Wine Maven

by Mary Bailey

Culmina Saignee

Culmina Saignee

2014 Culmina Saignée, Okanagan Valley VQA, Canada, $34.
Culmina Saignée is a delicious wine, fresh, dry, with some lovely juicy strawberry and thyme notes. It’s made in the classic rosé style in which red wine must (the fermenting juice), in this case Culmina Hypothesis, is drawn off (bled) to both concentrate the remaining red and create a rosé with enough structure to have with dinner. What’s interesting too is the package—French-made clear glass (check out the faceted punt) to showcase the subtle rosy colour, with a glass Vinoseal closure.

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series

2014 Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series 2Bench White, Okanagan Valley VQA, Canada, $27.
The name refers to the two vineyards where the grapes are grown, the sandy Black Sage Bench on the east side and Tinhorn Creek vineyard on the Golden Mile Bench on the west side. The blend of Semillon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, with a bit of Viognier and Muscat is beautifully aromatic and flavourful — with smoky notes from barrel fermentation, stone fruit, tropical fruit, tangerine and lime. In all, a gorgeous dry white with enough substance to partner with Thanksgiving turkey.

Vina Esmeralda

Vina Esmeralda

2013 Vina Esmeralda, Penedès DO, Spain, $16.
The renewed interest in Muscat turns the spotlight on this easy-going, delicate, fragrant, off-dry and inexpensive white from the mountains near the Mediterranean Sea. The blend, 85 per cent Muscat and 15 per cent Gewürztraminer, is perfect as an aperitif, with shellfish, melon with ham or white meats. Looking for an affordable wine that will keep everybody happy around the Thanksgiving table? This is it.

Devon Seagrave, Moët Hennessy Marketing Manager pours the Earl Grey infusion.

Devon Seagrave, Moët Hennessy Marketing Manager pours the Earl Grey infusion.

Veuve Cliquot Rich NV Champagne, France, $90.
Here is a novel way to enjoy the new Veuve Cliquot Rich— in the new Champagne cocktail. Fill a tumbler-sized wine glass with ice and some cucumbers, then pour over Veuve Cliquot Rich. Try the same with sliced peppers and notice how the wine brings out the green flavours and the heat of the peppers. Then pour Rich through a strainer of Earl Grey tea for an amazing bergamot-scented Champagne infusion. Cliquot worked for a year with a Paris mixologist to develop the flavours and program. With Veuve Cliquot Rich and the novel way to enjoy it, they aim to capture the cocktail crowd along with imbibers who prefer a sweeter beverage—especially those who wouldn’t dream of ordering a flute of Champagne. The wine is made with all the care and attention we would expect from Veuve Cliquot, with the freshness and creamy notes characteristic of the house, but the actual blend is tweaked to handle the added sugar on the dosage with more Pinot Meunier (Pinot Noir 45 per cent, Pinot Meunier 40 per cent). The result is a more fruity, less serious and hugely satisfying drink. Available exclusively at DeVine Wines and North 53.

Chartier Cotes du Rhone

Chartier Cote du Rhone

Chartier Fronsac AOC Merlot

Chartier Fronsac AOC Merlot

Chartier Le Blanc Pays D’oc IGP

Chartier Le Blanc Pays D’oc IGP

Wines Cuvée Chartier, France, $22.
Quebecer François Chartier, the Best Sommelier in the World 1994 (Grand Prix Sopexa, Paris), and the author of the sommelier’s bible Taste Buds and Molecules, has created six wines based on his principles of flavour and wine and food harmony. Three are available exclusively at Sobey’s: 2012 Cotes du Rhone, 2013 Le Blanc Pays D’oc IGP (Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc and Rolle) and 2010 Fronsac AOC Merlot. The wines are suberbly made and true to their terroir. The clever labels denote which foods are best with the wines. Try them out to see which goes with what and why, though keep in mind that the disc on Le Blanc’s label denotes a Brie- or Camenbert- style mild and creamy cheese, not cake.


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