Tag Archives: Niagara

Aborted Crop Tour – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

26 May

I arrived at the lake this past weekend with a mighty thirst after battling the throngs straggling north from Toronto. And, the tradition is that as soon as you turn on to the cottage road, you have to open a beer. Yes, a brown rocket, a road pop, a traveller as we used to call them. It just seems like the right thing to do and I haven’t driven the car off the very narrow and hilly cottage road yet.

A trusted traveller from the past

But there was an issue – stop the truck, pop the back, rifle through the spring stock-up and pull out a warm beer. Oh yeah, and suffer the ubiquitous black flies as they gnaw on my all too too sullied flesh (not many wine blogs can weave in Hamlet, yeah?) ….. So this time, “To hell with tradition. No beer en route.”

One year, a friend and I popped into the mother ship in Washago to pick up some cold beer on our way in. We got it to the counter when I discovered that it wasn’t twist off but required a bottle opener. I said to my friend, “Wait, we won’t be able to open that in the car,” and my friend switched out the beer for a more accessible brand. The cashier looked at us and said, “You’re kidding, right? Because if you’re not, I shouldn’t sell this to you.” We assured her that we were just foolin’ around. But, lesson learned.

We arrived at the cottage, unpacked, made the bed, turned on the water pump, checked for squirrels (I hate squirrels), put the groceries (read: wine and liquor) away, and The Director headed down to the dock to catch a few rays. But what to have with dinner? It’s never too early to consider the implications of a great pairing or of a disastrous one. But suffice it to say, I wanted rosé regardless of food. And, it just so happened that I had brought up a bottle of the 2016 Whispering Angel #325076 $26.95. Reflect back on my ringing endorsement of this wine here. This is great rosé! I don’t kid around.

This week’s release (May 27) focuses on Southern Italy. This is in my sweet spot but I haven’t had any of the offerings, save the one below – so maybe after I’ve tried a few, I’ll let you know. Instead we are just going to have a wander around the rest of the world. Before I start, just a heads up that there are two rosés this week. Both are recommended each year – the 2016 Château La Tour de l’Évêque Rosé #319392 $18.95 and 2016 Gassier Sables d’Azur Rosé #033621 $16.95. These are both Côtes de Provence and available for the next few months usually. Great crisp summer rosés – nervy, fresh, dry. Can be paired with salads, light BBQ and great with fish or seafood. I enjoy the La Tour so much that I asked for a bottle for Christmas and, damn if I didn’t get one! Shout out to S & B.

Sardinia is included in the Southern Italy feature and an Essentials red is the 2014 Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva #425488 $14.95. Cannonau is Sardinian for Grenache, Garnacha. This is a rustic, gutsy wine – so, food is a must – maybe ribs, pork something or other. Its medium plus body, leathery finish and Garnacha fruit make it a solid value. It’s on sale now ($2 off) at the price above.

A 2010 Bordeaux can be a beaut. 2010 was the third or was it fourth “Vintage of The Century.” It’s hard to keep track of those expert self-promoters, Les Bordelaise. This week there’s a relatively cheap 2010 – Château Blaignan #416727 $21.95. This wine doesn’t need any more time down below although could withstand a couple more years, if you’re so inclined. It’s ready for pop and pour. Smooth, well balanced – perhaps a bit lighter than I was expecting. Bordeaux blend scents of cassis. Some oakiness dissipates after a swallow or two. Good value in Bordeaux.

I’m sounding a bit like a broken record because I’ve recommended the 2005 Balbas Reserva #085183 $21.95 a gazillion times. Sandalwood or cedar on the nose (I know there’s a difference there but I can’t tell), loads of warmth and structure still. Very youthful for a wine that’s already over 10 years old. Impress someone with this as a host(ess) gift.

While I was at the cottage, I popped the cork on a bottle of the 2014 Henry of Pelham Speck family Reserve Baco Noir #461699 $24.95. This is a substantial wine. I’m not sure if any of you Ontarians out there can remember when the first few vintages of Malivoire’s Old Vines Foch came out. Oh, it almost made you giddy. It still kind of does for me. Well, this is in that class. A lesser known and modestly vinted grape masterfully delivered. Dates and jamminess. This has an almost port-like finish. Nuts and dark fruits. Henry of Pelham makes a decent entry level Back Noir as well. But, once you’ve had this, you’re not going back there.

Let me know if you have any illegal traditions involving vacations. I can’t be the only one.

Cheers.

Bill

Young Bruce and The Rosé/White Daily Slosh

9 May

This day (May 9) in 1974, Bonnie Raitt played a concert at Harvard Square in Cambridge Mass. The opening act was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Rolling Stone critic John Landau saw Springsteen and wrote, ” I have seen rock n’ roll’s future and his name is Bruce Springsteen.” The Boss looks so young in this video.

There’s a thing that I perceive in wine circles. I’m not sure if it has a real name so I’ll call it ‘wine agnosticism’. It means that wine peeps don’t give too much bias to a certain wine variety. What I mean is that wine peeps seem to appreciate all wines. It’s kind of like a code. You’re supposed to be accepting of every mainstream wine and adventuresome on the not-so-mainstream varieties, if you want to call yourself a wine geek. My impression is that it’s a personal failing if you can’t find anything good to say about a whole class or a single variety of wine. Particularly, if it’s a sample. Sort of like foodies – do they have to like everything as a requirement for their Foodie Membership Card? Not many restaurant reviews start off with, “I didn’t try the oysters as I can’t stand them.” See what I mean.

Confession: I don’t appreciate all wines no matter how well done they are. Big, brash, oaked Cab Sav? Not for me; no matter how cultish or expensive they might be. Cava? Sorry, unless I’m in Spain, I’m going for another type of bubbly. There are others as well. Not many but a couple. And, oh yeah, the biggest none starter for me is Pinot Grigio. And don’t tell me that I just haven’t had the good ones. I have.

So, does this mean that I have to surrender my wine creds? Do I have to appreciate all wines to have a wine blog? I’ll let you decide. Be gentle.

Why the ramble? Well, this week’s (May 13th) release features saké. Now, I’ve had saké as a matter of politesse at an Asian restaurant. Oh, and I bought a bunch when I visited the Toronto saké company – Izumi – in the Distillery District. But, I don’t get it, really. I approach it like a book that’s frustratingly difficult to get in to – I’m not going to run out of good books to read/wine to drink, so why put myself through this? Could be why War and Peace is still on the shelf. So folks, no saké for you!

