March 8, 2017
Just like your mother always told you, “There are some words that are simply inappropriate to use.”
In the wine world, ‘sweetness’ is one of them. Not because it is a dirty word. It has its appropriate time and place. Yet for many consumers (particularly those new to wine) it is a description that is often misunderstood, and as a result, misused. The confusion is leading many down the wrong path when trying to find wines they truly enjoy. That ‘sweet’ taste sensation you may or may not love isn’t due to sugar content: it’s more often than not the result of the wine’s fruitiness.
So here is where the confusion begins: wine professionals use the term ‘sweetness’ to indicate the amount of residual sugar in a wine. Yet, what our senses perceive as a “sweet” flavour is not dependent on residual sugar. It is instead due to the intensity of the wine’s fruitiness.
“It’s about getting new wine lovers and wine store staff speaking the same language,” suggests Co-op Sommelier Manager, Mike Roberts.
“When a customer says they like a sweet wine, our first instinct is to point them to a wine high in residual sugar. Yet what the customer really wants is a very fruit-forward wine. A wine can have a fruity sensation, yet technically be dry... that is, very low in residual sugars.”
Roberts says that the sweetness is perceived and felt on the tongue as a texture. This sensation appears at the tip and the top of the tongue – and has the feel of a heavy, almost coating, sensation. “We each have our own individual abilities to perceive sweetness on the palate. This is where the water is muddied. Tannin (mouth drying) and acidity (mouth watering) both will influence our ability to perceive a wine’s sweetness and make it seem more or less sweet.”
While We’re at it, Let’s Not Forget the “D” Word
Dryness is another word that is widely used, but may not accurately reflect the type of wine you are seeking. A ‘dry red’ describes nearly every red wine on the shelf – as most reds have very low ratio of residual sugar. Those who like ‘dry wines’ are likely looking for a wine that is not as fruit driven, has more savoury notes, textured tannins, vivacious acidity and a dry feel.
The Final Word on Getting a Wine You Will Enjoy
A simple tip: a cool climate tends to produce wines that are less viscous, have higher acidity and can seem drier. A hot climate will fully ripen grapes and tannins – helping to create a plush and fruit filled wine that is often full-bodied and more tropical in style.
Perhaps the best way to help us help you find a wine you’ll love is by keeping a list of those you’ve tried and have enjoyed. There are actually a number of cool apps that let you take photos of the label, make notes and rate the wine.
And next time you come into Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, don’t be embarrassed to use the “F” word (‘Fruitiness’). We promise not to tell your mom!
Father’s Day is just around the corner. Rather than hosting another basic cookout this year, throw him a party as special as he is.
However you choose to refer to it—May long, May two-four, Victoria Day weekend—May long weekend is the first official marker of summer.
Any wine lover knows that, like food, wine tastes change with the season.
At Co-op Wine Spirits Beer, we know you want quality products and are also looking for the best value.
This Valentine’s Day will be less fabulous dinner out in a packed restaurant and more cozy evening in at home.
Sometimes choosing a great wine can be overwhelming; there’s so much choice out there that it can be difficult to know which brands to trust.
While we may not get to spend the holidays physically together, we can at least share the moment virtually.
There is nothing quite like the perfect cocktail to set the mood for the holidays.
Co-op Wine Spirits Beer Sommelier Coordinator Katherine Mindach has some advice for cooking with alcohol:
This holiday season one of our favourite ways to feed family, friends and folks is to set up a grazing station and let everyone nibble...
Wine and cheese are natural pairs. Getting together over a glass of wine, and having something to nibble on that’s light and tasty, salty and...
There’s something about the holidays that lets us all feel like we can indulge.
Thanksgiving may look a little different this year. If you’re able to get together with family this year or you’ve got a safe bubble you’re...
For more than 30 years, Viña Montes has been producing luxury wines from Chile and exporting them to customers worldwide.
We’ve all heard that you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover—or a wine by its label, but how many of us have...
Many of us dream about quitting our corporate jobs, moving to the country and living off the land.
Throwing a western-style BBQ to make up for the cancellation of the greatest outdoor show in Calgary? You need just the right cold drinks to...
Summertime is when many of us turn from drinking those warm, bold and cozy reds, so something lighter and more refreshing.
When we think of the world’s wine regions, France, Italy, Spain, South America and California come to mind.
It may not feel like spring is coming yet, but soon enough it’ll be here.
It’s probably not surprising that a lot of Albertans aren’t familiar with the Alsace wine region of France.
Many of us are wondering if our favourite places like restaurants and cafes will still be around once the COVID-19 pandemic finally releases its grip...
