to you, Darren. There is just so much to cover here. I don’t even know where to start. But maybe the question I get, maybe you get it as well as a columnist. Let’s start by sorting out what’s the difference between these natural wines and the orange wines?
Darren Oleksyn 4:29
Well, natural wine is basically wine in its purest form. They do it as simple as they can. They grow organic grapes are biodynamic grapes, they bring them in, they use natural yeast that’s in the air. They don’t add any yeast. They don’t add any kind of additives or chemicals or anything, they make the wine and they put no sulphur or maybe just a small amount of sulphur in the wine at the end before they cork it and there it is. It’s wine in its purest form, whereas orange wine is not necessarily natural wine. It’s kind have like all champagne to sparkling wine, but all sparkling wine does not champagne. Orange wine is white wine, where they ferment it on the skins. So it sits on the skins for quite a while, like that’s where
Natalie MacLean 5:12
it gets its colour.
Darren Oleksyn 5:13
Yeah. And that’s where you get the orange colour from and you get 10, which is something you don’t necessarily see very often did white wine right and white why
Natalie MacLean 5:20
I’ve got an orange wine right here from South Brook in Ontario. I find it exotic, sort of like Earl Grey tea and different things I’ve never tasted in a white wine,
Darren Oleksyn 5:31
very, very different. Your flavours are a little different. And the mouthfeel is a whole different experience. For someone who doesn’t like white wine but likes red wine, it could maybe be sort of a wine to get you into a white wine that sort of that in betweens territory.
Natalie MacLean 5:45
I’ve also heard that orange wine can be kind of a wine for beer drinkers. I find a lot of similarities between this and some of the craft beers, just the nose. There’s something going on there.
Darren Oleksyn 5:56
A lot of times there’s sort of a sour note to it that you can find in some of the craft Reverse tubes so similar Yeah.
Natalie MacLean 6:03
Okay, going back to natural wines. Is this a new phenomenon? Where did this trend start, if you will, or what’s the origin of natural wines?
Darren Oleksyn 6:12
It’s somewhat new. I guess it sort of dates back to the 1980s. There was a group of winemakers in Beaujolais in southern France who decided they wanted to try making wine without any chemicals or any additives or any sulphur. Part of the reason was they thought maybe they would have less hangovers, because the sulphur in the wine, they thought that might be a problem because he started making these natural wines. And it’s kind of taken off. It’s really built sort of a cult following, and it’s really broadened out now. There’s actually seminars or festivals now around the world for natural wines, and it’s become quite a big thing. And people are very passionate about them.
Natalie MacLean 6:50
Yes, there are. There’s books and there’s evangelists and it’s a big thing. Okay, so, natural wines. Darren, what’s the association there? Between What I’ve heard like with Georgia, not us, Georgia, but the country, Georgia. And was it covary? How do you say that quit very
Darren Oleksyn 7:08
clear the I think we’re down for like the clay.
Natalie MacLean 7:11
Can you tell us a little bit of background there?
Darren Oleksyn 7:14
Sure. Well, they’ve basically been making orange wines there for 1000 years. They think it may be the birthplace of wine pretty much. And they made skin fermented white wines. They fermented everything on the skin red or white, they would put it in these big clay M for a that are dug into the ground to keep the temperature somewhat moderate. You know, it’s worked for thousands of years. Yes, we’ve sort of gone back to the way things were.
Natalie MacLean 7:40
What’s old is new, and everything comes around again and cycle cycle
Darren Oleksyn 7:43
cycles. It is this is it. Okay, do you have an orange wine there? Or is it a blue wine that you have? I have a bit of both actually. An orange wine. Where’s the wire Valley? Okay, which is not your typical war Valley. Great. Okay. But no, it Beautiful, it’s got Tang, it’s got sort of tangerine flavours. a fuller body you can feel the tannins. Nice balance drinking. Well,
Natalie MacLean 8:10
nice. Okay, and so Darren is blue, the new orange, we’ve got blue wine. Tell us about what this is. It looks odd. Got this crazy one here
Darren Oleksyn 8:20
looks like it’s gonna taste like scope. It kind of reminds me of Listerine in the bathroom or antifreeze as well, but Oh, it’s a nice image. I would say whereas orange wine and natural wine is sort of a trend that’s growing and gaining favourite wind is more like a marketing trend. I would say it started in Spain by some marketing people, I guess you would say they admit even on their website that they’re not winemakers, they just wanted to shake things up. So they started making this wine. This wine I have is a different one, but the sort of the first one was known as chick and it was a blend of red and white wine and then they would add colouring Indigo anthocyanin, which is blue pigment often found in skins like grape skins and blueberries and that sort of thing. So that gives it the blue tinge.
