Well… Not exactly.
While I’ll be spending Christmas break in Ottawa, sipping on this powerful, concentrated yet elegant BC VQA Cab is a tasty, cassis-soaked way to reminisce about the West Coast.
Opened on December 29, 2010. A blend of Baco Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. I haven’t had too many good examples of Baco Noir, and this wine basically confirmed that I will probably never be a fan of the grape, which is a hybrid variety.
Most wines you see on store shelves, particularly European wines that only allow specific grapes, are made of vitis vinifera varieties only – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are popular examples.
Today Baco Noir and other hybrid wine grapes (those bred between vitis vinifera and other species; Vidal and Maréchal Foch among the most widely known) are generally grown in North America, where their hardiness copes well with the extreme northern climates and potential vineyard diseases, and local regulations allow for wine to be produced commercially out of these grapes.
It is said that non-vitis vinifera grapes tend to produce wines of a “foxy” aroma and palate, which can be a unique characteristic. Unfortunately, the trait doesn’t appeal to me at all, and is exactly what I detected out of this bottle of EastDell Black Cab.
However, this wine is also quite typical for the varietals and region, with its cool climate greenness on the nose and palate, and so for the sake of education is probably worth a try.
Unavailable in British Columbia, as far as I know, but if you have a friend returning from Ontario, get them to bring a bottle home for you.
Deep ruby purple in the glass, this wine exudes youthful black fruits, berries, currants and red fruits on the nose which is veiled by a slightly musky or skunky tone. The palate is dry, with ample acidity, low tannins and a fairly light body that carries youthful, green flavours of sour cherry, unripe berries, herbs, asparagus and hints of metal and oak that finish short. Drink now and forever hold your peace. $13 in Ontario.
I got this a couple of summers ago while driving through Summerland. I recommend visiting the winery if you get a chance, it’s one of the more idyllic cottagey shops in the area and has a nice tasting bar. The people working there are really nice and also have good knowledge of the winery’s history as well as that of the locale.
Rich citrus, ripe apple verging on stone fruit aromas with hints of biscuit combine in the mouth to form a juicy, ripe palate with a clean finish. Easy drinking, approachable Chardonnay with just the slightest touch of oak aging. $25
This elegant sparkling cocktail was concocted by me, but derives its crazy moniker from the brain of Sean Minogue.
I served this and the Naughty Chardonnay at a holiday dinner with the family, and was pleasantly surprised at how quaffable the former was as an apéritif.
The recipe is simple, and serves up to 8 per 750 ml bottle (by the way, Henkell Rosé is around $15):
Thanks to new Ontarian friend Marcella, I received this lovely bottle of wine for Christmas!
I don’t know a whole lot about Ontario wines, but with its most well known wine region, the Niagara Peninsula, being situated on hills and valleys next to a huge water source, I could only imagine that it would be somewhat like BC’s Okanagan, only more humid and extreme in climate.
Beamsville Bench is a tiny sub-appellation within Niagara Peninsula, sandwiched in between the towns of Hamilton and St. Catharines. I couldn’t find a scaled map on VQA Ontario’s website, but from what I see on Google Maps, the area only seems to span a mere 5 to 7 km across the southern edge of Lake Ontario.
Thirty Bench Red is the winery’s Bordeaux-style blend, and while it was delicious in December 2009, I have no doubt that it could stand up to a few more years’ worth of cellaring, just like the great French wines that define its genre.
Opened December 27, 2009. Deep bluish purple-black in the glass, this inky blend is a cloud of berries, rich black fruit, mellow oak and a bit of spicy, decadent complexity on the nose. This big, brooding red covers the palate with a medley of blackcurrants, black fruits, mouthcoating tannins and a touch of spiciness on the finish. Terrific as a late-night sipper or served with osso bucco or a savoury lamb tagine. $25