I’ve got one eye on the Olympics, and the other on my tasting notes. Canada’s collection of medals is on the rise. I applaud our Olympic athletes; even volleyball never looked like this when I was in high school!
OK…now to focus.
This Vintages release at the LCBO is offering products called “The Next Big Thing” – how catchy is that? Germany gets some spotlight especially on their Riesling wines. Having just been on a trip to Niagara, I have to admit that I find our own Rieslings impossible to beat. And as for the “Next Big Thing,” I’ve found a few wines in this blog that you can sip while watching the final weekend of the Olympic games.
Cave de Jolimont, Switzerland
$17.95 (Vintages #385021) 11.5% alcohol
I rarely have the opportunity to taste Swiss wine but this is worth the search if you like a light-bodied, delicate, pretty white wine. I learned that the Chasselas grape is golden in colour and is often referred to by Swiss winemakers as “goldilocks”. The result is a light bodied white wine with floral tree fruit flavours, some citrus at the end that adds interest to the bone dry skinny finish. It would pair well with raclette or a cheese tray with creamy soft brie-type cheeses. Chilled well, it makes a lovely sipper for a hot summer afternoon.
Did you know? The Chasselas grape has a long intriguing history. It’s genesis is in eastern France and the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Known by different names from Fendant to Valais, this grape variety can be found in monastic records dating before the 1600’s. Although grown in the Pouilly-Fume region in France, it is considered a lowly cousin, but it continues to grow throughout Europe and is by far Switzerland’s most planted varietal. It buds early and has lots of vigor. It is not an acidic grape so it is often blended with other more forthcoming varietals.
IGT Delle Venezie, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #37648) 12.5% alcohol
If I had to choose one grape variety for summer sipping, hands down, the versatile Pinot Grigio would steal the show. It will take you from mid-afternoon aperitif to late evening. Chilled down, it’s cool and refreshing. This particular Pinot Grigio is the perfect example. I find it especially aromatic and the dancing zippy flavours on the palate from lemon-lime citrus to green apple are crisp and delicious. There’s a little steeliness on the finish – this is a good thing. To be paired with summer salads, fish, chicken or put a bottle in the picnic basket – it’s a great summer wine.
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Stoney Ridge Estate Winery
$24.95 (Vintages #411595) 13% alcohol
The date of this release, 20 August, marks sadly the final concert performance of The Tragically Hip. This limited edition red wine is being released to commemorate The Hip announcement of the re-release of their legendary album Fully Completely and the band’s last North American Tour. This wine is the ideal way to celebrate the band’s rise to stardom and to toast lead singer Gord Downie.
One waft from the glass offers unmistakably fresh Cabernet Franc and luscious aromas of ripe red berries in a traditional Meritage blend. Combined with the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes the melange is full, rounded and delivers effortlessly, huge juicy dark ripe tree fruit, whispers of blueberries with subtle savoury undertones. A hint of green pepper and black pepper polishes it off. The tannins are soft but noticeable, medium bodied and balanced with tobacco and a little mocha on a juicy finish. The finale is long and memorable.
Did you know? The artistic label on the bottle is a replication of the original artwork that first appeared on the Fully Completely album cover. The wine was also co-created by band members in conjunction with Stoney Ridge Head Winemaker (and Savvy friend), Jeff Hundertmark. For Tragically Hip fans, make sure you grab a few bottles. As I mentioned…this is a limited edition in more ways than one and it’s going to fly off the shelves.
DOC, Puglia, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #717959) 13.5% alcohol
Juicy, rich and fresh ripe red fruit with whispers of a little mocha and chocolate. Medium to full bodied with well-integrated tannins and fine tuned acidity. I could not believe the price point and this is also on my hit-list. Easy drinking and well-crafted. It’s more than just a pizza wine. It’s a red wine that would span anything from a charcuterie plate to a prime rib roast. Pick up and store a few bottles for heartier fare this winter (yes, the W word!) or enjoy it now with BBQd portobello or burgers.
Did you know? Straight from Puglia, located in the southeast corner of Italy where there are 25 DOCs, not DOCGs (spot the difference?). The major red grapes are Negroamaro which has been planted since the 6th century and Malvasia grapes which have been known to soften the tannins of the former. The Salice Salentino region vineyards are surrounded by water on three sides allowing cool breezes from the Mediterranean to moderate vineyard temperatures.
$16.95 (Vintages #394288) 13.5% alcohol
I recommended a Gérard Bertrand Viognier in my last blog, so when I saw this red wine, I was already ready for another quality wine from this winemaker. Full and rounded, black currants spring to the surface with deep dark concentrated black fruit, in the aromas and on the palate. An always robust favourite blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre that have been aged 12 months in oak barrels that lends to the rich, easy drinking with a polished texture, a little pepper and friendly liquorice on the finish – loads of personality. A marbled grilled steak would be perfect with a glass of this wine!
Did you know? Gérard Bertrand was awarded the title of Red Winemaker of the Year in 2012 at the International Wine Challenge. He retired from his rugby career to take over the family estate after the accidental death of his father. He has become a renowned wine grower and winemaker in Langedoc-Rousillon region. Clay and limestone soils with a kaleidoscope of climates and temperatures constitute the terroir Corbières that stretches from the Pyrenees to the Montagne Noir. The wine literally comes with a message of the terroir. Plus it’s a pretty nice country to do some sightseeing & wine touring.
Grand Total: $ 90.75
Look what I have saved you!
TIP: If you can find an extra $13.00, I recommend to add a bottle of Sunnybrook Estate Series Strawberry Wine 2014 ($22.95- Vintages#). Made in Niagara, if you love ripe Ontario strawberries, here is a way to enjoy them all year round.
Go Canada Go! We’re cheering you on,