When people outside of Canada think of Canadian wines, they probably think Inniskillin and/or ice wine. Indeed, Inniskillin is a fixture of domestically and internationally marketed Canadian wine. They have holdings in the Okanagan as well as Niagara and slay it with many of their labels. This week, there’s the Niagara Peninsula 2014 Inniskillin Reserve Riesling #034025 $18.95. This is dry with loads of green apples and tree fruit. Crisp – serve chilled with seafood or munchies. Could develop nicely over time if you want to cellar. If you buy the Flat Rock Nadja’s Vineyard (which I do), this is a nice example of the differences site provides. The result is significantly more minerally in Nadja and more accessible fruit up front in Innikillin’s take. Cool

Another white that would line up nicely for upcoming summer dinners is the 2014 Tom Gore Chardonnay #458810 $19.95. This is a straight up California Chard with some butter and yet a really nice crisp finish. Nary a syrupy note that sometimes rears it’s head with some of these wines.

 

 

In a recent post, I sang the praises of rosé and recommended some worthy efforts in the new vintage. This week, I need to add a couple more. The 2016 Domaine des Carteresses Tavel Rosé #739474 $17.95 is a beaut. Tavel for me is the pink that I quaff after dark. It is so much more forthright than most rosés. Big on the swirl and the swallow but dry, strawberry goodness. Hint of garrigue. This is for you red drinkers out there that eschew rosés as insipid or light-weight. Pick it up and if you don’t like it, send the unfinished bottle to me.

The other pink newly available this week is another wine from Provence; more correctly stated AP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence – the 2016 Saint Aix Rosé #490904 $45.95.  Before you dismiss it as too expensive, remember it’s a 1500 ml bottle. For Bill, he just has to remember how many Whispering Angels he purchased last week @ $26.95 to understand the value. BTW, Whispering Angels are not the new dance troupe at the Beef Baron Gentleman’s Club. Think how impressive that big bottle of Aix would be sitting on your patio table, very quickly draining – causing just a little concern among your fiends as to your drinking habits. Don’t be too hard on yourself. This is good shit and deserves a quick demise. Similar to my earlier posted Provence rosé, this is crisp, bone dry, and full of cherries, strawberries and perhaps many other easily suggestible red fruits. Go ahead and say raspberry and watch everyone nod their heads, “Yeah, I catch the raspberry too,” they’ll say. Sophisticated wine.

I’ll be back later in the week with a few reds to pick up.

Cheers

Bill

Remember: You can check your city’s inventory by clicking on the link (SKU and Price), dropping down the ‘Cities” menu, choosing your burg, and clicking on Find Stores.

 

Are You OK? The Rainbow Daily Slosh

14 Apr

Had to put this in today. We are seeing the Dixie Chicks on Tuesday. I like them. Could be the boots?

When I was studying at university (if you knew me then, you are laughing uncontrollably now), the pop wisdom was reflected in books like I’m OK, You’re OK and How To Be Your Own Best Friend. The thinking was that our problems stemmed from a lack of self-love. I remember talking to a criminal client who had assaulted his wife over and over again. He said to me with a straight face, “I can’t love myself, so how am I expected to love her.” Loving her, dude? Seriously, we are just aiming for not killing her.

I had thought that this philsophy of self-love had disappeared and a new more ‘enlightened but fleeting’ thinking had taken it’s place years ago. But, I was creeping Facebook the other day and was struck with the number of ‘Likes’ that had something to do with a saying roughly about loving yourself. Some were quite clever and others just trite and simple.

And, then I remembered all the commercials, usually aimed at women, that talked about loving who you are (and buying some of our shit) regardless of what you look like. Or, conversely, loving yourself because we make you look so darn great. Self-love actualized through shopping. I wish that the problems facing us today could be solved with a little self-love. Drop thousands of copies of How To Be Your Own Best Friend on Syria. Presto. Peace.

Regardless, I know that I’m mostly OK and, unfortunately for those around me, a bit flawed as well.

What’s this have to do wine. Not much really, I just wanted to ramble a bit before I discussed the juice.

This weekend’s release (April 15) has a load of great new wines (94 in all). A marketing focus on Mediterranean wines, Aussie whites, and some local talent is prevalent. On the local front, there’s the 2014 Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red #247882 $18.95. I tasted this wine at my golf club as a sample to evaluate for the ‘house red’. It’s a blend of Syrah (33%), Merlot (29%), Cabernet Franc (19%), and Back Noir (5%). It’s seen quite a bit of time in oak (17 mos.) and you can both smell and taste the effect of the barrel time. It’s still crisp and juicy with nice acidity and integrated tannins. I like it a lot and think it’s perfect for a ‘house’ wine. A very quaffable wine and a great example of how well HoP take care of their stuff. Good label always.

We have family that recommended this wine to me years ago. They buy a bunch of it. I got an early sample of it this past week. The 2013 Papale Linea Oro Primitivo di Mandurai #261784 $18.95 is a Puglian beauty. It reflects the heat of that region. When we were there a few years ago, we were struck by the breadth of the agricultural industry there. Olives tress as far as the eye could see, vines neatly organized in straight rows all over the countryside. This wine is made with the Primitivo (early ripening) grape which is a DNA match with Zinfandel. That’s scientist-speak for it’s the same thing. So, even though it’s treated a little less bigly here, it’s still chewy, big enough and fruity. I find these a little less one-dimensional than a similarly priced Zin and this is true to that experience. A great host(ess) wine and one that I’ll be stocking up on for the summer ahead, if it lasts that long. Shout out to S & P.

I believe that you can actually taste the Mediterranean sun in the rosés of Provence. But, a close second are the red wines of rest of Southern France. This week, there’s a real good example of that in the 2014 Michel Gassier Nostre Païs #295410 $21.95. This comes from Costières de Nïmes an AC in the Southern Rhone. So, think a blend similar to a Côtes du Rhône and in this case with a whack of Grenache and Syrah. This producer seldom disappoints through their whole portfolio but I like this effort as much as any of theirs. This reflects the garrigue in the glass and on the swallow with loads of black fruit. Moderately elevated ABV (probably due to the Grenache) but no real heat. Good short term cellar candidate. And, maybe you don’t taste the Mediterranean but you can smell it in this wine.

