Last March the blogger world, influencers and social butterflies were rolling through the fancy new Cathcart eating emporium, devouring bite-size samples of the food, and drinking all the drinks that the brand new food hall would be offering. We were rubbing shoulders with the brightest lights of Montreal’s social scene and when it was all said and done, we headed home, ready for the next main event…
Fast forward one year and many of us have lived through the most harrowing year of lives. From the anxiety of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, through social distancing, hand washing, breath holding, our lockdown-lite summer and the most isolated winter any of us have had to live through, the one thing that has gotten us through is wine. Delicious, warm-fuzzy-feeling-inducing wine. Ok, maybe more than wine got us through, but I’m not here to talk about those things.
I reached out to Caroline, Veronique and Vincent, three of my partners in restaurant-hopping crime to find out what they’ve been up to during our lockdown heavy lives, how wine has gotten them through and their top three wine hits of pandemic. These hard-hitting interviews and scientific research may help you all discover some new favourites as well.
UNCORKING WITH CAROLINE
Blair: Hi Caroline, how are you today? Do you miss me?
Caroline: Blair, I hate winter but I’m ok, I’m ok. I do miss you. When are we going to Paris? How are you?
Blair: I’m good, I have three questions for you about what you’ve been doing over the last little while and wine. You remember wine right?
Caroline: Yes, of course I do.
B: So, what have you been up to been up to all these months?
C: I actually became a mom over the past few months, so I learned to slow down and run on only a few hours of sleep at night. I am now madly in love with my little Maximiliano, he definitely puts a smile on my face every day!
Other than that, I’ve been cooking a lot and trying new recipes, discovering new flavours. I have also enrolled in a Fashion course online, something that had been on my mind for a few years now.
B: How did wine help thorough all of this?
I was blackout drunk the whole time (Oh my god, I’m kidding, that part was added my me, Blair)
C: I actually couldn’t drink for a while since I was pregnant and so I was really looking forward to that first glass after giving birth. Not drinking for so long has changed my relationship with wine, I now drink less often and I definitely appreciate it more. I look forward to our wine nights at home now, and I love it that way!
B: Which wines are your biggest hits?
I discovered so many over the past months! Again, drinking less often pushes you to choose better wines.
My first is a private import Orange wine called Biancofongoli from Umbria. It surprises at first, especially if you are not used to orange wine, but it’s very smooth and refreshing, perfect to go with oysters or seafood.
I would say I also fell in love with Barolo wines lately. Since these are more on the pricey side, I would recommend Marchesi di Barolo Barbaresco, it’s an entry level wine in this category that pairs well with meat because of its okay and earthy notes.
Finally, I have enjoyed a few bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne over the past months, and I never get tired of it ( who doesn’t love champagne?) I love that it always feels so special and festive to open a bottle of Veuve, and I’m among the lucky ones that never gets a headache from drinking bubbly. Plus, we need more reasons to celebrate life these days and I think opening a bottle of champagne can make anyone feel festive instantly!
WE CONTINUE GUZZLING WITH VÉRONIQUE
Blair: What have you been up to all these months?
Véro: I would love to tell you that I’ve completed a million projects, taken up new hobbies and more activities than I could possibly dream of but instead I will tell you the truth. Since the beginning of the pandemic, my daily life has boiled down to changing diapers, preparing meals for my son (that always end up on the floor) and picking up toys. So much fun (NOT)! How I wish I had time to bake bread and do puzzles… But hey, I was the one who decided to have a child, so I’m going to stop complaining.
B: How did wine help?
V: Oh Gawd, I probably wouldn’t be alive (or would have killed Frank…) if I didn’t have wine in my life. So, I would say that the wine saved my life, nothing less! But, I still imposed myself a limit of 2 drinks a day, so as not to go overboard. It’s easy to go overboard if you’re not careful.
B: Which are your biggest hits?
V: Since the beginning of the pandemic I have challenge myself on buying only “new” wines (which I have never tasted), so I’ve made lots of great discoveries (and bad ones too, let’s say…) during the last year. My 3 favourites: Lâche Moi La Grappe (Chardonnay from France), Ambrato Di Montemalo (Orange from Italy) and ATMA (white wine from Greece).
GIVING UP ON GETTING VINCENT TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS
Vincent didn’t actually respond to my questions, so I’ve had this virtual interview with myself on behalf of Vincent, virtually.
Blair: Hi Vincent, long time no see.
Vincent: Same, how are you?
B: I’m feeling pretty good. I have a glass of wine here with me.
V: It’s 9:30 in the morning.
B: I’m kidding. So, what have you been up to all these months?
V: Not much, a lot of thrift shopping. Working on my brand. Starting fights on Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Trying to get into bars, you know me. Also, I’m not really a brand person but I do like to spend my time online thrift shopping. I’ve been having a wonderful time living on the Plateau while you three breath in the fresh air of the south shore.
B: How has wine gotten you through the empty days?
V: I love wine more than anything. Except thrift shopping in second hand stores, I love that more.
B: Which wines have you discovered?
V: I just usually go to the depanneur or the grocery store and pick something up there. I’ll open it while I’m doing my grocery shopping. You have to stay hydrated. I’ve discovered nothing new in wines but I’ve made some significant purchases while thrift shopping.
B: Well, not-Vincent, I bet the next time I ask you to answer questions, you will do it.