Drink up...for patriotism.
Celebrating Canada Day with wine is easy to do. We do, after all, have reds and whites ready to go. And what better time of year to get patriotic and celebrate our country’s finest local wines?
Regardless of how you’re going to celebrate, here are a few bottles to get you through this long weekend.
This time of year I am on the lookout for what I call “patio wines.” With any wine, the temperature at which you serve it will affect how it tastes. Most red wines are okay to serve at room temperature, while most unoaked white wines can be opened straight from the fridge. But for some wines, temperature can drastically change its taste: chardonnay that has spent time in an oak barrel will taste woody and bitter if it’s served too cold. A light-bodied red, such as pinot noir or gamay, will taste fruitier if refrigerated before opening. The key to a great patio wine is something you can chill at fridge temperature and enjoy it as it warms up in your glass.
Below are some of my favourite patio wines.
2015 Featherstone Four Feathers – Vintages 341586 – $14.95 – ****
This wine reminds me that not everything in the vintages section is aiming to be a “serious” wine. A blend of chardonnay, gewurztraminer, and riesling, this wine is perfect to put on your table if you’re trying to please a crowd. Light, crisp, and easy drinking, it has a slight sweetness on the finish, and while that sweetness does linger, it is matched up with near-perfect acidity. This is perfect for summer, so keep a bottle on hand for when it’s hot outside.
The floral quality tastes amazing as the wine warms up.
2013 Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer – Vintages 302059 – $17.95 – ****+
This wine is somewhat restrained on the nose and less perfumed than I expected. There are great aromas of lychee and rose petal, and hints of spice added to the mix. The flavours on the wine match the restrained nose, while its texture is heavy on the mid-palate. There is a nice oily texture to this wine that caresses your entire mouth—and this is where Ontario Gewürz’s unique character comes through. There is a nice acidity on the finish, letting some of the floral notes linger and leaving you with just a bit of sweetness. For the summer, this will make a great match with Indian or Mexican cuisine—the sweetness and heavy texture help cut through some of the pungent spices.
Gewurztraminer is as much about texture as it is about flavour. You will find that when this wine gets warmer it will coat the palate with a heavier texture.
2015 Creekside Cabernet Rosé – Vintages 48819 – $14.95 – ****+
This is a very deep rosé. The aromas of this wine offer everything you would expect from a great Niagara cab franc: lots of red fruit, raspberry, and strawberry, but also a hint of red pepper poking through. The flavours are a little heavier and more “serious” than you would expect from a rosé. But the finish is light and easy drinking. This is a dry rosé with only a whisper of sweetness. The heavier aromas and flavours make it perfect for summer entertaining. It will pair perfectly with nearly any meat (or veggie) you can put on the grill.
It’s summer, it’s Canada Day, it’s pink wine…need I say anything else?
2015 Kacaba Unoaked Chardonnay – LCBO 326975 – $14.95 – ****
This is a solid wine and currently available at the LCBO. Unoaked chardonnay is a great wine for sipping on the patio—it’s a crowd pleaser. The nose is bright citrus with golden delicious apple. The flavours on this wine match the nose but with a nice added mineral note. The acidity on the finish of this wine is bright and palate-cleansing. While this won’t pair with your burgers or steak, it will make a great match to grilled seafood dishes and lighter picnic or patio fare.
When served at fridge temperature, this will taste more like lemon and lime. But as it warms up in the glass, you will notice flavours moving more toward apples and peaches.
2014 Henry of Pelham Old Vines Baco Noir – LCBO 459966 – $19.95 – ****
This comes from vines that are more than 30 years old. There are only a few wineries that are labelling their bottles as old vines. When a vineyard gets older, it reaches a point where it starts producing less fruit—but that fruit is better quality. The nose on this wine is ripe cherry and raspberry with hints of smoke. The flavours on this wine are exactly what you would expect from very good baco from Henry of Pelham. The flavours fill your mouth right to the cheeks with very ripe cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and cocoa flavours. The finish on this wine is smooth and balanced. There is a bit of residual sugar in the wine but I would still consider it dry.
Chill for 30 minutes before serving to make sure the wine doesn’t heat up too quickly in your glass. This belongs on your patio when you’re cooking any red meat on the grill.