The 2013 National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC) concluded on Monday September 16th, by presenting Mission Hill Family Estate Winery with the winery of the year award, along with two platinum awards for its 2011 Riesling Reserve and 2009 Compendium wines. This event, held at Joey Restaurant at the Eaton Centre downtown Toronto, was in the non-structured tasting format with five award-winning (2 platinum, 3 gold medals) Mission Hill wines presented in conjunction with food pairings designed to complement the wines.
On a beautiful, warm, sunny July 11th, I spent my lunchtime by attending a luncheon at the Wine Bar – organized by Eurovintage International and hosted by Stéphane Vedeau himself to feature his Ferme Du Mont wines. New to both the Ferme Du Mont wines and the venue, I soon found a new addition to my cellar and a spot to spend the occasional Monday evening dinning with friends.
Tasting of different vintages of the same wine, known as vertical tastings, provide a wealth of information in regards to how the wine ages, from which extrapolations into future ageability can be made.
Rosewood Estates had its first vertical tasting of the last five (also the first five) Semillon vintages, to which I was recently invited. This white grape, known for its low acidity and oiliness, is used in production of dry or sweet wines and is commonly grown in places like Bordeaux and Australia and to lesser extend Chile and South Africa. Though Rosewood Estates, together with Angel’s Gate and Stratus Wineries are the only three wineries growing Semillon in Niagara thus far, this variety has undoubtedly set its root-in-the-door and is determined to remain. Planted in 2003, Rosewood began harvesting Semillon in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2008 when a single varietal wine was made.
Starting with the March 2nd and continuing with March 16th by-weekly vintages releases, together with LCBO’s spring issue of Food & Drink Magazine showcasing two articles; the LCBO kicked-off a full-on promotion of Californian wines under the ‘Californian Style’ branding. For nearly a month, the LCBO has promotions and free tastings across 630 LCBO stores and features over 100 products, of which 22 are new. The LCBO also organized three high-profile events. The first took place on March 8th at the ’flagship’ Summerhill store, with celebrity chef Duskie Estes pairing her two signature dishes with seven wines.
There are five wine growing regions within BC and they are considerably more north of the Ontario growing region that spans the latitudes N42° and N44°. The southern-most growing regions (and western-most) are the Vancouver Island and Gulf Island regions around the N48° latitude, whereas the Fraser Valley, Similkameen Valley and Okanagan Valley regions snuggle against the 49th parallel, with Okanagan extending nearly to the N51° latitude, thereby northerly crossing the so-called wine growing belt that spans the N35° and N50° latitudes. The first thought may be that being so north and so close to Rockies, the climate would be cold and quite unpredictable, however these regions have in common a mild and relatively dry climate that is ideal for viticulture and aids in producing intensely aromatic wines.
GrapeSelections was recently invited to participate in a second online video wine and cheese tasting (first one can be watched here) organized by Natalie MacLean. This article summarizes what is involved in preparation to make the video happen (on my end) as well as to feature the wines and cheeses and how they pair together.
On August 29th 2012, I went to wine tasting luncheon with a winemaker Gonzalo Bertelsen from the Finca El Origen winery located in Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina. Together with me, other invited guests were wine enthusiasts Monica Janek, Tyler Philp and Jennifer Hart. Upon entering the Miller Tavern, we were led to a secluded section designated just for us and were introduced to the winemaker Gonzalo Bertelsen and two Charton Hobbs agents Kristine Bach and Kevin Chisholm (the sponsors) by Bryan McCaw of WineAlign (the organizer). We gathered around a table set with glasses and wines to be tasted and were seated such that we were able to interact with Gonzalo most directly. I myself sat right next to him, allowing me to have one on one conversation and to ask him specific questions.
With the team of wine enthusiasts, each an expert in one area or another, we joined Google Hangouts to see how live video tasting would work. At the beginning, technology was not cooperating and while we were waiting for Natalie MacLean to set it up, we were goofing around – trying out different cheeses with the wines (other than the sparking, which was to be opened live) and were just having a lot of fun. After a while Natalie fixed the issue and so the ‘Tasting bunch’ composed of (according to introductions) Allie Hughes, Bethany Harpur + Holly Bruns + Nita Boushey, Corinna Horton, myself, Dawn Montgomery, Gaby Israel, Jason Solanki and Nina Syas under the direction of Natalie MacLean proceeded with the live tasting of the three wines (see below) and six cheeses (listed in my previous post).
The logistics – first we had to receive the wine and the cheese, in my case I had them both sent directly to work as there are always people who can sign for it. The day when the wine came, the FedEx guy brought in this big box, and though we receive many parcels each day, some of my colleagues noticed that this one was different. I proceeded to open it, while anxious to find out which wines I am receiving, I got a nice surprise – I expected six bottles, but there were seven. Some of my colleagues (knowing what I do for fun) asked if there will be any leftovers that they can share. About a week later, I received another parcel, this one with the cheese. Now everyone knew what I was up to and so they gathered to see what cheeses I got. I must say, almost nothing like the actual visual sensation of wine or cheese on a weekday morning at work brightens up the day more.