Our sommelier for The Common, Véronique Rivest, is coming back to unveil our new wine list at the next UnCommon Pours event. This time, she's joining guests in the South Aisle of The Market to chat about wine while you sip + snack on favourites from the Food Hall.
Aside from being incredibly knowledgable about wine and beer, Véronique is warm, friendly, and passionate about giving great customer service—and being able learn from her has been an amazing experience for all of The Common staff. They learned a lot during training, and we've summed up a few fun tips and tricks from the wine master herself for all you wine lovers out there.
ON THE MENU
When creating and curating our wine list at The Common, Véronique dedicated her focus to terrior wines, which she describes as “wines that taste like where they’re from.” This means a flavourful end product that is the culmination of factors like elevation, weather, soil and tradition. These are not wines that have been altered to taste the exact same year after year, and bottle after bottle.
Véronique also sourced wines that are well-made, sustainably and organically-farmed, with minimal intervention and made with integrity. The list also features a diverse selection of countries, styles, varieties and price points. In her words, “You’re careful of what you eat, why shouldn’t you be careful of the wine you drink?”
ON THE BOTTLE
At The Common we serve our wines by the glass, but Véronique shares some valuable vino advice when selecting a bottle. To summarize:
- A corked bottle doesn’t necessarily mean a better bottle of wine. Véronique’s preferences are screw caps and real corks (followed lastly by synthetic corks).
- The weight of a bottle has no relation to the quality of the wine. Heavy bottles are “passe” and bad for the environment (as they cost more for transportation and cause higher gas consumption). “I’d rather the producer put their money in the wine than the packaging,” says Véronique.
- Labels need not be fancy or over-designed, but they should be informative. If a label says the wine has been ‘aged in barrels’, it’s useful to know which kind.
ON TASTING NOTES
When tasting wine, Véronique says you must draw from what you know. If the label describes lychee, but you’ve never had lychee before, you’re not wrong when you instead say it reminds you of your grandmother’s perfume. We can draw from our own smells, flavours and tastes to experience wine. For example, the petrol aroma that is present in some rieslings might remind one person of the smell of the boat’s motor when fishing with grandad.
When talking the talk, Véronique reminds us that a wine described as “fruity” does not necessarily mean sweet. Wine can be very fruity, yet dry. A common way to describe minerality is the smell of wet rocks after rain.
We love Véronique's totally unpretentious approach to wine. “Wine likes wine,” she says – explaining that at her wine bar, SOIF, in Gatineau, you don’t change your glass between orders. The rigid, seemingly trivial and outdated rules of wine tasting have no place in V’s world.
Market Eats: Fries of The Forks Market “I have one rule about pairing wine with food: eat what you like and drink what you like, and you’ll be happy.”
This is perhaps the single rule Véronique most lives her life by (she notes that her husband prefers a tannic red with his seafood and chicken, a combination most would tell you is wrong). She also explains how certain foods can react with wine – if you’re pairing a steak with a tannic red, a well-done steak will harden the tannins, while a steak cooked rare will make those same tannins melt “like velvet.”
Ending on a sweet note, Véronique speaks on the golden rule of dessert: the wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert you are enjoying it with.
Get your tickets to UnCommon Pours V02 while they're still available.