Billy’s Online Wine School: Week 2

Welcome to Billy’s Online Wine School. Drink your way through my 2010 Billy’s Best Book ““ a bottle or two at a time, in the comfort of your own pad. Just follow the instructions and you’ll be a wine wizard by Easter. And thanks to all who got through lesson 1 and wrote in.

LESSON 2:~  It’s the mood/situation that makes a wine “˜good’ ““ NOT personal taste.

You might find this a bit shocking but this is one of the most important things you can learn about wine. Personal taste tries to keep you in your comfort zone, depriving you of the potential magic of the moment. But you can overcome the limitations of personal taste simply by being more in the mood of the moment. When the wine is right for the moment you, and your friends, will enjoy it. Regardless of personal taste.

This week I’d like you to buy two styles of wine to illustrate this point. Two contrasting whites, each with the potential to hit the spot after work ““ depending on your mood. One is a “˜refresher’, the other a “˜relaxer’. Refrigerate and open both wines ““ pour a small glass of each before supper and see which works best for you.

Repeat the exercise on the next, and the next evening. Always noting how one wine works better than the other. But, and this is the lesson, your fondness is likely change from evening to evening, depending on your need for relaxation or refreshment. The moment/mood will determine the best wine, and over ride personal taste.

Mezzacorona 08 Pinot Grigio, Trentino, Italy 302380 $12.60~  page 58
Alternative:~  Winzer Krems 08 Gruner Veltliner, Austria 589002 $10.75~  page 53

Henry of Pelham 07 Non-Oaked Chardonnay, VQA Niagara 291211 $13.15~  page 83
(Alternative: Ruffino 08 Orvieto, Umbria, Italy~  31062 $11.50~  page 78

Tags from the story
Written By
More from Kato

The Wine Bar Rocks!

Last night the WINE BAR celebrated their grand opening ““ and the...
Read More


  • Just a note to let you know how much we are enjoying your wine school. I have been a fan of yours for many years and subscribed to the wineletter many years ago now. I work at the Dundas Animal Hospital with a group of women who love their wine, so 4 of us and our spouses will be following your school for the rest of the year. I must say that the first week was a real winner. A few are opting out this week because they drink nothing but red but will be back on board next week.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Wanda and I took week two’s relaxer / refresh exercise together.

    Perhaps both nights we needed a refresher rather than a relaxer because on both evenings we enjoyed the Mezzacorona 08 Pinot Grigio more than the Henry of Pelham 07 Non-Oaked Chardonnay.

    Both are very good wines.

    The Pinot Grigio was a zinger for sure. Lots of citrus, very fresh and lively. Easy to sip on and get in the mod to relax with.

    The Henry of Pelham 07 Non-Oaked Chardonnay had a bit more body, some citrus and mineral notes that just made it a little less attractive.

    Here is a photo I took of our two unopened bottles just before we began the tastings.

    Gary Killops

  • Sorry to keep posting but I just have to mention this about the Henry of Pelham Chard.

    This one really does have a big mineral taste. I haven’t tasted this in too many Ontario white wines. There was about a glass left in the bottle so I pour it at lunch today. The mineral taste is even stronger today and also note some sulphur taste.

    It is an interesting wine, and I actually am enjoying these mineral taste.

  • What an interesting lesson. Thoroughly enjoyable, thanks.

    I discovered that most times, I preferred the Pinot Grigio because I found it refreshing. The Chardonnay was a strong (acidic, maybe) except. Except when I was relaxed and happy, then I really enjoyed it. I try to be a locavore, so I really, really wanted to prefer the Chardonnay which made this lesson all the more intriguing.

    Thanks again.

  • Tried the 3 together on 4 nights (2 weekdays, 2 weekends). I tried to lose my preconceptions that I don’t like Chardonnays, but I definitely prefered the Pinot each night. Maybe I’m just always in the mood for something bright and crisp.

    Interestingly, I did find that I enjoyed the Chardonnay when I tried it away from the Pinot, later on one of the nights. Didn’t love it, but I could appreciate the mellowness a little better.

    How fun!

Leave a Reply