June 12, 2017
The perfect way to celebrate Canada’s birthday? With reds and whites of course.
Thanks to our reputation as a country where cold rules, our reputation for wine making has suffered. Time to wave our flag. Truth is, we have a magnificent climate for wine, and people, producing some of the finest on both counts. Why, vines were first planted in Canada in 1811, by a wonderful gentleman named Johann Schiller. And Canada’s first winery was established on Pelee Island in 1866 just in time for confederation (as the wine only had one year to mature, probably best to have waited until our 150th birthday to partake). And partake we shall! Let’s toast the 150th with some Ontario favourites among the many wines available at Co-op Wine, Spirits and Beer.
Let’s begin with some Rieslings, the perfect summer wine. First, a delicious, crisp Riesling from Tawse on the Niagara escarpment, four time winner of Canadian Winery of the Year. The Tawse Riesling “displays ripe aromas of green apple, pear and hints of sweet lime.” Now that sounds like summer. Next is another favourite from the Niagara region, the Cave Spring Reserve Riesling. Tasters declare it has an “apricot nose with floral, citrus, mineral notes and off-dry, forward citrus/peach flavours.” Serve cold and enjoy.
One place Canada’s cold climate pays off is in our world-renowned Icewines. This is wine made from grapes frozen on the vine, producing a honey-sweet nectar that refreshes like a leap into Georgian Bay. We have many excellent Icewines to choose from, like Lakeview Vidal Icewine, sleek and perfectly balanced with notions of honey, peach cobbler and pear preserves. Or our Pelee Island Icewine from Canada's southernmost appellation. The Magnotta Vidal Icewine is perfect for the 150th because it has a Canadian flag on the label. The fact that it is luscious and sweet with apricot, candied peach, toffee and honey flavours doesn’t hurt either. Finally, don’t miss Chateau de Charmes Icewine, a unique Icewine because they wait until at least -10°C or -12°C to be sure every drop of water in the grapes is completely frozen.
No birthday celebration for Canada is complete without reds (after all, most of our flag is red). Like these two favourites from Inniskillin, Canada’s original estate winery. The Inniskillin Cab Franc is wonderful, a robust black grape variety, and the Inniskillin Niagara Pinot Noir with aromas of raspberry, cherry, with a touch of vanilla and spice. Or the Henry of Pelham Baco Noir, with ripe blackberry and plum aromas with coffee, cedar and smoky notes. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon balance together to create a velvety treat of candy apple and cocoa bean flavours.
Canada. What can’t we do!
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