Good Libations With Astrid Young
Sommelier Astrid Young's picks for summer are fresh and versatile and often outperform wines that cost twice as much
In Hindu mythology Uma represents the power of light. Fittingly, Argentina’s newest wine is named after the Hindu goddess, possessing many of the qualities she is renowned for, including excellent balance.
“Uma Torrontes is a great new wine that’s being released just at the time when people are hitting the patios and heading to the cottage,” says sommelier Astrid Young. “It’s a crisp, white wine that features the fruity aromas of melon balanced with delicate floral notes. It’s a lovely wine for summer. And at $9.95 a bottle, it offers great value.”
A sommelier with more than 20 years experience, Astrid has gained valuable recognition in both Canada and the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. A dedicated member of the wine trade, she predicts Uma will become an exceptionally popular wine because of its versatility.
“Torrontes is a white grape variety which has origins in Argentina,” Astrid says. “It shows lovely stone fruit and melon characteristics, and has a tiny bit of sweetness to it, which makes it a great match for anything spicy or fatty. It’s a simple wine with lots of flavor, so it’s great for pairing or to enjoy on its own.”
Ideal for enhancing the flavour of grilled food, Yalumba Y Series Shiraz Viognier is one of Astrid’s favourite wines from the oldest family-owned and operated winery in Australia.
“Viognier is a white grape which is traditionally used in France for blending with Syrah in wines from the northern Rhone Valley,” Astrid explains. “Yalumba is an homage to that style of wine but it’s much less in-your-face than many overly alcoholic shirazes.
Featuring great structure with fine tannins and good acidity (an aspect of the small percentage of Viognier used in the blend), the Yalumba Y Series Shiraz is a fantastic food wine according to Astrid.
“It’s great with steaks, burgers, ribs – anything you throw on the barbecue will make this wine sing! At just $14.95, it too offers great value and often outperforms wines which cost over twice as much.”
Referring to it as one of life’s simple and pure pleasures, Astrid, who is the sister of the iconic Canadian musician Neil Young and daughter of the famous writer Scott Young, is quick to point out that irregardless of it being a $10 or $40 bottle, wine is something for people to enjoy, not be intimidated by.
“I get really enthused about people trying new wines or being drawn to wine when in the past, it was something they never thought they would enjoy. To me, that’s really exciting and reveals the possibility of wine.”
If you’re interested in tastings, seminars and private events, you can contact Astrid at email@example.com.
“I also conduct wine tours to Napa Valley where I lived for many years and salute for peaking my interest in wine,” Astrid says.
“Like the Stones sing in Sweet Virginia,” she laughs, “thank you for your wine California.”
|You can read more about Astrid’s book Being Young at Insomniac Press.|
Carol Lawless is a writer and editor with more than 25 years experience. She lives in Peterborough with her daughters Grace and Joan and their beagle, Lally.