As it gets colder many of us keep our sanity by turning to the warmth of tannic red wines. While I am in favour of that, I also urge my fellow oenophiles (yes it’s a word) to not neglect a good harvest white wine.
Gewürztraminer & Riesling are perfect wines for this time of year and you don’t need to “Try a Little German” (please click on that link for a hilarious previous post) to find great examples. Ontario makes both dry and sweet Riesling and Gewürztraminer.
Gewürztraminer is one of the best words in the German dictionary. I consider myself lucky to have a reason to say it – I say it because it’s fun and I drink it because it’s tasty. If you don’t know how to pronounce it then this may be useful [ɡəˈvʏɐtstʁaˈmiːnɐ] but I highly doubt it (thanks Wikipedia for nothing).
The Red Brick Café is serving a dry Gewürztraminer from Strewn in Niagara. Get on down there and try a glass – or get to the LCBO and buy a bottle.
STREWN GEWURZTRAMINER VQA
LCBO 65359 | Price: $ 12.95
One of my sweet gigs is picking wines for the Red Brick Café here in Guelph. Friday night was selection night - kinda like America’s Got Talent, except the wine is auditioning and I’m not on TV. So in another very real way it’s not like America’s Got Talent at all. My wife and I met with 5 Red Brick employees, 5 red wines, and selection night began.
Red wines up for consideration
Selecting wines is like being the Westminster Kennel Show judge. All the dogs you inspect are fine animals but do they properly represent their breed? Beagles are to be compared with the ideal Beagle, Huskies with the ideal Huskie, and so on. One of the good things about selecting wines is that you don’t have to inspect a dog’s bum.
Back to my point – If you pick a Cabernet Sauvignon it needs to taste like a Cabernet. The one we tried was tasty but it would have been misleading to put on a wine menu. It was too grassy and green for a Cab Sav. We also tried a Shiraz that was good but not big enough for what I want an Aussie Shiraz to taste like.
In the end we chose 2 great red wines to go with the harvest white wine we selected back in the Spring. They unveil later this week at the Red Brick Café.
Everyday Red is one of my favorite topics on this blog. It certainly the most practical for anyone reading the blog – unless you claim my stories as your own and start telling them at parties. Everyday Red wines are my house wines. They are in the $10 wine category, perfect with or without food, and meet the taste bud standards of both adults in my house. This one is being served at the Red Brick Café right now. It is a true trattoria sipper.
NERO D’AVOLA Cusumano 2007
LCBO 143164 | Price: $ 9.95 Siciliy, 14.5% Alcohol
This is why trattoria’s were invented – or why Nero D’Avola was created – its hard to say. Let’s just say that we considered renaming the Café to Red Brick Trattoria and Ristorante after this went on the menu. “Never match wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line” (Princess Bride) but bet your life that people will enjoy this at your next party. At this price you should buy a case. And don’t EVER call this an Italian wine – apparently both the Italians and Sicilians object to being confused for each other.
Let me know if you tried it and if you liked it.
Spring is here (well close enough, I’ve packed my winter jacket) and so is the new wine and beer menu at the Red Brick Café.
Tuesday night is the launch party of the new wine menu (my creation) served with some tasty food (Jessica’s creation). Party starts at 7 pm – yours truly will be there talking up the new wines. If you have never seen owner Shelley Kreiger at a party then you need to come for just that.
I can’t let you in on the wines just yet but I can give three hints.
A Riesling that is steely and becomes floral when it warms up.
A great trattoria sipper from the old country.
A delicious Shiraz with a twist.
Think about it! And be there if you can.
The sounds of the Winter Olympics remind me that I love being Canadian. I love the sound of sharp metal crunching into the ice – pond hockey. Similarly, the sounds of the sleds speeding down the ice tracks take me back to fearlessly going far too fast on my toboggan – no helmet, airborne crashes, good times.
These sounds remind me of a Riesling. Larch Tree Hill Riesling is produced in the Okanagan Valley of BC. Riesling grows very well in cool climate wine regions such as Germany, Alsace, and Canada. Come to think of it, cool climate regions produce the best winter Olympic athletes (outside of the Jamaican bobsledders).
This is a great Winter Olympics wine because Riesling is versatile, a little daring, and is best served cold (for maximum coldness). It’s being served this month at the Red Brick Café in Guelph – and it is going fast. That’s right, fast – just like the skaters, bobsledders, luge, and skeleton events that I am pairing it with. Skin tight suits are optional. Don’t tell us about it if you do wear one - nobody wants to know.
LARCH TREE HILL RIESLING Prospect Winery 2007
LCBO 145136 | Price: $ 13.95 Okanagan Valley, BC 12.5% Alcohol
This wine has aromas of lime and peaches and has a nice long finish – much longer than a typical Riesling. The producer’s tasting notes mention hints of fennel and honeysuckle. You will taste the honeysuckle more as the wine warms up.
Larch Tree Hill stands well on its own and would make a great apéritif – serve it very cold while watching the madness that is short-track speed skating and the absolutely terrifyingly insane (or daring) skeleton and luge events – and for the record there is no evidence that “luge” refers to the greek sport of sliding “nude” down ice slides. That was a complete fabrication on my part.
Are you trying to effectively pair wines and Olympic events? Looking for a wine consultant with a degree in Physical Education? Tired of my questions? Look no further and lend me your ears and palate - it’s time for an Olympic Merlot. Canada has already won a gold medal so we can all relax and enjoy the next couple of days with a smooth red wine from BC. This is the 2nd J-T wine I’ve selected ( Jackson-Triggs Methode Cuvée ) but the first from the Okanagan Valley. I’m not usually a fan of Merlot – they often come across as soft and plummy – however, this one has won me over. It certainly has a time and a place and the time is now and the place is in front of my TV watching figure skating (the highest rated Olympic TV event in America). I also selected this wine for February’s tastings at the Red Brick Café .
JACKSON-TRIGGS Proprietors’ Reserve Merlot 2006
LCBO 543867 | Price: $ 14.95 Okanagan Valley, BC 14.5% Alcohol
The first things that strike me about this wine is that it is dark, dark red in colour with a very distinct nose of dried plums. The flavours of strong concentrated fruit with a touch of smoky oak on the finish are delicious. It is nicely balanced with some acidity, long velvety tannins, and an even longer finish.
This wine has figure skating written all over it – especially pairs. Smooth, lovely, mellow – can you think of another Olympic event that compliments Merlot better than that? Maybe curling, if they weren’t yelling “hurry hard – hurry” at me the entire time.