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Liquid Nirvana: One sip at a time

Michelle DaCruz
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Apr 17/02) - It doesn't matter if you spit or swallow - it all comes down to technique.

Take a five ounce glass, pour it one third full, swirl it to release the bouquet and really get your nose into it. Inhale deeply. After your first sip savour the initial burst of flavour.

NNSL Photo

Carl Bird proudly displays his most prized bottle of vino. La Source, a 1998 Bordeaux from Du Chateau de Sours in France is aging nicely in his make-shift wine cellar. - Michelle DaCruz/NNSL photo

The second sip requires concentration and a lot of practice. It's the old sip and suck. Pull the crimson liquid onto your tongue and at the same time draw in oxygen quickly and purposely.

Your whole mouth will be awash in taste. It will travel to the back of your tongue, the part brimming with taste buds, onto the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat. It is during this second sip that you truly get the full experience of the wine.

Carl Bird tastes wine like he has just kissed his true love. His eyes sparkle, he cradles the stem of the glass affectionately and becomes lost in a landscape of liquid nirvana. As area secretary of NWT chapter of the Opimian Society, Bird has to taste wines and give his recommendations to the society's headquarters in Montreal. Tough job.

The wine society boasts 11,000 members across the country, and 67 in the NWT. Wine lovers pay a $30 initiation fee and $67 annual dues.

The membership gets them a catalogue of wines to purchase seven times a year, and delivery of the world's top vintages to a depot in their community.

"The attraction is access to wines that might not be available at your local liquor store," said Bird.

Membership also provides access to events like informal tastings with small groups at members' homes, to gourmet dinners at swanky night spots.

"The next event will likely be a tasting at my home, and possibly an Italian wine tasting in June at the Department of Defense's mess hall," said Berg.

His own collection, spread throughout his apartment and make-shift wine seller in the bowels of the building, boasts 200 labels.

His most prized bottle, La Source, a 1998 Bordeaux from Du Chateau de Sours in France. This one won't be hitting the glass or tongue any time soon. Bird is waiting for it to perfectly mature.

Bird's other favourites are burgundy, beaujolais, Austrian vintages, and Canadian ice wines.