Mike Fish is a guy who definitely knows a thing or two about a good Riesling and what makes for an excellent Chardonnay.
On Dec. 10, the local co-owner of London restaurant Glassroots, sommelier and Our London wine columnist was out sharing some of that knowledge with customers at the Beaverbrook Avenue Farm Boy.
With the festive season shifting into high gear, he was there to talk with customers about holiday entertaining, wine pairings and to help guide them in making holiday wine choices.
Like many grocery stores in Ontario, Farm Boy is newly stocked with wine, so Fish was invited to share his expertise.
Despite the growing popularity of wine, Fish said there are still a lot of misconceptions out there. One of the biggest is around Ontario and local wines. "The reds aren’t very good or that the wines are sweet, things like that,” said Fish. “I also talk a lot about food pairings for Christmas dinners — try and break the mould around the white with white meat and red with red meat kind of thing. There’s lots more versatility to it than that,” he added.
“Because we are in entertaining season, we talk a lot about sparkling wines and high end, expensive champagnes versus cheaper, more affordable prosecco and stuff like that. Trying to help guide people through what they are after and getting the most value for their money.”
One question Fish always finds people have at this time of year is what makes for a good Christmas wine. His quick answer to that is always a nice sparking wine or champagne, especially when you have lots of people around to share it with. “I think anything with bubbles is kind of ubiquitous with the holiday season and approaching New Year's especially.”
Fish finds today’s wine drinkers are generally better educated than they used to be, but still one of the best ways to learn more is to ask those in the know or just to get out and try new varieties themselves.
“I think one of the most fun things about buying wine is not being sure. If it’s a good producer from a good year and it’s a good grape, it’s not going to be a bad bottle of wine. It might not be your favourite, but it’s the only way you’re going to learn your tastes and learn about the regions and what styles you like and what you don’t.’