How you can use social media to get a behind-the-scenes look at local winemakers.
Is it too soon to wax nostalgic about DVDs? I don’t think there is a DVD in my collection where I haven’t scanned through every minute of bonus content available to me. But when we open a bottle of wine I don’t think many consider the people involved in the creation of the wine behind the scenes.
This is too bad, because there are great stories to be told. Ontario wineries are, for the most part, small businesses, and often run by families. They’re passionate about what they do, and on social media, they share how vineyards work and what’s going on. Here are a few of my favourite ways to stay connected with what is going on in wine country.
Hinterland Wine Co., Twitter/Instagram @hinterlandwine
A Prince Edward County winery that specializes in sparkling wine, Hinterland is currently in the process of establishing a brewery adjacent to their property. The most important thing about the Hinterland Twitter feed is that they always give you the heads up on where and when they are selling their wines at farmers’ markets. This is obviously very important if you wake up on a Saturday and need to pick up some premium wine to make a mimosa.
— Hinterland Wine Co. (@hinterlandwine) October 31, 2015
Brian Schmidt, Vineland Estates, Twitter/Instagram @Benchwineguy
This is the ultimate window into the life of a true wine geek. Schmidt is a talented winemaker and posts photos of the entire process behind making wines right down to showing off his new farm equipment. The new piece of equipment is an optical sorting machine that separates the good fruit from the bad … think of it as a real-life egg grader, just like the one in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Shawn McCormick, Wine Writer and Founder of #Onwinechat, Twitter: @uncorkontario
Every Wednesday night, you can follow the hashtag #ONWinechat on Twitter and find a dedicated bunch of oenophiles discussing a variety of topics. Earlier this week, the subject was Ontario wines you would like to see on the LCBO shelves. It’s a great place to discover new wines and learn a thing or two without needing to worry about things getting too snobby.
Tonight @ 10 p.m.#ONWineChat wants to know what Ontario wines you'd like to see in the LCBO. No, "all of them" is not the right answer!
— Shawn McCormick (@UncorkOntario) November 4, 2015
Now that your social media is locked and loaded for all things wine related, here is what is great in your local vintages section.
2013 Dirty Laundry Madam’s Vines Gewürztraminer- Vintages 423228 – $19.95 – ****
I have made no secret of my love of gewürztraminer. Gew—ginger and rose petal dominate the nose, with a bit of spice laced in there as well. When you get the wine in your mouth, there’s a taste of tangerine and peach that gives way to lychee and ginger notes on the finish. The acidity is perfectly balanced, but the texture lingers with a slight oily texture. The wine straddles a line between Germany and Alsace with style—whether your preference lies more towards one or the other, this wine is worth visiting.
2014 Megalomaniac Coldhearted Riesling Icewine – Vintages – $29.95 (200 ml) – ****+
I love Riesling Icewine. There is something about the acidity that makes it so easy to drink and makes it a great choice to pair with food. Until I convince everyone to stop serving icewine with dessert, I am going to continue my mantra of having icewine at the front of your meal. Serve this with the stinkiest of blue cheeses and the most decadent of foie gras or pâté. This has aromas of peaches in syrup and lemons. The fruit flavours really stand out over the sweetness of the icewine and the finish is fantastic with nice acidity. Simply put, this is very good.
2013 Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir – Vintages 1560 – $29.95 – ****1/2+
Absolutely stunning. It’s going to take me a minute to collect my thoughts on this wine because it’s just SO good. The fact that it’s less than $30 just makes it better. This wine smells like a field of violets. Once you get past the nose, you get a perfect balance between ripe-red cherry and raspberry, damp earth tones and food-friendly acidity on the finish. I don’t know why I added food friendly to the previous statement because pairing food with this wine is almost criminal. This is drinking well right now, so pick up a few bottles to enjoy over the next few years.
2012 Creekside Estate Laura’s Red – Vintages 117960 – $19.95 – ****+
This bottle represents pretty much everything you can grow in Niagara: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, syrah, malbec, and petit verdot. Produced during the hot 2012 summer, the nose is nice and fruity but with an undertone of smoked meaty goodness. This isn’t a wine that you want to age for a while but that’s okay; it’s priced and timed to enjoy with roast beef or stews throughout the fall and winter. If you can save a bottle it will be a nice way to kick off the Spring BBQ season.
2013 Inniskillin Reserve Series Chardonnay – Vintages 383562 – $18.95 – ****
This year has seen lots of great Chardonnay priced under $20, including Flat Rock, 16 Mile, Chateau des Charmes, and Cave Spring. But let’s talk about this offering from Inniskillin; the nose is peach, pear, and toasted oak. The oak is quite strong, so make sure you are mindful of the serving temperature. Put this in the fridge for only 30 minutes before serving, or it might start to taste like a popsicle stick when it gets too cold. Do it right, and the acidity will leave you with a nice aftertaste of vanilla.