Top Wine Picks! Easy-Going Ontario Summer Sippers

My wine-drinking preferences change with the seasons. In winter, for example, I like bigger, brooding reds and richer, complex whites; they almost seem to warm the soul in the frozen Manitoba climate.

But in our gorgeous, sun-drenched summers I’m all about crisp, refreshing wines, no matter the colour. I don’t like excessive oak or tannin in my summer sippers — I want fresh fruit and a splash of acidity.

There are plenty of fun, fresh reds, whites, rosés and bubblies coming out of Ontario, especially from wineries affiliated with Diamond Estates — in particular My Wine Canada partner wineries 20 Bees, FRESH Wines and EastDell Estates. What follows are a few wines from these properties to be enjoyed sitting in the sun at the lake, in your backyard, on a patio or elsewhere.

Oh, and the best part is that the 20 Bees, EastDell Estates and FRESH wines are part of My Wine Canada’s Free Wine Shipping Flash Series. This week you can mix and match from the wineries below; pick six or more bottles and get free shipping. The promo will automatically be applied at checkout.

  1. Fresh 2014 Sparkling Rosé ($14.95)

There’s no better way to celebrate summer than with some bubbly, and this fun pink sparkling wine is just the ticket. A blend of a few different red grapes, there’s plenty of cherry, raspberry and peach notes on the nose here. The FRESH bubbly brings a hint of sweetness — just enough to keep the berry and stone fruit notes lively — as well as some bright effervescence and a splash of acidity that keep things… you guessed it… fresh. Try with your favourite summer salad, some fresh fruit or mild cheeses.

  1. EastDell 2015 Unoaked Chardonnay ($13.95)

If it’s pure, ripe fruit flavours you’re after, EastDell’s unoaked Chardonnay delivers them in spades. Red apple and pear notes are front and centre here, with bright lemon and peach aromas bringing up the rear. It’s a light-plus bodied white that packs all that delicious fruit into a vibrant, refreshing package which will work well with grilled chicken, shrimp or veggies, or some not-too-spicy fish tacos.

  1. 20 Bees 2014 Baco Noir ($10.95)

If you’ve never tried a wine made from the Baco Noir grape, 20 Bees’ version is a great place to start. There are plenty of dark berry notes on the nose, joined by hints of leather and smoked meat that help set this grape apart from so many others. It’s a medium-bodied, easy-drinking red that brings those deep fruit flavours with just a hint of smoky complexity. It’s totally a red you can chill down for about 20-25 minutes and serve up with burgers on the deck.

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Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson is the wine columnist and literary editor for the Winnipeg Free Press. He’s on Twitter and Instagram at @bensigurdson.