Natalie MacLean 9:09
So it’s natural colouring if you will from the grape skins.
Darren Oleksyn 9:13
I guess somewhat. I don’t know how official officially natural it is. It could be Yeah, powdered colour. I’m not sure how they added wine, but it certainly looks sharp on Instagram and well, that’s what it’s all about. Right?
Darren Oleksyn 9:26
Totally. It’s the eye catcher.
Natalie MacLean 9:28
It is it’s just sounds like a wine made by a focus group, though to be Oh, look at that, that is just not appetising at all Does it taste any different? Do you get any blueberries or any blue tone fruit? Anything?
Darren Oleksyn 9:41
No. I would just say it’s very mellow. Like this one is not sweet, which is good. I was a little worried I’d be very sweet but it’s just kind of I would say kind of bland. It’s a rainbow which is not you know the most exuberant grape, but everything is kind of toned down and you just kind of notice the colour
Natalie MacLean 9:59
and do things This is just a fad that will die out soon or anything
Darren Oleksyn 10:04
to it. Yeah. Okay. I think so. I think it’s definitely not like rosy which has been growing and growing and growing and with good reason. I would say the blue wine will be here today gone tomorrow kind of thing. Okay. All right. Good to know. So into this sort of authenticity and transparency and everything. What do you think about ingredient labelling along that lines? First of all, how many ingredients are there approximately in a wine I know there’s grapes and there’s alcohol and so on. But what’s in there, I thought it was just basically that there are a lot of things that can be added to wine and some of them disappear in the in the winemaking process and some of them stay there. Like to clear the wine they add things like bentonite, which is a clay or isn’t glass which is a fish protein, or they might use a protein, different things that are very fine particles in the wind collect you and then they sink to the bottom. So there’s that then you can add acid you can 10 in powder, you can add enzymes, there are a lot of things that are available, the winemakers to add, you know, it would be nice to know what is in the wine. Right? And do you think it would help consumers to become more educated? Or might it add confusion and fear? Or would there just be a sort of getting used to it kind of phase and then it would be good. I think more information is good information. I think it would be helpful for consumers, it would probably be confusing for some and I know, you know, like the ingredient labels on foods and cans right now, a lot of people don’t really read those or understand how they work like portion sizes and things like that. So there’s always some confusion, but it’s my belief that the more information you can have about what you’re consuming, the better off you are.
Natalie MacLean 11:44
I agree. And so again, related to this, what about health warnings? we sometimes see don’t drink while you’re pregnant. But there doesn’t seem to be health warnings against underage drinking or excessive drinking or whatever. What do you think about health warnings on wine labels?
Darren Oleksyn 11:59
I don’t know. I wouldn’t mind if I like the idea of maybe serving size suggestions? How much wine to consume, although the research keeps changing on that, so it’s hard to say what really is good. I don’t know about that warrant. I could come and go with that one.
Natalie MacLean 12:14
Yeah, I like the serving size thing because I think sometimes people don’t realise just how many units of alcohol are consuming like I’ve seen on some Australian back labels. You may have seen this Darren, but especially with the alcohol creeps up to 14 15%. You know,
Darren Oleksyn 12:27
people think it’s five glasses of wine and a bottle, but it can be like eight or nine units or glasses of wine can be deceiving because the higher alcohol, that’s really the big thing, right is alcohol content. And when I in my column, I always included because there’s so much variance like you can have wines up to 15 and a half or 16%. And then usually, according to their rules, there’s a little leeway up or down like a half percent too. So you can go from 8% wine or 7% wine like a Prosecco or something like that. To 15%. So one bottle of wine, the amount of alcohol you’re getting is very different depending on the bottle,
Natalie MacLean 13:06
it is extremely different. And I actually buy wine based on it being 1313, five or lower. Once it flips up to 14, I just find it’s like too much. It’s just all heat and alcohol. That All right, what other big trends are you seeing in the world of wine? What’s on your radar? They are and especially as a columnist for the Calgary Herald.
