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June Wine Adventures

June 17, 2017
Evolve Cellars Pink Effervescence

It’s been a little while since my last post and I’m not sure how good my reasons are for that. Honestly, I’ve been a little burnt out on wine blogging over the last few months. I still love learning about wine, but after a few years of regular blogging it’s hard to keep up the constant enthusiasm sometimes. Over the last few months, I’ve found my time split between competing passions. I’ve been focused on writing fiction, running and yoga—as well as spending more time with the people in my life who have often been overlooked because I was so busy juggling a full-time job and my wine blogging adventures. It’s hard to feel bad about making that decision.

That’s not to say I’m ready to give this up, I just might have to keep things a little less frequent as I strive to maintain some balance in my life. And with a running injury set to sideline me for much of the summer, I’ll likely have a little more time available to devote to blogging again. So, with that said, here we go with my latest round-up of wine stories!

Some Southbrook Stunners:

Southbrook 2013 PoeticaI recently had the opportunity to taste through some of the wines in Southbrook Estate Winery’s latest release. I’ve always enjoyed this Niagara producer and I wasn’t disappointed at this tasting. Some of the highlights included the new 2016 Biodynamic Bubbly Vidal, which is done in the Ancestral style to create a refreshing and light effervescent sparkler. The Wild Ferment Cider was another interesting surprise. It’s done in the style of Northern Spain and is a very dry cider with a hint of sweet apple juice. It’s fermented with wild wine yeast and priced reasonably at $15.95 – it reminded me a little of the sparkling cider I so love from The Old Third in Prince Edward County.

The 2013 Poetica Chardonnay was another standout for me with apple, pear and a touch of cream on the nose. This wine had nice fruit on the palate, with notes of pear and green apple. A lovely, small-batch wine.

The 2016 Estate Cabernet Rosé also impressed with strawberry notes all through and lots summer fruit on the palate. This would be a nice patio sipper this summer and a perfect wine for so many food pairings (I love the versatility of rosé). And the 2013 Estate Witness Block Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc was an elegant red with anise, raspberry and bramble on the nose. Another personal favourite of the tasting.

Another surprise was the 2016 Small Lot Natural Orange Wine. I haven’t always been a fan of Southbrook’s orange wines, but this one was more to my tastes. The tannins are still quite pronounced and the flavour is certainly unique, but it’s a little more fruit-forward and less bracing than some of the previous vintages.

Evolve Cellars EffervescenceB.C. Wine on my Mind

Over the last few months, Shawn and I have been going through some pretty fantastic B.C. wines from Evolve Cellars. Their lightly sparkling wines (Effervescence) are perfect for summer and bursting with lovely flavour. They truly are a perfect sparkling option for summer (though a quick peek at their website doesn’t show any available right now, so perhaps already a sell-out). We really don’t have enough access to B.C. wineries and it’s such a shame. Another favourite from that province? Time Winery’s 2013 Syrah – Shawn and I couldn’t get enough of this big, bold red. You can order wines from these producers online across Canada now and it’s well worth it if you have the ability to store these wines easily.

Roscato WineSweet Italian Wine Time

I was recently invited to an event at iYellow Wine Club to check out Italy’s Roscato wine. Sweet wines typically aren’t my thing unless they’re specifically dessert wines (or used in cocktails), but I like to keep an open mind and I found this wine interesting. It’s a slightly effervescent, very sweet wine from Northern Italy meant to be served cold and which the company’s representative explained was very popular with new wine drinkers. I get that, since I started my wine journey on Arbour Mist. And Roscato at least is a quality product – the effervescence is added via the charmat method and not carbonation, the grapes are hand-picked and they use the minimum number of pesticides. It’s also 7 per cent alcohol, so this is a pretty good option for adding to summer sangria (honestly, that would be my number one suggestion for how to use it) and it’s a sweet treat over vanilla ice cream.

What have you been drinking so far this season? Share your favourites with me in the comments or on social.

Food & Wine

A Father’s Day Gift Guide for Wine Guys

June 13, 2016
Dujardin Fine V.S.O.P. Brandy - a great Father's Day gift idea.

It’s almost Father’s Day and I know there are a lot of great dads being feted this spring. So what do you get the dad who loves wine? Here are a few suggestions that might go over better than a new tie or another sweater.

Wine & War is the perfect book for a wine-loving history buff.A Great Wine Read

This blog has been chock full of wine book reviews over the last year and I have no intention of slowing down. Because wine lovers are always looking to learn more about the wines we adore, a book is a great gift option. My dad loved all history and Shawn loves war history, so I know that’s a theme many dads might enjoy. I’ve mentioned Wine & War: The French, the Nazis & the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure by Don and Petie Kladstrup before and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s hard to put down this 2002 book, which details the lengths French winemakers went to while trying to keep their wines out of Nazi hands in World War II and what happened when they succeeded (and failed). This is the perfect read for any wine-loving history buff.

Dujardin Fine V.S.O.P. Brandy - a great Father's Day gift idea.Brandy

I haven’t spent much time drinking brandy, but I know it can be perfect for gifting. I received a bottle of this Dujardin Fine V.S.O.P., which is Brandy distilled with select French wine, to review and was pleasantly surprised. There was maple, toffee and banana notes on the nose and it was quite drinkable on the rocks. Shawn and I also tried a Horse’s Neck cocktail, which mixes one ounce of Dujardin with four ounces of ginger ale (we opted for diet, as I prefer not to drink sugary sodas). It was a pleasant drink and surprisingly sweet, but nice for an evening on the patio.

Zenato Winery Amarone della Valpolicella makes a good gift for a wine loverA Special Bottle of Wine

What wine-loving dad doesn’t want a special bottle on Father’s Day? If you can’t afford Bordeaux, or want to try something different, you might want to consider Amarone. I recently had the chance to meet winemaker Alberto Zenato and try the 2011 Classico Amarone della Valpolicella his winery makes. Made in the appassimento style, Amarone is a special treat. This one had a deep, smoky vibe and big, lush fruit with a hint of sweetness. I’d say cherry and chocolate with a touch of smoke. And I was impressed with how passionate the Zenato family is about promoting and protecting the traditions of Amarone. Worried about producers who are making lower-quality and lower-priced Amarone and using the name without following the strict rules for making this wine, the Zenatos have banded together with 12 other wineries to create Amarone that reflects the traditions and will continue to impress. This is a gift dad surely won’t mind drinking now or cellaring for several years.

These are just a few ideas from me, but I’d love to hear yours! Guys, what do YOU want for Father’s Day this year? Share your suggestions in the comments or on social.

*The Dujardin was tasted as a sample and the Amarone at an event where I was a guest. All opinions are, as always, my own.