A couple of good efforts from Argentina are the 2015 Zuccardi Serie A Torrontés #389262 $16.95 – great extra dry big-nosed wine. Summer sipper by the lake. Has an Alsatian vibe to it.

And the 2014 Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon #135202 $19.95. A New World CS Full-bodied and structured with loads of fruit. This would make a good ‘house’ wine as well. Crowd pleaser.

A wine that I’m going to pick up:

2014 Tornatore Nerello Mascalese #487090 $21.95 – we are travelling to Sicily this September and I’m cramming on Sicilian wine. This wine is from the Etna Rosso DOC  which is a trending wine region right now. It’s made from, you guessed it, Nerello Mascelese. I’ve been reading John Szabo’s fabulous book Volcanic Wines, a fabulous book (he says redundantly) that’s as pretty as it is well-researched and informative. I’m going to write a post on some of the books that I’ve been reading lately. I love cramming. But, then again, I love me too. Well, today anyway. I’m OK.

Cheers

Bill

P.S It’s all about the boots.

 

Punkins and Porcupines – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

27 Oct

Heading to the Grand Theatre tonight to see a play/concert about Joni Mitchell. She is such a creative force. A poet, musician, painter, prairie girl, dulcimer player.

Halloween is coming up and it brings back memories of being dragged along by my boys from house to house. At one time, I would get a wee drink at each house in our neighbourhood. Verrrrry scary! The best memories are my oldest dressed as a porcupine – costume made from a paper bag, make-up whiskers, and straws. He knocked on our neighbours, recent immigrants, who clearly hadn’t gotten the memo about Halloween and didn’t know quite what to do with a kid dressed in a paper bag saying, “Trick or Treat” and not wanting to leave until he got his candy. They must have thought – WTF or the Urdu equivalent! Or, my youngest on his first walking Halloween, cautiously approaching the third or fourth door of the night, ringing the bell, almost apologetically murmuring “Trick or Treat”, receiving his treat, and then turning and running back to the street shouting, “Dad, THEY gave me candy too!” Where does that innocence go.

fermedumontSniffle, sniffle. Enough nostalgia. The wines released this month are a bit Bordeaux heavy and I haven’t had any of them so can’t comment. I’ll pick up a couple and see if I can choke down a bottle or two before my next release post. The other focus is blends and on that score, I’ve had the 2014 La Ferme du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhone #251645 $17.95. This is not to be confused with the red from this producer that I recommended last time here. This is their everyday wine. But, it doesn’t cheat in size or interest. Great value CdR that goes down easy and is perfect for a Friday night pizza or graze. On the graze, we have sworn off grazing on Friday nights – which is kinda like pledging to go to the gym – futile. Used to be our tradition – hummus, olives, Syrian flatbread, kibbi, grape tomatoes, loads of wine, and crappy Friday night TV fare.

chimeresStaying in the South of France, the 2014 Château Saint-Roch Chimères Côtes du Roussillon-Villages #119354 $19.95 is full-value as a GSM (60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre). Not all oaked up so the purity of the fruit, particularly the Grenache comes through. Moderate alcohol at 14% ABV. Loads of mature fruit, some garrigue, and even a bit of spice make this a great fall wine. Fresh. We had two vacations in the Languedoc- Roussillon and this wine represents that region magnificently. A sip takes me back to Rocquebrun (below).

Rocquebrun

michelgassierI hate to present too many wines with the same vibe or from the same region but I have to mention the 2013 Château de Nages Vieilles Vines Costières de Nîmes #040964 $19.95. Quick test: What ubiquitous product was invented and first used in Nîmes? I’ll award the first correct answer (no Google allowed) with a first edition copy of my new novel, hitting bookshelves everywhere in 2034. This wine is seemingly an annual pick on these pages. Michel Gassier seldom disappoints and this is no exception. Another GSM with a hint of Carignan which contributes to a structured, solid wine. This is oaked a bit – dark, biggish, anise, herbs. Another great value – stew wine.

flatrockWas in Niagara last week – will post on my visits soon. I didn’t visit Flat Rock but will next time. This Saturday, there’s their 2013 Flat Rock Chardonnay #286278 $18.95. This is a consistent Chard with just a hint of oak – in the bit of creaminess on the finish. Mostly, it’s the typical GS apples and a bit of tropicality. Very nice and a crowd pleaser – even for the trend following ABC crowd. On that topic, we were at the Grand Marchi tasting this month and a representative of one of the wineries went on and on about how people who drink white don’t know about anything other than Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Word of advice to reps: keep your opinions to yourself. You sound kind of whinny and snobbish when you opine on ‘proper’ wine basics to people that just want to taste the shit that you’re peddling.

moncontourIt’s time to start to stock up for holiday season. We Canuckleheads are past our Thanksgiving but our friends below are just getting ready – election, shrug, Thanksgiving. So, you’ll need a crisp lip-smacking bubbler to greet your guests. I had this two years ago but it is a Non-Vintage bubbly that should stay consistent flavour profile-wise. The Château Moncontour Tête de Cuvée Brut Vouvray #207936 $17.95 should fit the bill for nibbles and bubbly. Medium-bodied, fruitful, great acidity, bubbles taut and tangy. Many cheaper bubblies suffer from sameness – you can’t tell one from the other. This is made from Chenn Banc and it definitely stands out as different. I like these Vouvray Bruts a lot. Interesting fact (according to LCBO write-up): This is from “one of the oldest estates in Loire’s Touraine region. The French author Honoré de Balzac tried to purchase the estate in 1846 but was unable to do so, although it didn’t keep him from mentioning the estate in his novel A Woman of Thirty.” Very cool.

Cheers – enjoy your treats

Bill

Tasting Room Talk – The Red Daily Slosh

13 Oct

The Third Debate?

In the event that a tape, which may or may not be out there, becomes public, I’d like to make the following statement.

Let me say that I’m not proud of what’s on the tape. It happened when I was much younger and represents tasting room talk. Tasting room talk that’s all. I apologize to anyone that I’ve offended and my intention is not to objectify wine. I have wine bottles in my basement, my friends have wine bottles, my wife has wine bottles, some of my best friends are wine bottles and I wouldn’t want anyone to talk or think about them in that way. I’m truly sorry.

