HOT WINES FOR WARM NIGHTS AND COOL DAYS
Why we're drinking this
We always feel a little twinge of nostalgia this time of year as the last of summer’s heat fades into crisp afternoons and the smells of dried leaves, freshly-harvested root veg and wood smoke from crackling fires.
So when we put this season’s pack together, we looked for wines to guide you through the changing season in style. Need a perfect companion for one of those still-warm afternoons on the porch? How ’bout a cool glass of Pinot Grigio? Or need to ward off the creeping evening chill with something more tasty than a sweater? Try a rich red in front of the fire. (We’ve got a Meritage that made the Dean’s List…).
Regent 2011 White: The venerable Stratus winery will occasionally create special bottlings under its Regent label. These are made in small quantities and are only available direct from the winery. Stratus maintains a reputation for ultra-high quality wines painstakingly made with fruit from the estate, where meticulous vineyard techniques border on obsession. As they should. French winemaker JL Groux is a master of the blend, also known as “assemblage.”
Tastes like: Floral and honey notes, with plush almost-full-bodied heft and flavours of apple, hay, grass and lime. “Elegant use of oak,” says Lindsay Groves.
Creekside Estate Winery 2015 Pinot Noir: This is a classic Pinot Noir in the making. That is, while it’s showing the requisite Pinot notes right now, it’s still young and a bit wild and lean. The vintage was a tough one, coming off a very cold winter that damaged vines and lowered yields. On the positive side, this led to more concentrated fruit. Creekside is one of Niagara’s top wineries for powerful reds and this Pinot is right on the money.
Tastes like: Red cherries and plum with savoury notes of dried flowers, leather and earth. Complex and tangy with supple tannins.
Organized Crime 2016 Pinot Grigio: If you like your wines on the nefarious side, Organized Crime is the way to go. Opened in 2006 on the Beamsville Bench in Niagara, the winery’s name stems from historical records of an incident involving two Mennonite families and a vandalized pipe organ. A winery visit will provide more details… Meantime, this Pinot Grigio from the warm 2016 vintage will slake your thirst admirably. It’s bone dry and full of ripe soft fruit flavours.
Tastes like: Apple, peach, citrus and tropical fruit flavours wrapped in a dry, light style. A plump, refreshing wine. “Crowd pleaser,” says sommelier Lindsay Groves.
NOMAD 2013 Wanderlove Red: Hinterbrook winery’s NOMAD brand is not only beautifully packaged — each year the label features a pencil sketch of an animal seen in the vineyard — but the wines are equally unique and reverential to the land from which they come. The award-winning winery takes eco-stewardship seriously, with a state-of-the-art winery powered by solar and geothermal energy and water-saving practices. This wine is “bold, flavourful and classic” says Lindsay Groves.
Tastes like: Big black and blue fruit (blueberry) with savoury spice and campfire. Black pepper and meaty notes. “Big and concentrated but not overdone,” says Lindsay Groves.
Screw 2014 Red: A perennial favourite for the kwäf Taste Buds, Screw is a fun-loving wine made for lovers of wine and… fun. It’s an entirely unique blend, quite unlike any red wine you’ve likely had, and yet deliciously familiar. The blend changes year to year. This 2014 is led by Cabernet Sauvignon at 42% along with Petit Verdot at 25%. These muscly grapes give the wine its heft and black berry fruit. In this case, proclamations of “screw it” will lead to positive outcomes.
Tastes like: Deep, dark and delicious black berries, black cherry and sweet-peppery spices. Dry and medium-bodied with plump tannins.
Niagara College Teaching Winery 2012 Dean's List Meritage: Just in time for back to school, this is the student-made wine from the Niagara College Teaching Winery. It’s a classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc along with Merlot. Cab Franc takes the lead in this blend, and why not? Ontario has near perfect conditions for the grape, and it gives this blend a savoury and cherry fruit focus. This is a rare treat in a wine that is developing mature characteristics, integrated flavours and an elegant texture.
Tastes like: Cherry and kirsch, blueberry, licorice and soft leather. Sweet spices and savoury/herb notes. Firm tannins and a long finish.