Darren Oleksyn 13:29
Well, one of the things I’m interested in right now is the growth of canned wine, like wines in aluminium cans, like a beer cans, that sort of thing. Yeah, you’re starting to see more and more of them and some of the wines in them are actually not too bad. I was reading the other day. Bonnie doon vineyards has a line of canned wines now. And they’re decent wines. And it’s very handy, especially in Alberta here. If you go into the mountains and you’re gonna go for a hike and you’d like to have some wine. It’s a lot easier to carry a small can than a big heavy bottle. Yeah. So that’s a growing thing. I think and then the Box wine thing is still growing wines on tap. I love that idea like wines haze, so you can get a glass in a restaurant and doesn’t really matter when it was open. It’ll still be fresh. So that’s nothing but a good thing.
Natalie MacLean 14:13
Yeah, absolutely. I didn’t know how they kept that fresh. Is it an airtight seal on these kegs? Like is it like the bag in a box?
Darren Oleksyn 14:22
That empties out the oxygen is pushed out so then it oxidised or anything like that?
Natalie MacLean 14:27
Oh, wow. And Linda Michaels is saying also on labels, it would be nice to know the calories per serving.
Darren Oleksyn 14:35
That’s true. Yeah, they’re all you know, more alcohol you have more calories because exactly,
Natalie MacLean 14:39
because they you get calories from both alcohol and the sugar content. So even when it’s fermented to dryness, your calories are switching over onto the other side alcohol side terms of where they’re coming from.
Darren Oleksyn 14:51
That’s true and talking about trends. One of the trends that I do like as you’re seeing more lower alcohol wine like not low alcohol, but wine Baker’s are making wines at lower alcohol levels now like 12 you can get 12% whites and 11% whites even from like the Silicon Valley. I think I had a cat frog that was 12% that’s nice to see and they’re still ripe and everything fruit is good and fresh and it’s just you know you don’t get so much of that alcohol here.
Natalie MacLean 15:19
And this one this orange Why’d I was noticing it was relatively low. I’m just oh, this orange wine which has packed with flavour 9.8% alcohol. Wow, love it and it’s dry. It’s not a sweet because sometimes you’ll get low alcohol if they haven’t fermented to complete dryness like a German Riesling say yeah, but this completely dry 9.8 and the other day I tasted Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand I think it was called the doctors by forest or something. And it was something blown that was at 9% Wow, it’s almost like cheating. It’s like you got all the flavour but none of the like heavy alcohol which no one needs. I mean, if you want that Have vodka.
Darren Oleksyn 16:01
Yeah, exactly. Especially for a weekday wine or something. Right?
Natalie MacLean 16:04
Exactly, exactly. You want to sleep well to precisely, maybe along the lines of natural lines and so on. You’re fascinated by yeast. So we know yeast converts sugar in the grapes to alcohol and co2, which usually blows off unless you make it a bubbly, but what is it about us that interests you? And how does it change the flavour of why?
Darren Oleksyn 16:28
yeast just add different flavours, the way the wine ferments, it develops different flavour profiles. It’s really quite interesting that I had never thought I thought yeast was yeast and then I learned that you can add a yeast to give a citrus flavour or you can add a yeast to give like a stone rich fruit flavour and all of these sorts of different knows. One of the trends now is using natural yeast in the air that’s happening quite a lot in the Okanagan Valley even they’re doing it quite a bit and I think it gives you a better representation of the area because the east is from that area. It’s It imported from California or something like that from a big industrial factory. But it’s certainly riskier to because sometimes, you know, the East may not ferment the wind completely, it might stall in the middle of fermentation and that sort of thing. So it’s a bit risky, but I think it pays off in the end.
Darren Oleksyn 17:16
What do they have to do if it stalls, sometimes they add a little bit of like an industrial yeast, they might add something to start it up again, as you’d use natural yeast over the years you develop these sort of becomes hardier and then you don’t run into those problems. But when you’re first transferring over to using natural yeast, it’s a little bit more touching, go.
Natalie MacLean 17:37
Okay, so the, the east is local, and it can be floating in the air, and that’s probably how first wines were made. But how does it reveal more of the place of the wine? Because it’s local. What else is happening there? Like how does that yeast translate into better representation of the area?