It just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it?

seghesioThis weekend the LCBO is releasing some heavy hitters from Piedmont and some California stalwarts. Have only had one of the lot – the 2014 Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel #942151 $29.95. This is one of my favourite Zins and this vintage doesn’t disappoint. Spicy, rich, anise goodness. And, although it’s a typical Zin with higher alcohol levels (14.8% ABV), it doesn’t carry any heat. Beautiful Zin.

baldiosAlways some Iberian wine to talk about. Popped the cork on a bottle of the 2009 Baldios Crianza #366393 $19.95. Still holding strong. Despite being only a Crianza, this is full value. Age has imparted richness, knitted it together to bring you a balanced palate – smoky, cherries, and vanilla. Love it!

Staying in Spain, the 2013 Torres Altos Ibericos Crianza #381046 $16.95 is a nice sip. Not as round or full as the one above, it’s great sipping wine with snacks. It too is smoky and brimming with Tempranillo fruit. This is what I’d call straight up Rioja – no mystery. It just delivers.

leponnantWhen I’m not loitering in Spain, I like to drink wines from the Southern Rhone and Provence. They reflect their neighbourhood better than most. And, I love the hood. The 2014 Le Ferme du Mont Le Ponnant Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages #171371 $19.95 is one of the better CdR-Villages that I’ve ever had. If you like your CdR’s big, brawny and brimming with dark berries, this is for you. This is very full-bodied and fruity – some scrubby/herby elements. Great effort and good value.

gravityTaking my seasonal journey to the Niagara Peninsula in the next few weeks and, as always, I will drop in to Flat Rock Cellars to see what’s up. Their 2013 Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir #001560 $30.25 is arriving this weekend. Flat Rock, Tawse, Westcott, Queylus and many others down there, make exquisite Pinot. This one is special in it’s consistency year after year. Floral up front, red fruits on the gurgle and earth on the finish. Just a lovely, lovely wine. Wish that I’d had some for the turkey last weekend. Perfect match.

aspresQuick shout out. This month’s Wine Enthusiast featured the 2014 Gerard Betrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres GSM. Gave it a score of 91 “Dense, generous ………and robustly fruited”. I recommended the 2013 and it is still available – so that’s 2013 Gerard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres #413245 $18.95. My review here.

I’m off to the Grand Marchi at the Royal Ontario Museum next Tuesday. Sipping and regrettably spitting some of the better Italian wines from many of the boot’s best producers (Antinori, Gaja, Mastroberardino, Chiarlo, Donnafugata, San Guido, Alois Lageder………), chat up the winemakers. Can’t wait. I’ll report on the experience in the future.

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

Cheers.

Bill

White Man Privilege Rant – The Red and White Daily Slosh

24 Jun

Love, love, love this song. And, it is so relevant today. You’d think it was written yesterday.

I don’t usually express a non-wine opinion on these pages. Whaaat? Duff always expresses non-wine opinions on these pages. Which means that I have mission permission (as the Organizational Development guy in me would say). That said, may I take a wee bit ‘o’ your time?

I’m heading to a fundraiser for Women’s Community House tonight (tickets still available 519-672-8800). It gave me pause to reflect on the issue of woman abuse and it never ceases to shock me. We have been dealing with this issue head-on seemingly forever yet we still need easily accessible services and supports for women and their children who are subjected to this violence. Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. Women still are likely to experience abuse – sexual, emotional……………at a shameful rate. It saddens me. Make me wanna holler.

But luckily, it’s not happening to me. You see, I don’t have to worry about being raped if I had a drink or two at a bar, I’m walking home late at night, I’m asleep in my dorm room, or just ’cause. I was never sexually harassed in the workplace despite my snappy business casual look. My spouse isn’t the most likely person to assault me. Come to think of it…… I will never be carded as part of ‘good’ policing. I won’t be routinely stopped on the basis of my skin colour as I drive to work. I won’t be led to a more intensive Canada or US Customs inspection line for people who simply look like me. My parents and/or grandparents weren’t scooped off to a residential school. I won’t be assaulted, targeted in a terrorist attack, refused service, or excluded from sharing my life with the person I love based on my sexual orientation or gender identity. And, I get to drink wine as a frigging hobby and write about it! Conclusion?    BILL      IS      AWESOME!

So, what did I do to ‘earn’ this life? I mean there must be something that I accomplished that set me apart for special status. Honest answer: I am an older (don’t you dare say ‘old’) heterosexual white male born into an Anglo-Saxon family in a western democracy that just so happens to be the best country in the world IMHO. That means that I, personally, did nothing, squat, zero, nada. I didn’t earn it; I was given it as my birthright. And believe me, I am thankful for my good fortune. But also it’s horribly, horribly wrong. It needs changing on so many levels. It should be everyone’s birthright. Hopefully we are heading in the right direction. But tonight sadly shows me that it’s taking way too long.

Done. Thanks for staying with me. I apologize for the smugness and self-indulgence – wasn’t my intention. It’s just that I am unfortunately a very smug and self-indulgent older white guy. And that’s my friends saying that.

Wine, yes, wine. It is a wine blog after all. Some quick recos.

bacoHave you ever had Baco Noir? Get your binder out and check your tasting notes. Well, Niagara makes good Baco Noir. It ranges from Gamay-styled wannabes to rich, creamy chocolatey age-worthy reds.  The best of the second style that I’ve found is that made by the Speck Brothers of Henry of Pelham. This release (June 25th), there’s a great example in the 2013 Henry of Pelham Reserve Baco Noir #461699 $24.95. This is dark in the glass and in the mouth. Burn barrel and black fruits. But, the main event is really the texture. Soft, full-bodied, moderate alcohol (13.5%) without any heat. Suffice to say, that this is a pleasure to drink on it’s own or with something fresh and soft – perhaps something cheesy. Henry of Pelham does an “Old Vines” Baco (circa $20) and a regular Baco ($15) as well that are usually in the General Listing aisles. Maybe Baco will become you new fave.

medoroSpeaking of smooth, the 2012 Villa Medoro Rosso del Duca Montepulciano d’Abruzzo #357160 $21.95 has a similar vibe but with a nice vein of acidity on the finish and much more complexity. Rich is the first thing to come to mind once it hits your mouth. You might think, “It’s an MdA and $22? I usually can pick those up for $14.” Well, get over that. Seriously. If it doesn’t work out, send me the rest of your bottle(s) and I will give you credit toward a DuffsWines T-Shirt. The Henry of Pelham is an exceptional food wine due to the structure and texture. Great hostess gift if it’s a BBQ (ribs, burgers, grilled portobellos). It’s a night wine, if that makes sense and make sure it isn’t room temperature if your room is 80 degrees plus. In that case pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes. In fact, when it’s unbearably hot, do that with most if not all reds. I have recommended this label in several vintages and look forward to many more.

