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The 3 steps of wine tasting according to sommelier Jessica Harnois

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She is a true sommelier not only in Quebec, but throughout the world. She has made boldness a life principle and demonstrates great authenticity, unequivocal charisma and undeniable beauty in every project she undertakes. Interview with the very likeable Jessica Harnois.


From a young age, there was no doubt in Jessica Harnois’ mind that she would work in the delightful world of wine. Having first made her mark as a sommelier at Toqué! a restaurant that pioneered gourmet cuisine made with local and seasonal products, Jessica then worked at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago and at Tetsuya in Sydney, Australia. Upon returning home, she subsequently held the prestigious role of head sommelier as the buyer of prestige wines for the SAQ Signature banner of the Société des alcools du Québec.

As an entrepreneur, her name is now synonymous with success, authenticity and quality as her Bù wines, which arrived in supermarkets and the SAQ in 2016, quickly charmed wine lovers. To date, more than 14 million bottles have been sold. With a knack for business, she launched the book Santé! in 2020, a blend of her background and advice on alcoholic beverages, with an obvious penchant for wine. Exceptionally humble, Jessica admits to being grateful for the people who have contributed to her success. “I admit that I had the privilege of being surrounded by extraordinary people who taught me the values that forged my career, including authenticity, respect, rigor and transparency. “


Having participated in the democratization of wine in Quebec, she admits that she wants to educate people to drink better by savoring each moment. “To taste a wine, you have to take a moment to stop, to observe it well, to reconnect and to take a moment to accept all that the wine has to offer us.In moderation, wine can provide many benefits to our physical and mental health,” she says. Although the impact of alcohol on health is very complex, several studies have shown that a moderate amount of red wine is associated with a significant decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease and has a relaxing effect. Red wines contain a significant amount of polyphenols, a molecule with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties


Her many projects reflect without a doubt the desire of the sommelier to democratize quality wines. “I want to simplify and make wine tasting more accessible to everyone. This is the reason behind Vin Mystère, the wine tasting game that we have developed. This game offers the possibility to discover a bottle per game by relying on its visual and taste properties, its grape variety, its vintage, etc. “says Jessica.

According to Jessica Harnois, to get the most out of the wine we drink, we should taste with…


First, look at the color of the wine, paying close attention to where the wine stops to assess the age and strength of the product. A powerful color translates into a powerful wine in the mouth. The color of a white wine becomes more orange with age while a red wine becomes lighter.


Take a moment to breathe in the aromas of the wine. A fruity smell without woody aromas represents fruity, minerals, floral or herbaceous aromas. Wood gives the wine cinnamon and clove aromas.


There are 4 elements to watch out for from your first sip: sugar, acidity, tannins and bitterness. A sweet wine often translates in the mouth into a cul-de-poule while acidity reveals itself by a grin on the side of the cheeks. A tightening of the taste buds represents a wine loaded with tannins while the taste of bitterness is comparable to when we eat a piece of dark chocolate.

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