Darren Oleksyn 17:57
I don’t know exactly, but I think you know, it. It’s very Gathering, whatever else is in the area like pollen and all these different aspects of the vineyard or the region, sort of develop in the yeast disease, it’s amazing living thing. Like it’s always changing and mutating and that sort of thing. And it just brings this unique character to the place. Right.
Natalie MacLean 18:20
I wanted to ask you about a few things of just fun fads. I think they’re fads but your take I don’t know if you’ve had any of these but uh, Pino freesia to ever had that.
Darren Oleksyn 18:31
I’ve not had that. Again, brain freezes from like slurpees and things so I don’t drink those sorts of things. But I think it’s more like a cocktail than a wine I would say
Natalie MacLean 18:40
almost like making a spritzer with ice. Yeah, whatever. Do you can don’t dropping an ice cube in wine.
Darren Oleksyn 18:46
I’m a very liberal, you know, do whatever you like, right? It’s like everyone has a different palate are different tastes than young, like wine with an ice cube. That’s totally fine. That’s me. Do what you want to do.
Natalie MacLean 19:00
I was reading in some column recently where it actually doesn’t have enough to dilute the essential flavours and aromas of the wine. It won’t wreck your wine in other words, so there you go. A licence to chill. It depends how fast you drink it too,
Darren Oleksyn 19:15
I guess, right?
Natalie MacLean 19:16
That’s true. Yes, that’s true. Sometimes it’s just not an issue. That wine isn’t around long, but I’ve heard of like Pino freesia to freestyling. Again, ice cubes and Riesling and frozen, I guess was very 2017. But there you go.
Darren Oleksyn 19:32
You mentioned this earlier. Why do you think Rosie is on the upswing? It’s a trending up kind of line. Why do you think that is? Well, I think the consumer started to notice that there’s good roses out there for many many years when you said Rosie, it was more like blush and white Zinfandel and those sorts of lines that were sickly sweet and dark red in colour and the tasted sort of manufactured but they’ve discovered the wines of Provence. Rosie’s from Provence where they dry and they have lots of flavour and they look beautiful and so wineries are starting to follow that style. And you see, there’s so many roses like wineries are making roses left and right because they’re selling really well now and I think that’s outstanding. It’s a great way to write like, a lot of things. And you can drink it all year, not just the summertime.
Natalie MacLean 20:24
Yep, there’s no Labour Day kind of rule on that one. Okay,
Natalie MacLean 20:28
keep drinking your Rosie and wearing white. So what line trends Do you think we’re going to see in the fall, other than the new vintages come out? Like is there anything that you look for in the fall with wine trends?
Darren Oleksyn 20:41
Not really, usually, you know, you start to go to fuller bodied reds like right now we’re in sort of this transition zone getting into cooler weather. So lower body whites like the only I like to drink those and gabay usually play well people who are sort of in the fall before you really cold temperatures.
Natalie MacLean 21:01
And the Okanagan. One of the things I know you’re interested in is the increasing number of sub Appalachians. Tell us about that and why you think it’s kind of a marker for the maturity of the Canadian industry. The wine industry,
Darren Oleksyn 21:14
or wine industry in Canada is still very young. You know, when you think in Georgia, they’ve been making wines for 8000 years, we’ve been doing really seriously with fitness vinifera grapes for 25 years. So we’re growing we’re getting more vineyards and now the wineries are figuring out what grapes grow best and what areas and subdividing say the Okanagan Valley it used to be just Okanagan Valley was your only descriptor and now you can golden mile bench they created that sub gi they call it geographic indicator a few years ago and last month they included Okanagan falls they created one for that narrow Matta bench now is on the way it looks like so for the consumer when you’re buying a wine if you see this descriptor on the label you have a better idea that all the grapes are from this area. So if that area has a specific wine that’s good or a specific sort of note to the wine, you can look for it in that wine and know that it’ll probably be there. It’s just consistency. And it’s about learning what goes best in your region like 20 years ago, there would be Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the northern Valley, Peter Anwar, down by a Soyuz and now they’ve, you know, figured out a peanut Juarez better and cooler climates. Let’s grow it up north and let’s do capsule of down by Soyuz and the golden mile bench. So it’s just maturity and figuring things out. And along with those sub Appalachians, we’ve got some new Appalachians based on styles rather than regions. In Ontario. There’s the orange wine that has just come in. And that’s more based on a way of making these wines, right. Yeah, that’s right.