hogueIn my earliest email broadcasts pre-website, I used to talk about ‘Value Labels”. Labels and therefore wineries that people could usually count on for strong QPR (Quality to Price Ratio). It was designed to present recognizable options you could trust without too much blabbing about the wine. And, when I did, I frequently mentioned Hogue from Washington State. Seldom had a poor one. This week, there’s the 2013 Hogue Chardonnay #402172 $15.95 hitting the shelves. This is exactly what we need by the case this summer. Well-priced, judiciously oaked and balanced without being flabby. Perfect summer sipper for the Chardonnay lover at your place. Look for other Hogue products at the mother ship – Hogue Genesis Cabernet Sauvignon $18.95, Genesis Meritage $18.95.

vouvrayMy niece has relocated to London and she and her husband came over the other night and made me curry. Fabulous family recipe curry. But, what to have with a dish with so much going on? I chilled up one of my Mosels but couldn’t bring myself to pop the cork as I think it’s still developing. So, I went with a Vouvray. No well-thought out pairing paradigm used to connect this sightly off-dry wine with curry but it seemed to make sense. The Vouvray that I bought was 2014 Donatien Bauhaus Les Grands Mortiers Vouvray #140889 $17.95. This wine turned out to be perfect. The curry demanded a bit of sweetness but not too much. The wine was expressive with peaches and enough acid to not get run over by the curry. If you are curious, Vouvray is from the Loire and is made from Chenin Blanc. In my experience Vouvray doesn’t present like the Chenins from South Africa – not as straight forward, not as fruity but maybe that’s just my prejudice showing. I like them a bit off-dry unless it’s bubbly Vouvray where brut is usually the style. About this particular wine, I’m not sure there’s a lot available still. There is another label that seems in higher volumes – 2014 Charles Bove Vouvray #448563 $17.95 – with exceptional reviews, so pick one up and you will shout “Hurray For Vouvray!” A great wine that’s usually overshadowed by Sancerre.

carteressesHey, just as I was finalizing editing this post (Thursday evening), I opened a chilled bottle of 2015 Domaine de Carteresses Tavel #739474 $18.95. I get it. I have a problem with rosés. And that kind of works against my pledge of cutting back on the wine mid-week – tomorrow, I’ll cut back – promise. Wait, it’s Friday tomorrow. Anyway, I’ve raved about this wine before but this vintage seems a bit better then previous. Not quite as crisp as the Côtes de Provence that you may have had. This Tavel really provides a hint at what people are talking about when they say that Tavel is the red wine drinker’s pink. No time to write notes. Suffice to say that it’s fuller-bodied than most rosés – rounder, deeper, almost red winish.  Absolutely love this stuff!

Cheers.

Bill

It’s Time to Pack – The Rosé Daily Slosh

21 Jun

Nostalgia. Saw jacksoul opening for James Brown years ago having never heard them before. Haydain Neale was mesmerizing. His was a loss to Cool.

I love this time of year! No, seriously, I love it. “Why do you love it, Bill?”

sunset3

Best sunsets ever

Glad that you asked. I love the anticipation of heading to the cottage – the start of summer. We were at the lake for a few days in May but not since. You see it’s a 3.5 hour drive each way and requires packing, unpacking, finding stuff that people have moved  (AARGH!), making beds, etc. So, an overnight isn’t in the cards. Plus, this year, I haven’t been up to do my usual “annual project”. Not sure why. I know “the annual” is the stairs down to the water but I haven’t grown any ambition over the past two months to get up there, work a bit, drink beer and wine with the guys helping. Suffice to say that I will waste a bit of my summer working. But, working in Muskoka on the lake is a high class problem, right?

And, I will need some wine to support the intellectual and physical labour. So, here goes:

Let’s just head to the main event – rosé. I realize that some of these are repeats from my annual Rosés for The Dock post but they are included in this weekend’s (June 25) release so I thought it bears repeating. Odd that “New Arrivals” at the mother ship are, in fact, “Old Friends” that never left. I will post on reds and whites later in the week.

I was in NYC last month and we hit a rooftop bar in the Meatpacking District populated by millennials with money. It was scary. The cliché is mullenials still on their parents cellphone plan. But these looked pretty independent. Great looking men and women. angelLoads of financial wherewithal clearly evident. The friend that had got us in to the place was considering a glass of wine and I suggested that, if she liked rosé, she would love the 2015 Caves d’Esclans Whispering Angel #325076 $26.95. She did. This is one of the better if not the best Provence rosés at this price point (or perhaps at any price point) in most years. This vintage doesn’t disappoint. It’s citrus, crispy goodness. If you’ve been playing along at home, you know that my ‘go to’ rosé is most likely a Tavel. But, I love Provence pinks – particularly to have with something light or just on their own. I realize that there are many pinks at a little less of a tariff. But, splurge and quietly enjoy this by the lake with friends (imaginary and otherwise). Interesting that the imaginary ones always seem to enjoy the wine and it takes a little longer to get through the bottle.

chateaulatourStaying with Provence wine, the 2015 Château La Tour de l’Évêque #319392 $19.95 is a repeat offender here. I wrote of it in a past post here. Yes, I absolutely love it!

Tawse makes great stuff and their swing at rosé is no exception. The”Sketches” portfolio is an entry level wine but the only rosé that Tawse makes, I believe. Their 2015 Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé #172643 $16.95  is full value. Definitely dry but maybe a teeny bit sweeter profile. My earlier review is here.

triompheStaying close to home, the 2015 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé #279117 $19.95 is a dry, citrusy, cherries and smack kind of wine. It’s organic too. A solid pick. Read my review of Southbrook Estates here. Great peeps doing good work. I like Cabernet Franc from Niagara and maybe that’s why a rosé made from it is appealing to me. Not surprising that rosé carries the fingerprint of the grape(s) from which it is made. In this case, herbal and quite aromatic. And, it looks delicious too. And, you know darling that it is more important to Louk Mahvelous than to Feel Mahvelous.

sorbaraI know that this is a rosé post supposedly, but there’s a wine that I’m going to try that you might find interesting – 2014 Cantina di Carpi e Sorbara Omaggio a Gino Friedman Lambrusco di Sorbara #419101 $15.95 is a sparkling red made from the Lambrusco grape. Now, before you concur up memories of Castelvetro or Baby Duck, this isn’t sweet or heavy handed. The Lambrusco di Sorbaras that I’ve had before were ‘pretty tasty’* and went well with charcuterie. Give it a try and let me know.

