Every year on December 24, I like to celebrate with good friends who also work in the wine industry. One of the things us wine geeks like to do is blind tasting - it seems like we never get tired of it! Last year, someone brought a vibrant, structured and juicy white wine. It had notes of gasoline, and a slight nutty character indicating some age, but it was still very alive.
I reached out for another glass. Was this wine Semillon or Riesling? The group was divided, and none of us could figure out where this wine came from. Austria, Germany and Australia were all possibilities we were exploring, but we were still unsure. You can always count on a blind tasting to humble you, as none of us were right. This wine was from Ontario, made by a small boutique winery that we were just starting to hear about - 13th Street Winery. Wow! None of us saw that coming.
That was my first introduction to 13th Street Winery, and ever since that day, I saw their immense potential. Which is fitting that they are recognized as one of the best wineries in the Niagara Region. The arrival of Burgundian winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas, in 2009, has also improved the quality of their wine.
Plus, 13th Street Winery is part of our FREE SHIPPING series this week when you purchase six or more bottles. This offer is only around until Sunday, August 23, at midnight. Choose your bottles, and then enter the code FREE15 at check out to get these delectable wines delivered for free!
Here are some of my top picks you can buy at My Wine Canada:
Last time I enjoyed a glass of this sparkler, it was on a hot summer day at a restaurant in the bucolic wine region of Niagara. It was just what the doctor ordered - fresh and creamy with a slight tannic edge, with bright cranberries and wild strawberry notes. Attention: dangerously quaffable. ($24.95, 13% alcohol)
Gamay is one of the grapes I embrace all year around. In the summer, I put a bottle in the fridge for 20 minutes and serve slightly chilled with grilled salmon. It also makes regular appearances at picnics, along with charcuteries and pâtés. In the winter, it is often my go to with my favourite comfort food - roasted chicken. Juicy and savoury with bright notes of red cherries, 13th Street Winery crafts a refreshing example. In French we call this ‘vin de soif’. ($19.95, 13% alcohol)
Those who love Pinot Noir know how hard it is to find a well-made wine representative of the grape at a good price. Finicky, the so-called heartbreak grape often challenges wine lovers. Do not fear! That is not the case with this Pinot. It is simple, yet charming, with precise aromas of strawberries, violets and slight earthy notes. What a very nice find for the price! It also pairs perfectly with duck confit for dinner. ($23.95, 12.5% alcohol)
Niagara Riesling’s have proven the test of time, and the grapes just seem to sing in this region. This wine is a great example of that. With pronounced notes of lemon zest, white grapefruit and mineral notes with searing acidity, this wine can pair with seafood, cheese fondue, and spicy foods. The choice is yours! ($19.95, 12.5% alcohol)
Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She co-owns the Vancouver-based company ‘house wine’ and is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers.
She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.