Origin: Canada, Ontario, VQA Niagara Peninsula VQA
Bottle size: 750
Rose Hill Chardonnay, what could be said about this wine? It's an under-toned, subtle creatures with little in the line of panache and almost no flamboyance. It's not to say that this wine is without character, but it's as outstanding as pasta; sauceless, spiceless, cheeseless, pasta (on a white plate, served in a white room, clad in white drapes and inhabited by an albino guy who was tragically born without a personality... and whose name is Ross.)
So I'm not really doing this wine justice, maybe I'm just a little biased. I am a fan of reds that tackle you soon as the cork is pulled. I believe a good Riesling should grab your tongue and perforate it vigourously with pins and needles... and I trust a Chardonnay to hit me with a buttered branch from an ancient oak! It would seem that times have changed a lot since the days of a Char that could stand up to the rest of the whites and brag about it's times on the inside. All those months stuck behind slabs of oak; casked away to return one day, thicker and with more character... unlike this wine which presents itself with all the character of a bottle of Evian...
Todays Chardonnays sport labels of "UnOaked", "Clean", and my personal favorite: "Inox" (This is short for Inoxidable which is French for "Stainless"...might as well call it Chardonnay flavourless, part from that hint of Pinot Gris but less flavourful. It's not to say that these Inox Chars don't hold a place in the world of wine, but they don't exactly stand out much. I'm going to attempt to be unbiased and treat this wine with respect and admiration. Let's start with the nose:
Smell of dried lemon peel and wet limestone come through initially. The smell is entirely a local smell, and if you've ever taken a hike through the trails of the Niagara Escarpment on a rainy summer day you know the smell I'm thinking of. This wine envelops itself in its terroire. Picking up the scent of it's surrounding and its calcium rich soils in the Markham region. The scent is a distinct Chardonnay aroma and easily classifiable as a benchmark for what a basic Char should smell like. If I were teaching someone what a Chardonnay was, I would start here.
Origin: France, Cahors (Chateau du Gaudou) AOC
Bottle size: 750
Just outside the Bordeaux region in France sits a small growing region known as the Vallée du Lot where the grapes are grown on very gravel-rich hillsides. In this valley is the AOC region of Cahors; a unique and pleasant Chateau known to world as Chateau du Gaudou (Shaw-t-o dew go-do).
On this estate winery they produce a rarity in French wines, it's not the grapes themselves that are necessarily unique, but the labeling practices are. You see, in more French regions wines are simply named for their geographical area. Laws on grape growing are very strict in France and quite often labeling wine as "Bordeaux" is enough to indicate what varietals are present. In Cahors, wines are sold with different blends of red grapes and they often have a break-down of the wine on the label.
This particular wine is made from 80% malbec, 15% merlot, and 5% tannat. This mix of grapes makes for a very interesting flavour profile. The malbec, being the dominant grape pushes through on the nose. It's distinct aroma of red-peppers fresh from the garden and earthy tones make this wine a great hearty-meal companion. The merlot adds a smoky subtlety to the freshness of the malbec. Merlot is known for it's body and in this wine it doesn't disappoint, adding a structural element that takes the wine away from a nearly bitter taste and mellowing it out on the tongue. The tannat, in my opinion is a filler grape. Much in the way Cabernet Franc is usually treated, the tannat grape is almost always undersold. It's debatable whether or not the tannat really adds much to he character of this wine at this time, but it is certain that it will help it keep it's appeal over time.
Origin: Canada, Walkerton, Ontario
Bottle size: 750
The site is called WhiskyGuyD for a reason! Wines are fantastic and wonderful, but make way! Because whisky takes center stage.
Here's a whisky that you'd be put on probation for mixing with. This isn't you're bottom shelf C.C. Unlike the usual 10 and 12 year old whiskies from this distillery, this small batch amber gem is a full two decades old.
The aroma of oak in this whisky is easily twice that of it's milder cousin the C.C. Premium. The colour is considerably darker too. With a hue of red and gold this delicious whisky is notably one of the best this blogger has ever tasted.
On the palate, this whisky is slightly softer than most. The extended period of oak aging has imparted a honey and butterscotch essence to this young adult.
On the nose, hints of fresh green rye and light smoky aroma dominate. The artificial and nearly medicinal scent that plagues the younger Canadian Club 12 year old are almost completely absent. After a couple sips, returning to the glass for another sniff yields a citrus aroma characteristic of ageing in younger, mildly charred barrels.
The mouth-feel is mild and soothing though not as soft as a malted scotch. The character of Canadian Rye is still clearly displayed making this whisky a quintessential exemplar of Canadian Whiskies. From its spicy entrance, to its long and warm finish, this whisky is to be enjoyed neat.
It's a popular delicacy in the far-east, particularly in Japan, and it's a prime export from a country that knows its stuff! I definitely recommend this whisky as a special treat to those who are worth it. These bottles don't come cheap and they should be savoured with the best of company.