Cheers.

Bill

*The DuffWines rating scale and DuffsWines tasting terms are copyrighted. Accordingly, the use of the term “pretty tasty” without prior expressed written permission from Duffswines Inc. LLP. Corp. is strictly prohibited.

Quick Picks – The Rainbow Daily Slosh

10 Jun
socks

Bill’s Cool Socks?

I’ve had very little time in the last week or so to attend to my writing. What with sorting my sock drawer, drinking wine, grooving a faulty golf swing, drinking wine, solving the puzzle that is Elbowgate, drinking wine, and watching the Trump-a-mania drama, I haven’t had a lot of time. Hell, the last one is a full-time job if CNN coverage is any indication. A train wreck really and I can’t stop rubbernecking. What about you? Seriously.

But, I wanted to provide a couple quick recommendations for the June 11 release at the mother ship:

Two medium-bodied Washington wines are solid picks:

majesticThe 2013 Diversion Majestic Red #446997 $18.95 is a red blend – can’t seem to find the varieties utilized but am assuming there’s Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as the biggest component. Fresh, earthy, lightly oaked, and decadent. Great summer evening wine.

sevenfallsmerlot2011 Seven Falls Merlot #420711 $19.95 is medium-bodied and chocolatey goodness. I used to do this regular or semi-regular wine tasting at the place I worked for. There was a person who attended almost every one that could sense chocolate in anything from this Merlot to Champagne to balsamic vinegar. At first, I thought it was a peculiarity of her palate. But later, I realized that she was just projecting her addiction to chocolate on to the wine. “I get a lift of Lindt in the glass with solid Ghiardelli 70% cocoa on the finish.” This wine as the one above would be a nice summer evening wine.

Just a quick aside: if you have never tried wines from Washington State and I know many of you haven’t because I see a lot of nodding heads out there, it’s time. The state makes some of the most structured Syrahs, bold Cabernet Sauvignons and solid Rieslings that come from south of the border. At the LCBO, there are always lots of Charles Smith’s offerings (Velvet Devil Merlot, Smith & Smith Red, Smith & Smith Chardonnay, Kung Fu Riesling, and occasionally his ‘K’ Vintners stuff) plus the Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest stuff that I’m always hawking. Start there and see what I’m talking about.

LAURA'S2012 Creekside Laura’s Red #117960 $19.95 a blend of six varieties, I tasted this at the cellar door. Creekside has a fantastic reception facility with great nibbles. Check out my recommendations on visiting that area here. I find this wine to be joyful. I would usually save that descriptor for a lighter, perhaps bubbly wine. But, in this case, I like that it’s local (feeling a little joy there), expressive (joy is building), and so drinkable (Level 11 joy reached – time to open another?). Although you could match this to many dishes, I like it neat.

nadjaStaying in Niagara, there is a bottling which I get every year – the Flat Rock Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling #578625 $24.95. I haven’t tried the 2015 which is this week’s feature, but I can bet that it is dominated by a streak of acidity that’s juicy and stoney. Great citrus and foodability built in. Plus, I’ve cellared this for anywhere from 5 – 10 years with nice development.

nemesisA Shiraz used to be my ‘go to’ back when I started this journey of wine exploration. It was reasonably priced, interesting and always available. Lately (as in the past 5 years), I haven’t been partaking in the Aussie take on that grape much. Not sure why – just don’t seem as interested as before. This week, though, there’s a Shiraz that I love. I think the fact that it’s more subtle, interesting than some of the other efforts. The 2013 Zonte’s Footstep Baron von Nemesis Shiraz #212936 $17.95 is a dry, spicy, powerful Shiraz perfectly suited to lamb, burgers, something burnt with a bit of fat. Swirl and sniff this beauty. Go ahead, I’ll wait – sniffing noises off stage – there you go – complexity even for a nose as large and unsophisticated as mine. I’m not fond of big with no point. This has a purpose – it’s your pleasure. I reviewed another Zonte’s Footstep offering here and the 2012 Nemesis here. A consistently excellent label.

delhommeauWhat would a summer late-afternoon-evening-sit-outside-with-friends-and-nibbles be without a Muscadet? OK, it would still be fine – even without all the hyphens and Muscadet. But it would be best with a bottle of über chilled 2013 Michel Delhommeau Cuvée Harmonie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine #164624 $16.95. This isn’t quite as crisp as most Muscadets. It has a bit of roundness, ripeness to it. Sur Lie means the lees are not filtered out adding depth. This one demonstrates that. If you’re a score chaser, this didn’t score 90 (88) but it’s 3 and 1/2 fishes on the duffswinesscale®. For the uninitiated that’s pretty fine.

cotodeimazI’ve been drinking the 2010 Coto de Imaz Reserva #23762 $22.95 by the case the past………..well, would you believe month? OK, past weekor so…………..and not quite a case but still too much. This was the first Rioja I ever bought by the case. I like it in most years and love it in the rest. If you were to roll up all your great Rioja wine experiences and then sip this, you’d say, “Yeah – that be it.”. Pure old school Rioja. Sandalwood, cherries and beautiful tannins. If you can find some after I’m done – stock up. Thinking rockinredblog here but play Jimi Hendrix All Along The Watchtower while you drink this. Perfect pairing.

And, if I’m honest (and, “I’m nothing if not honest,” he smirked) I’ve been supplementing my Rioja fixation with a little (read: a lot) of the rosé. Particularly the 2015 Carte Noir Côtes de Provence #319384 $17.95. This is crisp, sunny, and has an almost salty character to it. I read somewhere (or I’m making it up) that wine appreciation follows a definite curve as people become more aware and grow older – from bubbly to sweet rosé to sweetish white to dry white to dry red to Champagne and then to rosé. Due to my lack of funds, I skipped the Champagne part but am all-in 0n the last one.

And, since no one not called ‘Bot’ could score any Hip tickets, here’s a treat. Listen to the love. Hard to imagine any other group getting this kind of reaction from a staid Toronto crowd. I can’t imagine what the farewell tour will be like. Tickets on resale at $1000 and up – crazy.