Natalie MacLean 22:50
That’s right. So you were describing that sort of letting the skins of the grape sit on the juice to give it the tinge and the tannin and so on, but what’s the one that’s going on in Nova Scotia. Right now,
Darren Oleksyn 23:00
now they’ve invented or started a population called tidal Bay. And that is also related to sort of how the wine is made, not necessarily the region, it’s a nova scotia wine, but it has to use specific grapes and it has to have like a sunny, bright acidity and so they have a tasting panel that tastes these wines to make sure that they sort of meet all the paradigms or whatever and it’s a good calling card for Nova Scotia people if they buy a bottle of title by you. They have an idea of what it will taste like.
Natalie MacLean 23:28
Yeah, it’s lovely. It’s just like Ocean Spray. To me. It’s perfect with shellfish like lobster tidal Bay. It’s so floral and aromatic. It’s lovely and light, low alcohol.
Darren Oleksyn 23:39
Yeah, definitely, definitely very good. I don’t think they’re
Natalie MacLean 23:41
allowed to go over 11% or something like that. So Exactly. If it’s really low, it’s definitely lower. Yeah. Gayle Johnson from St. Catherine says with regards to orange wines being an old technique, I was wondering if there is a particular reason why it was abandoned like a while back and then now we’re coming back to it. Any thoughts on that there?
Darren Oleksyn 24:02
Yeah, I don’t really know I think probably as winemaking matured and they learn how to control fermentations better and things like that and, and you could cool wines, you could refrigerate wines. So they would last longer. I think it probably just emerged that you took these new processes we have now you know, like the stainless steel fermenters. And you can keep your temperature very exact, you can really control the winemaking experience from start to finish. So you know, probably more control was thought to be better. But now that people are going in the other direction, saying, well, maybe this is a good way to so there’s enough room on the table for many different styles of wine.
Natalie MacLean 24:39
Linda Michaels is asking Darren, would you say that wines from Eastern and Central Europe are becoming trendy? So I guess we’re talking about Hungary, Bulgaria? I think so. Yeah. Slovenia.
Darren Oleksyn 24:49
Yep. There’s a lot more wines from those areas. They’ve good terroir they just didn’t have investment, you know, especially the former Soviet republics, communism. was not good for why’d you make this this is how you make it and that’s it but now people are starting to invest in some of these areas and you’ve seen some very nice wines and really good price points too, right because the land is very cheap.
Natalie MacLean 25:14
Yes. Deb is asking what’s your favourite? Kanye Darren?
Darren Oleksyn 25:19
from Canada I really love the VA from laughingstock. Okay, to me, it’s like a picture of perfect veal gay. It shows the nice apricots and peach flavours. It’s quite full bodied. It has a nice long finish. It’s always one of my go to vo news. That sounds lovely. So Darren, I have to ask this fall, we’re going to have the legalisation of cannabis. What do you think, if any, will be the impact on wine? Well, it’s a bit of an open question. But you know, there has been legalised cannabis in the US for in some states for a while. So they’ve done research on that front and I was looking at a study in Colorado where they found that when they legalised cannabis beer sales started to drop. So maybe that’ll come here. The study didn’t really look at wine in particular, it was more focused on beer, but I’m sure it will have an effect. And you can certainly see, like the wine companies are watching this like last week or a couple of weeks ago, constellation brands, one of the biggest beverage companies in the world, made an $5 billion investment in a Canadian cannabis company called canopy growth. Wow. Molson Coors is also bought into this industry. So, you know, they know it’s coming and who knows, maybe we’ll see cannabis laced wine or beer somewhere down the road. Wine and weed pairings. There we go.
Natalie MacLean 26:43
Yeah, that’s going to be an interesting thing to see how all of this impacts. They’re doing beer with cannabis. But there’s portables, there’s edibles. There’s all sorts of categories, but I think they have to sort it all out in terms of the format’s and
Darren Oleksyn 26:58
who’s going to sell it and All the rest of that equation, they say that’ll be the growth area, right? Like, yeah, only certain companies can grow the cannabis. But once you buy it, it’s a little more liberal of what you can do with it. So they’ll find creative ways to sell it.
