Food & WineThirst impressions: Summer’s Here & the Time is Right for Wine and the BBQ

Thirst impressions: Summer’s Here & the Time is Right for Wine and the BBQ

Thirst impressions: Summer’s Here & the Time is Right for Wine and the BBQ

I have a few selections for you based on the July 21 release, but there are also a couple that come from previous releases you might want to still search out as they offer great value for the taste buds.

Let’s start with a new wine into Vintages from an established producer. By now, you’ve heard of Oyster Bay out of New Zealand. The winery has had a variety of wines on the market including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and a bubbly. There’s a new bubbly in town from the Bay, and she’s a beauty. The Oyster Bay Rosé Sparkling Cuvee ($21.95 - #0280172) is well priced for what you get. Starting with the pretty salmon colour, then comes the raspberry, lime and limeade notes with some mid-palate sweetness. This is a real special and pleasurable bubbly. Buy a bunch for those special occasions ahead, or just because – there’s no better reason for sparkling. (****+)

Another previously released wine is from the Vintages Shop-on-Line program. This particular way to buy wine has turned into a bit of a nightmare for consumers. I have heard horror stories about the lack of prompt and punctual delivery from the LCBO but what do you expect when you’re the only game in town? But if you can wait, this wine is worth the hassle. Look for the Greywacke 2010 Pinot Gris ($28 – 0282780 out of New Zealand. The winery uses a natural fermentation on this wine, which is done in old French barrels (50 per cent), but the oak is barely noticeable. With unbelievable balance with fruit and tart acidity, you’ll finish the bottle before you know it. (**** ½)

Now it’s time to look at more up-coming wines. The focus is Australia for the July release but there’s little to be excited about from there. Instead, I’ll keep you right here at home and recommend the Malivoire 2010 Gewürztraminer ($24.95 - #0542522). This is a hit-and-miss variety in Ontario but one that Malivoire continues to do right. Lychee and rose petal give way to a spice on the palate that not only lingers but turns into white pepper at a certain point; really well made and a pretty wine. (****)

Another white of note is the De Loach 2009 OFS Chardonnay ($37.95 - #0729343), which turns out to be soft on smell but really big on taste (****). For something whimsical try this one from Washington State Kung Fu Girl Riesling ($18.95 - #0273953) has lime zing with a wisp of minerality, hint of sweetness and a lovely finish. (****)

It’s summer and I know we all feel like King of the BBQ but go that one step further and show your sophistication in the glass with these meat-ready wines. From Argentina, there’s famed consultant Michel Rolland’s Clos de los Siete 2009 ($21.95 - #0622571), it has been on a downward swing the last two vintages, but this 2009 brings the wine back to the fore. Cedar smoke and black fruit that’s very appealing and elegant. (****+)

The French still know how to make a good, inexpensive bottle of wine to go great with a meal. From the Midi region, check out Le
Cirque 2010 Carignan/Mourvedre/Syrah ($14.95 - #0277079) – vanilla, smoky, blackberry, black cherry, cocoa. It’s all in there and it’s very tasty. The circus is in town and it’s as good a time as you remember it (****+). Old World wines continue to shine with this Italian selection. Rocca delle Macie 2006 Chianti Classico Riserva ($21.95 - #0930966)is a Tuscan staple that shows real elegance from the wood smoke and vanilla to the blue and black berries and oak spice. There’s a persistence on the palate that’ll keep you pouring more. (****+)

Spain is also a country where value meets quality. The Castano Solanera 2009 Vinas Viejas (old vines) ($15.95 - #0276162) is a blend of the familiar with the indigenous – 20 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon is added to Monastrell and Garnache – sweet black fruit with a steady vanilla seam. Well-priced to buy by the case during BBQ season. (****+)

Australia has one highlight: Pyrenees Ridge 2009 Shiraz ($20.95 - #0661918).It hits all the right notes including black pepper, chocolate, rich plum, toasted cinnamon, licorice and even some mineral character mixed with spice. (****+)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the two “ports”, one real, one not. The real is the Newman’s Celebrated Port ($14.95 - #0134908) which has an odd Canadian connection you can read about on the back label. It’s playful and fun with sweet cherry and chocolate (****+). The fake is an Australian number. Buller Victoria Tawny ($18.95 - #0271403). The Aussies can no longer put the word “port” on the label, but they sure still make a beauty.This version has more chocolate and caramel than fruit and a really good spice note that goes from middle to end. (****+)

So that’s it for now. Enjoy BBQ season, the hot weather and most of all, the wine!

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