Co-op Wine Spirits Beer sommeliers are happy to introduce the latest offering in The Social Collection wine lineup.
Easter celebrations may look a little different this year, but whether you’re putting together an Easter dinner for immediate family or looping in friends via...
Though it may not be as well-known globally as the Bordeaux region of France or Tuscany in Italy, British Columbia has a dynamic, diverse, and...
If you pass by the shelf, it’s a bottle that immediately catches your eye among all the dark glass standing sentinel among the rows.
For some folks, Valentine’s Day is considered an old fashioned and possibly outdated celebration.
If you or anyone in your family is a die-hard football fan, you’re likely already planning for the biggest game of the year.
As those holiday bills start rolling in, many of us are feeling like a thrifty January is a smart way to go.
The holidays, or other times of celebration, are usually when we turn our eyes to Champagne.
We’ve probably all heard of fondue, but how many of us have actually tried to make it, or even wondered where it came from? The...
Let’s admit it—for many of us, one of the exciting things about the holidays is the opportunity to share fun and festive drinks with friends.
As you’re working away at your holiday shopping list, there’s always a few folks who are hard to buy for.
When you’re planning a special meal, you want everything to be just right.
There is something so festive and satisfying about enjoying cheese and wine at parties.
Hosting an at-home wine tasting is a great way to gather your friends over the holidays and do something fun and memorable.
If you’re tasked with making a dish for a holiday potluck, you might be wondering if you should bring the same old tired spinach dip.
You have to admit there’s something especially festive about the idea of baking cookies around the holidays.
Are you the planner in your family or at the office? If you’re just not up for being the host or the organizer again this...
The holidays are just around the corner and in today’s globetrotting society, so many of us live far away from our families and friends.
If you’re the type of person who throws awesome holiday parties you’ll want to make sure your supplies are in order.
Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift idea that keeps giving year round? Consider gifting your special someone or valued employee a Vin Bin at Co-op Wine...
Looking for a little something different? Want a beverage that feels a little festive this holiday season? Fallentimber Meadery has some extra special offerings that...
It was an omen that became a family legend.
Our sommeliers are thrilled to share that The Social Collection wines, a Co-op Wine Spirits Beer exclusive, have recently made headlines for their award winning taste.
If you’ve ever seen the wine flick Sideways, you’ll know there are two wines that are pitted against each other; Pinot Noir and Merlot.
While many of us might have that dream of running away and buying a winery, it actually takes a tonne of work and many years...
You'd think a winery with a name like Red Rooster might have a feathery mascot on site, ready to crow the arrival of visitors.
You’ve got to respect a person who’s not afraid to air their own dirty laundry.
Sword fighting isn’t usually a trait you’d associate with a wine entrepreneur. But Joseph Luckhurst is different from a lot of wine guys.
When he was born, Graham Nordin's father bought a case of port that bore the same name he'd just bestowed upon his son.
You may think naming a winery after the process of oxidizing decay is a bad idea.
Rosé sales may be booming in Alberta, but it was not always that way.
Red wine drinkers need some refreshment too!Let’s face it, the vast majority of Albertans love the big, bold, full throttle reds most of the year...
Whether you consider yourself a collector, connoisseur, or just someone who wants to learn more about wine, Co-op Wine Spirits Beer's new World of Wine...
Rosé wine seems less pretentious than white or red wine. You rarely hear anyone—even wine professionals—alienate others by going on and on about how pink...
This romantic region’s pink wines have never been so popular
If the last rosé you had was called white zinfandel, it’s time to get re-acquainted.
You’ve likely heard about the folks who dreamed of one day owning a winery, and end up buying one on a whim, with little to...
For some toddlers, learning how to say ‘butterfly’, or ‘banana’ might be a feat. But Dave Carson taught his three-year-old son some decidedly more complex words.
Justin Hall knows the wine business from the ground up. As Winemaker for Nk’Mip Cellars in B.C., he’s had his fair share of experiences in...
Have you ever hidden something away, saving it for just the right moment? Whether it’s a birthday present purchased in anticipation of a milestone age,...
You already know Co-op Wine Spirits Beer as the place you can pick up everything from a great Wednesday wine, to a special celebratory bottle.
When Uncommon Cider set out to make an Alberta-centric cider they knew they wanted to be unique, and keep their focus on western Canadian ingredients.
There’s a scene in the cartoon food film Ratatouille where the protagonist rat is tasting flavours; strawberries and cheese.
B.C. has some of Canada’s best wine growing territory. Summerhill Estate Winery has been growing grapes and producing wines in British Columbia since 1991.
We love cocktails that give people unexpected, but pleasant surprises. Using champagne, sparkling wine or prosecco is a perfect way to set a festive tone...
