Last week Gary Killops of the Essex Wine Review invited us to attend the Ontario Wine Tasting Society’s monthly tasting at the Royal Canadian Legion.  The society has a Windsor Essex chapter and each month they get together and blind taste wines from around the world. 

The crowd was a mix of local winery owners, sommeliers and people who just love wine.  Every month has a different theme and tonight’s was Pinots.  Each table blind tasted 6 wines, compared tastes, colour, discussed grape varietals and then rated each wine based on which they liked best. 

There’s never a wrong answer when you’re tasting wine.  Everyone’s tastes at the table were varied.  What I thought was at the bottom of my list in terms of taste, made it as #1 on someone else’s.   When you bring the glass to your nose to take in the first sense, anything goes.  Answers varied from caramel, oak and leather.   

After each tasting, Gary engages the group in a discussion as to what they think the origin of the wine might be.  Is it Old World?  New World?  Maybe it’s a California wine, or perhaps from France. 

At the end of the evening, the numbers are tallied and “gold”, “silver” and “bronze” winners are announced.

The wines tasted on evening ran the gamut in taste and price.  We had a modestly priced bottle of Montes Pinot from Chile ($14.95), a local Gamay from Colio Estate Winery and high end Gevery Chambourtin from Burgundy ($46).  In between were pinots from California, Oregon, and Niagara. 

But at the end of the evening, it was a 2009 California Russian River Valley wine the majority of the group preferred and that came out on top.

It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about and taste various wines from around the world and meet new people who shared the same passion for the vine.

“You normally don’t get to sit down and taste 6 different Pinots,” explained Allison Christ, who is enrolled in a Master Taster program. “It gives you the opportunity to get a good taste of different regions.”

For those interested in participating, membership for the Windsor Essex chapter of the Ontario Wine Tasting Society is $40 a year and $15 a month to participate in the monthly tastings.  If you just want to join in on a session the cost is $20 a month for non members.

Their next tasting takes place March 5, 2012 at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. For more information contact Gary Killops at