Cheers to bottles that have seen as many sunrises as I have,
Origin: Canada, VQA Ontario VQA, Pelee Island
Bottle size: 750
Neither Gamay Noir, nor Zweigelt are typical varietals found in most regions. These understated grapes are unsung heroes in the world of wine. Full-bodied, tannic, in-your-face reds are the name of the game when you talk about Zweigelt. The origins of this varietal date back to only 1922 when Austrian viticulturist Fritz Zweigelt combined other dark grapes to make this unique species.
Zweigelt on its own is very much a mouthful. Its acidity is quite low and its tannin structure quite high, which makes this a wine to lay down. The Gamay Noir partner bring in a mouth-cleansing acidity that keeps this wine very round and quite delicate in some aspects. The acidity helps break the pucker and helps rush the mouth-feel right along. This turns a couple of rather uninspired wines into a whole experience on the palate.
Aromas of blackcurrent and raspberry can be had on the nose, the taste is very similar with dark berry and light oak. Obviously this tannin rich behemoth has been cellared in oak casks to help break it down and this has added a slight buttery taste on the finish. The structure of this wine makes it a workhorse on the dinner table, capable of standing up to the heartiest steak dinner and yet it's subtleties make me confident it would pare well with a lighter rubbed pork as well.
Pelee island is the warmest growing region in Canada, and incidentally it's also the most southern point in the whole country. This is a huge benefit for the growers who can make use of a longer growing season to ripen these warm-climate loving grapes in a country known for snow and polar-bears!
Want to buy and lay? This is a great wine to hide in the cellar only to be broken out on a special occasion. These bottles are going to stand up to another 3 or 4 years of chillen-out, which makes this 12 dollar wine an absolute bargain! Buy a case and forget about them in the good times, break'em out in the bad for a reminder that no matter how hard things get, life is still woven with awesome!
Recommended to those who sip whisky and scotch on the rocks, and those who can handle an upper-cut in a glass. This wine features a flying sugar-glider on it's label, but in my opinion it should be a ragging moose! The wine is not a pungent Merlot, but for a softee it's quite the kick. I can honestly say, for a heavy red, the acidity really brings this one around and makes it fruity and light on the finish. It's sort of like being in a fight with George Forman... not the young one though. This wine will through you a punch, but then turn around and serve you a lovely fat-free grilled burger while wearing your grandma's apron.
I'm just saying, it's got a soft side...
Cheers to Pelee Island, proving Canada can produce the heavy hearty reds right along side our delicate Rieslings and Icewines!
Origin: Canada, VQA Ontario VQA (Beamsville, Niagara Region)
Bottle size: 750
The area from which this wine originates is a very special part of the Niagara Bench in Ontario. The awkwardly north-facing slope of the Niagara Escarpment is home to many wineries, such as East Dell. Located on rolling hills are home to many unique species of flora and fauna and the East Dell winery is proud to call it home.
This particular wine, the Summer Rosé, is an iconic wine in the ED line-up. An easy sipping rosé wine with very little tannin-educed pucker and a good amount of sweetness. This wine suffers slightly from a lack of acidity that can make the taste build up on the palate leaving a sweet lingering note in very cull of your gullet. Drink this one young and it will keep its dry and fruity character, otherwise it's sweetness may become tart if cellared.
For this reason it is recommended to drink this wine at the lowest possible temperature and with light snacks. This wine, by the way, pairs very nicely with mildly spiced dishes of fish or chicken, particularly with use of honey BBQ sauces.
The most appealing aspect of this sipper must be said to be its aroma. A subtle, yet invigorating scent of strawberry with a hint of rose petal makes this wine a great summer-time, back-patio drink. At 11.5% alcohol per volume this wine packs a bit more of a punch than your Bacardi Breezers so remember, sip slowly.
I very much recommend this wine to anyone with an intolerance for heavy red wines. An outstanding example of what a Rosé wine should be, this one makes the buy-again and again list. Best of all, this bottle is sold in Canada for about 11 bucks, what a steal!
Cheers to chilled wines with chill people,
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Origin: France; Labouré-Roi
Bottle size: 750
So this is a brilliant little Syrah, or for the Aussie-lovers Shiraz, from the Bourgogne region (That's the burgondy region for the anglos). The wine presents itself with the typical plum colour one would anticipate from a resonable young Syrah; the hue is slightly rusty and definitely worthy of being called burgundy. On the nose I would say it's a rather understated scent. Not terribly ripe and mostly scented of blackcurrant and dark berries with a hint of oak and an almost Port aroma.
2007 was a smashing year for Niagara and NewWorld wine, very typical for French wines.
The mouth-feel is a bit puckery with light tannins; the acidity is low to medium and the finish is cleared up with a mouthwatering after-effect. Sugars are low for a young wine but indicative of a Vin de Pays D'Oc style. This wine would likely not hold up to any more cellaring and should be consumed shortly after purchase. If served at anything below 8deg.C. expect the wine to lose its sweetness and present itself as much more acidic.