Hockey fans know Mario Lemieux for many reasons. The hockey great’s best game was also one that was voted one of the greatest hockey moments...
Sure, wine is great by itself, but did you know you can also use it to create delicious cocktails that you and all of your...
Need a bottle of wine to bring to a holiday celebration, dinner or the office holiday wine pool? Don't just pick up something cheap, or familiar.
When it comes to the international wine industry, you might assume that wine makers from all over thew world are aching to move to France...
It may seem odd for a family to take on a business where the workers could kill you.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get together with family and friends, and while there’s always lots of catching up to do, once that’s over,...
So many wine drinkers dream of running away from their dull daily lives and starting a winery.
Summer is in full swing and patios, terraces, and backyards are the entertainment venue of choice.
The Calgary Stampede is many things; officially it's a chance to take in the rodeo and celebrate community spirit through shows, rides, events, and pancake breakfasts.
There's something so summery about Rosé. This wine which ranges from blush to raspberry-hued evokes the colour of garden blooms, dusky summer sunsets and fresh...
Do you find wine enjoyable, but intimidating? With wine regions spanning the globe, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the choices out there.
Easter is when families spend time together and often share a big meal.
For many Canadians, St Patrick’s Day is an excuse to wear green, while kids cut shamrocks from paper and fashion cardboard leprechaun hats.
Co-op Wine Spirits Beer is more than just a store. It’s an experience. Shop here and you’ll get education, assistance, and great customer service.
The Academy Awards or the Oscars are known as the biggest night in Hollywood.
February may seem like the dead of winter, but it's actually a month of wonderful celebrations.
It's resolution time! And if yours is to make smarter choices and maybe cut back on some vices, we've got some ideas when it comes...
The food is picked out, your place is all set up, you even have a sweet playlist ready.
With so much activity going on in the house, so many people to entertain, and so many timers and buzzers and pots to watch, the...
Pinot Noir is said to be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding grapes to grow.
Many visitors to our stores are unaware of the world of champagne alternatives for every taste and budget, because champagne has become a catch-all term...
What does a gift card, a rare bottle of scotch, and a taster pack of beer all have in common? They all make great gifts,...
Handling all the drinks for your holiday party can be daunting.
There is nothing better to sip on during the cold festive season than a warm glass of mulled wine.
As the nights get a little cooler and you begin to reach for a sweater for the first time in a while, you may notice...
Whether it’s their award-winning Syrah or a unique blend from their small lots program, Sandhill Estate Vineyard does not disappoint.
Prosecco is one of my all-time favourite beverages to sip on in the summer, or anytime of the year for that matter.
There’s nothing better to sip on in the sun than a crisp, cold glass of Rosé wine.
ARGENTINA AND ALBERTA: KINDRED COWBOY SPIRITS
This week, Canadians will celebrate the 150th anniversary of our dominion formation, when the country established its confederation in 1867.
As the end of our journey exploring Canada’s bounty of alcoholic beverages draws near, we want to go out with a splash.
It's known as Canada's left coast and if you've spent any time out there you'll know B.C. has a whole different vibe.
As we explore all the different ways to toast Canada’s 150th, the wines of BC loom large, and for very good reasons.
How about something a little out of the ordinary to toast Canada’s 150th – wine from Alberta.
When it comes to beating the heat of the summer we can rely on some tried, tested and trusted wine styles to keep our palates...
In this year of celebrating 150 years of our great nation, we will pause and reflect on many things that make our nation great. Like hockey.
For some, it's the de facto centre of the universe for Canada, but others cast a more wary eye on Ontario, which can often be...
The perfect way to celebrate Canada’s birthday? With reds and whites of course.
There is a long-standing tradition on Canada's East Coast. When there's a celebration to be had, Maritimers throw a kitchen party or ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee).
It's time to break out the bubbly at Co-op. Mike Roberts, Co-op's Sommelier Manager was the overall winner at the city's annual Iron Sommelier Competition,...
Syrah or Shiraz great for the Grilling Season.
Expansive, not Expensive!
Taking Another Look as Beaujolais Wine
WHAT CAN THE COLOUR OF YOUR WINE TELL YOU?
KING OF WINES. WINE OF KINGS.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STEMWARE TO MAKE YOUR WINE SING
What’s your style?
POPPING THE CORK ON THE THREE WAYS TO CREATE SPARKLING WINE
Pairing with tricky food styles doesn't have to put a halt to a great food and wine experience.
Are you feeling confused and mystified by all the "rules" of food and wine pairing? Let us help with our hints and tips.
Wine and chocolate can be paired together to create a perfect harmony in your mouth, but when pairing it is important to keep in mind...