Once again this year I had the privilege of being a judge at the National Wine Awards of Canada hosted by WineAlign. It’s truly exciting to witness the growth of the Canadian wine industry. New wineries are constantly opening, not to mention the overall quality keeps on rising. 13th Street Winery has been making great wine from day one. If they were solid right from the start, they’ve never been better now. Below are four of my top picks currently available right here at My Wine Canada. Sign up to join the Wine Club, and you'll automatically get these wines sent to you this month. Go Canada Go!
I remember in the early 2000's when a friend served me a wine blind. It was stunning, well balanced and was showing a bit of age. I was with a bunch of wine geeks and figuring out where the wine was from was a challenge. We were going back and forth between Riesling from Austria, Germany and Australia. None of us had it right. Ontario was the answer. It was the 13th Street Riesling!
Their current vintage is just as impressive. The very slight touch of residual sugar on the palate is balanced by high and bright acidity. Expect bursting flavours of peach, white nectarine, pink grapefruit, lime zest with a touch of wet stones and petrol. A great match with Asian food, salmon tartare and salads made from local ingredients.
Made from 30 year old vines from the Sandstone Vineyard, this fuller style of Chardonnay shines when served with food. Round and voluptuous, yet balanced by great acidity, it will seduce wine drinkers who appreciate a touch of oak in their Chardonnay. Do not fear, it is well balanced and the fruit is concentrated enough to support the oak. A great match with creamy pasta, lobster, crab, scallops and veal.
There is a big trend of going for lighter reds in the world of wine right now. What does this mean? A wine that has a light body with bright crunchy flavours and with a lower alcohol content (less then 13%). In french, there is a great expression for this type of wine. We say ‘vin de soif’ (wine to quench your thirst). Gamay is exactly that. If you’re familiar with the best Beaujolais (made of 100% Gamay), you will certainly enjoy this wine. Versatile at the table, it especially shines when served slightly chilled. If you want to be cool and drink what the sommeliers are buying these days, this is it. Get on the trends: #GoGamayGo.
It’s always a treat to be able to purchase a wine that shows some evolution. While this wine might not keep for many more years, it’s certainly very enjoyable to drink now. Cabernet Franc has its own and unique expression in Niagara and it has shown again and again that it can succeed in this region. Here you have some beautiful complex flavours that demonstrates graceful grape ageing.
Produced in very small quantities, this Cabernet Franc was made from a selection of the best French barrels from the 2011 vintage. A total of 8 barrels of Cabernet Franc made the Essence cuvée. Rare and hard to find….so stock up! And remember to serve with food, the assertive tannins need it. Burgers and steak you said? Yes please!
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.