Cheers

Bill

Rosés For The Dock Edition and A Single Guilty Pleasure

28 Apr
cottage3

It’s the Dock Where I Rock the Rosés

You may remember the last 2 editions of Rosés For The Dock posts. Wait, what am I saying? Of course you do. You have them bookmarked and use them regularly as textbook examples of blogging excellence and rosé wisdom. Well, I won’t bore you with opportunities to click away to read them because you won’t anyway. I know what you do and where you go.

This is number 3! That must mean it’s 2016, sigh.

The mothership is pimping rosés this weekend (April 30th). And, if you pimp, they will come. Well, at least I will ’cause I’m easy, subject to suggestion, and a mark for sexy advertising. While else would I have purchased that Dyson vacuum cleaner. Did you notice the length of that handle, the way the woman wrapped her fingers…………….never mind – that was another post.

I received a text the other day from my youngest. Now, picture this – it’s 3 degrees Celsius outside my door (that’s about 40 F. for my US friends). I’m sitting around thinking. Nothing inspirational or profound – just thinking. “Ding” goes my phone. Ah, a text. I open it to hear from my itinerant life-time student. I quote, “Heyo, I’m heading to France tonight, and will be there until May 11th. Staying in Provence……writing…..library”

Antibes

Antibes

What? I know that he works hard and the travel is part of the gig kind of. But, did I say it was 3 degrees C? Quick check of the Côte d’Azur tells me that it’s……..67 degrees F. which is………… well, let’s just say that it was warmer than 3 C. And, when I think of Provence, I think of drifting on the Mediterranean soaking up the sun, eating something fresh and delish and sipping rosé. Ah, warm, sated.Consolation? It’s coming. The warmth that is.

This week there are 2 repeat Provence offenders from these pages.

gassierThe 2015 Gassier Sables d’Azur #033621 $15.95 is a wine that needs a significant chill and something to eat with it – like a green salad with balsamic vinegrette. Hey, just kidding. Pair it with sun alone and you’ll be fine. It has a very evident streak of acidity but is light and Provency.  Perfect in 67 degree and warmer weather.

chateaulatourThe other Provence wine that I want to talk about is the 2015 Château La Tour de l’Eveque #319392 $19.95. I have sang the praises of this cuvée several times. This looks like perfection in a rosé – a little hint of yellow amidst the pink  – smells of orchard fruit but don’t be fooled. On the swish and swallow, you get a load of palate cleansing acidity and a citrus burst. Love, love it! If you ever sit in the sun in a small cafe in Antibes (and BTW, I fear that my son is), snack on messy prawns and fresh tomatoes, this is the wine you’ll want.

mabyThere are two Tavels this weekend, I’m talking about only one of them – 2015 Domaine Maby La Forcadière Tavel #701318 $18.95 is another repeater. Tavels are much more substantial than the rosés from Provence or pretty well anywhere else, actually. They are said to be the red wine drinker’s rosé. Made predominantly with Grenache which gives you some idea of the vibe. This wine is dark pink, complicated, and spicy. Dry as a bone and muscly enough to stand up to a typical red wine meal. If you’d be overwhelmed with a tannic Cab or Syrah/Shiraz with your burger, drain this. Cottage barbecue pink.

tawseroseEveryone around Niagara seems to do a rosé lately. I admit that I really only drink two of them. The first is the 2015 Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé #172643 $16.95. If you want to know about Tawse, you can read my short piece here. This is a bit sweeter in profile than the others I’ve mentioned here but don’t think, “Oh, that’s sweet.” Think, “Oh, that’s suuuweeet.” It’s a peaceful, medium-bodied wine with some earthy notes in the glass but clean on the finish. Nice effort.

The other Niagara rosé I stock up on, in fact have just twisted open a bottle of, is 2015 Malivoire Lady Bug Rosé #559088 $15.95. A true food pink. Lunch on the beach? Serve well chilled. You can read my piece on Malivoire here. Worth a visit.

That’s enough for now. I’m sure we will be talking’ pink later this year.

As un homage to The Food and Wine Hedonist who has been blogging about guilty pleasures in music, wine and food lately, my guilty pleasure might be this song. Come on, everyone loves Elaine, admit it.

Cheers.

Bill

Visiting Niagara Region Day 1 and 1/2 and Day 2 – #SundaySips

24 Apr

notl1

Last week, I gave an introduction to and a good first day in Niagara Region on a wine crawl. You can read that here. The first day was one of GPS fun, a superb lunch, a run-in with a flat rock, and some great wines. I realized almost “Oh shit” simultaneously with the clicking of the “PUBLISH” button that I hadn’t gotten you settled in and fed. And, that is very important after a long day on the road.

gazebo3

Image courtesy of Lonely Planet

So backing up into Day 1, you’ve arrived at your NOTL destination, unpacked, popped a cork in your room and you want to go for a walk. Yes, you do. Walking the streets of NOTL is the best. Walk Queen Street and shop the shops, grab a patio chair and a………….glass of wine, of course. Or better yet, head down to the river and Front Street. There’s a gazebo in a park (picture above) that was built as part of a movie set – some slasher flick or political thriller. Check out the homes and picture Laura Secord warning the British and turning out some truffles. It’s a very historical feeling with Fort Niagara across the river and Fort George down the Parkway. Peaceful.

You are hungry, you say? Well, it’s hard to go wrong. Advice? Ask the people that you’re staying with (if at a B&B) or at the hotel. But, I will try to steer you in a few directions:

treadwellcuisineTreadwell – 114 Queen Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 905-934-9797 www.treadwellcuisine.com This is the number one ranked restaurant on TripAdvisor and deservedly so. Inventive farm-to-table cuisine (e.g. Confit Leg of “Schuyler Farms” Lamb with Ramp Whipped Potatoes, “Cumbrae Farms” Bacon, Peas, Kozlik’s Mustard Jus”. Locally sourced, with expert service. Wine list is locally focused when it’s by the glass and they have the cream of the Niagara crop in bottle. They also have a representative selection of better California, French, Italian wines as well. Bonus? They have opened up a cozy wine bar. Hint: Reserve well in advance.