Natalie MacLean 27:12
Yeah, I’ll bet a growth area. I’m sure that Sorry, I do couldn’t resist. All right, so Darren, just a few off the cuff quick answers, because I love to just ask our guests this. What advice would you give maybe to your 30 year old self?
Darren Oleksyn 27:29
Probably to buy more quality and less? Gotcha. You know, I would taste a wine that I really liked. And I would buy, you know, it’s like, oh, I need two or three bottles of that. And then you find out it doesn’t really age that well, and it’s been lost in the cellar, and it’s past its prime when you have it, so maybe buy less wine, but better wine that’ll hold up for longer in the cellar.
Natalie MacLean 27:52
Absolutely. And this may be the same answer. I’m not sure. But what’s the best piece of wine advice you’ve ever received? Is there something new There.
Darren Oleksyn 28:01
Oh, I would just say I was told by one drink what you like right like don’t be intimidated by wine or wine snob ism or anything like that wine is just a beverage to enjoy and whatever you like is good. Everyone’s palate is different and, and my tastes different to everybody. So go with what you know and what what you like. You bet
Natalie MacLean 28:21
you pat, what do you think is the worst piece of advice people get about why what stares people in the wrong direction with this
Darren Oleksyn 28:29
idea that red wine should be at room temperature. You know, that works 100 years ago when you lived in a wood fired cottage and it was like 16 degrees in there. But now our temperature control homes are much warmer. And usually it’s too warm for red wines that you get sort of flabby and they lose a lot of their backbone, their structure, the acidity drops. You know if it’s a full bodied red, I’ll put it in the fridge for 10 minutes or something like that, just to take the edge off. If it’s lighter red like gammy you can put it here even longer, and it really does freshen up the wine and bring it into balance.
Natalie MacLean 29:04
Yeah, it really does. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Now, if you could share a bottle of wine with anyone living or dead, who would that be? Why, and which one would you share?
Darren Oleksyn 29:16
That’s a hard one. Maybe buco. She changed champagne making a lot. She invented riddling, basically in champion, he did a lot of amazing things. And just for those who don’t know
Natalie MacLean 29:29
Darren Oleksyn 29:30
religious, for those who don’t know, they put the bottles inverted and they slowly rotate them so that all the East collects in the neck of the wine, and then they can eject it and so you don’t have a bunch of particles in your wine. It was a big step for champagne. And she did it as a widow and a woman back then, like you have to respect that so much so and
Unknown Speaker 29:49
she used her kitchen table. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 29:51
Natalie MacLean 29:52
resourceful. Yes, I’d like to meet her. She’d be a real interesting person to talk to like she was a kind of a tuffle Bird and her her photos. She’s like very stern. But Wow, she lived to her 80s. But she took over this company, the Ricoh House of champagne when she was in her late 20s with a daughter Clementine, eight years old. Can you imagine turn of the century Napoleonic Wars? And she just stepped up and created one of the best luxury brands in the world? Yeah, yeah. It’s so impressive.
Natalie MacLean 30:24
Yeah. Amazing. That’s a great answer. I would love to meet with her too. Is there a tip or something you could share with our audience something they can try with wine this week to kind of up their game or learn more about why
Darren Oleksyn 30:38
I would go back to the chilling thing like yeah, if you’re having a read, just look down a little bit, see how it changes, maybe do it as an experiment, try it at room temperature, leave one glove, and put the bottle in the fridge and then let it cool for a little bit for say, 10 minutes and then pour glass and then compare the two and just see how it changes.
Natalie MacLean 30:57
Great idea. It’s always good to learn side by side. is the best way to learn like people think how do you get these differences? It’s because you know, you’re tasting six wines, whatever side by side. That’s how it jumps out at you. It’s not trying to one wine in isolation, though that is difficult. Is there anything that we haven’t covered, Darren that you wanted to mention as we sort of wrap up here? wonderful conversation?
Darren Oleksyn 31:21
Not really. Yeah, sorry.
Natalie MacLean 31:24
No, no, that’s good. That’s good. We’ve covered it all. And where can people find you online?
Darren Oleksyn 31:28
On Twitter? I’m at D alexson. at Twitter calm.
Natalie MacLean 31:32
Okay, gotcha. And we can find your columns in the Calgary Herald online.
Darren Oleksyn 31:35
Natalie MacLean 31:37
All right. Darren, thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate your time, great answers and insights into these wind trends and lots of learning. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Thank you. It was it was great fun. Thanks, Darren. See you. Okay, bye bye.
Natalie MacLean 31:58
Well, there you have it. Hope you enjoy this chat with their an election. Here are my takeaways number one there and clarifies the difference between natural and orange wines giving us a solid definition of both. Since the show aired the Union for the defence of natural wines based in France has come out with a definition of natural wines, and it involves 12 rules among them, that the grapes are organic hand harvested, and that the yeast is wild and native to the area, not a commercial strain, and that there is less than 30 milligrammes of sulphur per litre in the wine. as well. There are no winemaking interventions such as reverse osmosis to reduce the alcohol level, filtration or flash pasteurisation to stabilise the wine. This then method natural is recognised by the National Institute for origins and quality the INF o which is the French Ministry for agriculture and And the French fraud control office, and wines that comply with these rules will be allowed to have the designation on their label. The hope is that this classification becomes adopted throughout Europe, and then the rest of the winemaking world. There is a lot of debate and pushback against such a definition because many believe that what a natural wine is should be left to the interpretation of the winemaker and that it will differ from region to region based on different climactic and soil conditions among other things. They also believe that you can’t codify a winemaking philosophy and approach to life and small scale farming. There’s also the fear that big corporations will Co Op the term meant for bowtique artisanal producers and diminish consumer trust or at a minimum create confusion. Number two, Darren points out that orange wines may or may not be natural wines. Their definition though, has greater clarity. refers to a winemaking technique rather than to a philosophy. Orange or amber wines are white wines that are fermented on their skins for some length of time, which imparts colour, flavour and tannin, the latter being unusual for white wines. Orange wines are often great wines for IPA, beer fans or red wine drinkers who want a white wine with a little more heft. It’s a relief to know that blue wine is probably a fad. notes of antifreeze and scope anyone. Ironically, scope ran a recent commercial with two snobby wine tasters in a cellar swirling the brand’s mouthwash in a wineglass. Please save us. Number four, I agree with Darren that ingredient labelling on wine bottles would be helpful, even if it does cause some confusion initially. I know that when restaurants started putting calorie counts beside menu items. my eating habits changed for the better You won’t want to miss next week when I’ll be chatting with Dr. Antonia menten arcus, a professor of marketing and consumer psychology at Brock University’s Goodman School of Business in St. catharines, Ontario. Now, I know I mentioned this last week that we’d be chatting with her this week, but there were some scheduling changes. Antonia is an Associate Fellow of the cool climate enology and viticulture Institute, cc o vi or co v. The university’s Research Institute focused on the Canadian grape and wine industry. She runs behavioural experiments out of the consumer perception and cognition laboratory. She’ll be chatting with us about celebrity athletes who own wineries and how the fit between the athletes particular sport affects our perception of the wine. We’ll look at examples from the world of golf, wrestling and speed skating. And it’s not what you’d expect.
Natalie MacLean 35:58
Antonia joins me from the university In St. catharines next week. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 12, about the hotly debated topic and trend of wine scores, go back and take a listen. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite. For the first few years that I wrote about why I didn’t score them, as I just didn’t have the confidence to do it. I just wrote tasting notes. However, my readers kept asking for scores as they really wanted this shorthand for their shopping lists. Someone had to do a quality price ratio analysis or QPR, using my score for quality against the price of the wine, like the way they evaluate shares of a company. So to be of service, I started rating wines. However, I still don’t score wines below 80 as I don’t think they’re worth your time or attention. Do you really want to remember a long list of wines? that you shouldn’t buy. However, this easily understood shorthand for quality is also the most difficult to pin down is 85. Good, very good or great?
Natalie MacLean 37:19
If you like this episode, please tell a friend about it, especially one who’s interested in the fascinating wine tips and trends that Darren shared. You’ll find links to the wines we tasted a full transcript of our conversation, the video version of this chat, and where you can find us on Facebook Live every second Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at NatalieMacLean.com/83. And if you want to connect with me personally, join me in a free online video class at NatalieMacLean.com/class. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a lovely orange one.
Natalie MacLean 38:06
You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at NatalieMacLean.com/subscribe, maybe here next week Cheers.