Escabéche at The Prince of Wales – 6 Picton Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 1-888-669-5566 www.vintage-hotels.com Typical fine dining menu well done in a superb setting. Wine list recognized by Wine Spectator. If you want to feel special, this should give you a headstart.

oban2Oban Inn – 160 Front Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 1-866-359-6226 www.obaninn.ca This is a fabulous setting down by the Niagara River overlooking the NOTL Golf Club. Great gardens. Traditional fine dining. Exceptional service. Wine list is focused on Niagara as well but that’s why you came, isn’t it? Mildly humorous NOTL Golf Club story? One wife and years ago, we are staying in NOTL and my friend and I were dropped at the club by our wives – we would play 18, they would shop. So, rather than risk getting our shoes stolen from the locker room, we wore our spikes and left shoes in the car. As our wives drove away, we strolled into the pro shop, our metal spikes clicking, clicking away. We were told that the course was closed for a club event. Um, what to do. We walked around the town for a bit carrying our clubs and clicking on the sidewalk. A couple of real losers looking for a game. Embarrassing. Then we remembered that the night before, my friend had bumped into a colleague from another movie at the theatre.and he had provided his address. We banged on his door, clubs in hand. We were welcomed in, borrowed swimming trunks and spent the 4 hours by the pool, sipping drinks. Sometimes these things work out.

Winery Associated Bistros There are some restaurants associated with wineries (Peller Estates, OLIV at Strewn Winery, Ravine Estates, among others) but I haven’t been to them in years aside from grabbing a glass and a plate of finger food while I sip their stuff.

Pub Fare is all you can muster?

oldeangelinnThe Olde Angel Inn – 224 Regent Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 905-468-3411 www.angel-inn.com This is one of if not the oldest inn in Ontario. You can’t miss the charm of the very low ceilings. It’s styled after an English pub and they carry it off pretty well. Lots of taps, fish and chips, bangers and mash. Live music. Maybe after stumbling around Beamsville and having a feast for lunch at On The Twenty, you just want some comfort food.

The Irish Harp Pub – 245 King Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 905-468-4443 www.theirishharppub.com This is nice. The usual continental suspects on tap. Loads of Irish whiskeys and pub food. Not grand but it can provide that quick, familiar dinner you might need.

I forgot to tell you about the Shaw Festival. You can read about it at www.shawfest.com Suffice to say, that it’s a cultural icon on the Ontario map. Plays are taken from those written during George Bernard Shaw’s lifetime as well as by him. There is always something great on. Don’t miss it if you like live theatre. We are blessed in this part of Ontario with the Shaw and The Stratford Shakespearean Festival. Both top drawer.

Back to the tour.

Day 2

You awake to grab a quick breakfast and head out to visit more wineries. I’ve listed these in no particular order. But you can map them out by using the resources at www.wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com/visit-wine-country/maps-directions/ Once again, there are too many wineries to mention here and, unfortunately I’ve left off a bunch of good ones. If you see some in your planning that you’d like an opinion on, send me a note via duffswines@gmail.com and I can weigh in.

southbrookSouthbrook Vineyards – 581 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 1-888-581-1581 www.southbrook.com You probably passed by this winery on your way to NOTL yesterday and thought, “That’s an interesting building.” Well, it’s a whole lot more than that. Southbrook are leaders in sustainable and ethical winemaking. Those who know me know that I worked for a while in the renewable energy and ‘green’ technologies field. So, how Southbrook managed to be so successful in this regard matters to me. They are certified by Demeter (biodynamic), Pro-Cert Organic, Sustainable Winemaking Ontario and their hospitality pavilion is Gold Level of LEED – the first of its kind in Canada. Pretty impressive. But, you came for the wine, didn’t you? Southbrook has the usual stable of wines – Chardonnay, Cab blends, rosé, Rieslings. Where I like to wander with them is into their ‘Whimsy’ line. These are wines that are made in limited supply in each vintage at the whim of the winemaker. They usually are experiments or deviations from the norm and worth the gamble. Oh, and one more thing – their staff are top notch. Ask them about the green stuff. Bonus Recommendation: They have a Framboise which is unique and good with sparkling wine as a Kir wannabe.

Inniskillin Wines – 1499 Line #3 at Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 1-888-466-4754 ext. 5400 www.inniskillin.com This is where Niagara wine began in earnest. Most people have seen, heard of, or even drank Inniskillin wines. In particular, their ice wine is sold abroad. Being owned and distributed by Constellation Brands, they have a solid reach in the US. Of course you should sample the icewine. They have 4 different kinds, including a sparkling. My fave, however, is the Cab Franc icewine – fresh picked strawberries. Their Reserve, Discovery, and Single Vineyard efforts are particularly tasty. Try the ’13 Montague Vineyard Pinot – savoury.

Niagara College Teaching Winery – 135 Taylor Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 905-641-2252 ext. 4071 Niagara College offers courses in winemaking and many of the other arts and sciences that surround the industry. This winery is the classroom in many respects and it’s kind of cool to sample the assignments and liquid essays that have been completed by the classes and their profs. In particular, I’ve loved the ’10 Dean’s List Pinot Noir #445759 $18.95 that is available at the LCBO in very limited supply.

Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery – 1366 York Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 905-262-8463 www.ravinevineyard.com This vineyard sits on the St. David’s Bench a sub-appellation of NOTL which gains some BTU’s on the other subs. That means riper fruit – less greens to the Bordeaux varieties. This is a family owned and operated enterprise. Organic. Restaurant on site so you could make this your halfway point.

stratusStratus Vineyards – 2059 Niagara Stone Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 905-468-1806 www.stratuswines.com As with Southbrook, you probably saw this amazing building on the way to NOTL. It is also a fascinating hospitality centre and barrel room. Top drawer – which is the vibe they we’re looking for. My favourites from here are: ’14 Charles Baker Ivan Vineyard Riesling  and the ’08 Stratus Red both available on-line or at the cellar door. Many may have seen their Wildass label in your local. Good value straight up Ontario wine.

Colaneri Estate Winery – 348 Concession 6 Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake ON Tel: 905-682-2100 www.colaneriwines.com I wrote about Colaneri a couple years ago and you can read that here. Beautiful setting, impressive appasimento technique wines.

In this series, I’ve left off some of my other stalwarts like Pondview, Sue Ann Staff, Foreign Affair, Coyote’s Run. But, I am heading back that way in May and will regale you with tales of oenological conquest in later posts.

Now, back to your Sunday.

Cheers.

Bill

 

%d bloggers like this: