Viewing entries tagged
white wine

My favourite Summer Wines

My favourite Summer Wines

And the Winners are…


With a few exceptions I drink whites and roses in the summer and the switch to the reds in the fall.

There were two wines that stood out this summer that I highly recommend.

So here is my favourite rose and my favourite white of 2018.

Rose-324584 Vintages

A bit pricey at 23.95 Miraval Rose (The Jolie/Pitt Wine made by the Perrin family in the Cotes du Rhone) lived up the hype. The Perrin Family makes great inexpensive wines but they are known primarily as the producers of one of the world’s truly great wines-Chateau de Beaucastel (Chateauneuf du Pape.) The Grapes are Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault. The flavours are peach, apricot cantaloupe cherries and strawberries.

The wine is beautifully integrated and finishes dry and crisp.

The White-271940 Vintages

I love Vouvray!

It is classic white wine from the Loire Valley made with the

Chenin Blanc grape.

I tried quite a few before I found the one I recommend here. (With wines as in life you sometimes have to kiss a lotta frogs before you find your prince.)

Monmousseau Vouvray is an off dry version ripe with flavours of pineapple lemon and peach. There is a lovely acidity on the finish which makes it the perfect

anti-dote to the sweltering heat we have endured this summer.

At 11.5% alcohol and at $19.95 a bottle it was my go to white ….especially when I was standing over a BBQ

An Outstanding Sicilian White

An Outstanding Sicilian White

In my never ending quest to find emerging or previously underestimated wines from different corners of the earth the island of Sicily has been making some noise lately.

Reds mostly- with the “go to” grape being Nero d’Avola.

Sicily’s vinicultural history has been more attuned to quantity than quality. Sicilian Dessert wines such as Moscato Passito and Marsala rival Spain’s Sherries and Portugal’s Ports as international options for premium fortified wines. And speaking of Marsala I discovered that one of the key grapes used in its production “Inzolia” is capable of producing a knockout white. The Producer is Feudo Montoni. The 30 year old vines are cultivated on steep slopes of clay and sand. The harvested grapes are fermented in cement vats on their lees. The result is a  remarkable aromatic, flavourful Italian white wine. Frankly as good as I have ever tasted. The flavours include pear, yellow melon, honey and chamomile. There is a long dry crisp finish.

This wine pairs well with grilled fish and white meats.

(And for tree huggers out there the wine is certified organic.)

Available at Vintages

Feudo Montoni Inzolia Fornelli 2016 DOC Sicily

13.5% Alcohol 22.95 LCBO 539932


A Luscious Portuguese Red for a Winter’s Night

A Luscious Portuguese Red for a Winter’s Night

Portugal’s claim to fame in the wine world has historically been tied to the production of one of the world’s classic dessert wines. And then, of course, there was Mateus and Vinho Verde my entry level introduction to wine like many others during my university years. But in the past few decades the improved quality of Portuguese table wines has served notice that they have arrived with a big bang on the world stage. Modernization of winemaking techniques has left the foot stomping behind producing better quality and more consistent results. The first wave saw Port winemakers in the Douro vineyards simply using the same grapes that they used to make Port and transforming them into high octane table wines. This jump started a movement that spread to other historic wine regions in Portugal. The wine that I am recommending this week has an unorthodox mixture of grape varieties and comes from Alentejo-Portugal’s biggest grape growing region in the south-east of the country bordering Spain.

This region also supplies about half of the world’s supply of cork.

This wine currently featured in your LCBO Vintages section is robust and concentrated with flavours of black fruit, dark chocolate and raspberries. The grapes are Syrah, Cabernet and Alicante Bouschet-a Grenache clone. Checking in at 14.5% alcohol, aged in French oak and coming in at just a little less than $16:00 this is a great opportunity for you to expand your palate. Works well with spicy chicken or a rich stew.

Chardonnay Revival 3 Stories

Chardonnay Revival 3 Stories

The last decade or so chardonnay has lost its’ lustre as the “go to”
white in North America. There has even been a snarling attack by wine
snobs on the alleged mediocrity of the grape –with its’ own caustic
acronym: ABC (Anything But Chardonnay)
Pinot Grigio to some extent has knocked chardonnay off its’s top
leaderboard position but wine lovers are also discovering and learning
to experiment with other unique white grape varieties.

That’s a good thing. However there is much to be celebrated if you take
the time to revisit the diversity of styles available in chardonnays from

different international terroirs.

Macon Lugny Bouchard Pere & Fils Burgundy $16.00

A real bargain for a white burgundy from a reputable House. You can
taste the chalky terroir with intense fruit and a nose of apples and
biscuits. I paired it with some raw Malpeque Oysters -perfect.
Chardonnay Cave Spring Niagara VQA $16.00

A terrific chardonnay made from 25 year old vines in Niagara. Soft
peach and pear flavours with the scent of vanilla. Served by the glass at
Fellinis. I matched it with a slab of grilled swordfish with a lemon caper


Kendell Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Sonoma County $19.95
This rich and exotic blockbuster - in your face. Beautifully balanced
though. I drank it with a big fatty centre cut pork chop from Farm Boy

with a mango chutney on the side. That worked!

Note: Word to the wise:

Macon Lugny and Kendell Jackson are currently $2 off at the LCBO.


Matching Food and Wine 3 Simple Rules

Matching Food and Wine 3 Simple Rules

There are reams of articles and book meticulously preaching the art of matching food with the right wine. I’ve read most of them but at the end of the day these three simple strategies work for me.

1.Match the wine with the country and the region it came from.

With hundreds of years of tradition-how can you go wrong?

A meaty tomato based pizza?-Sicilian Red…

A fatty grilled Ribeye?-Californian Cabernet or Zinfandel…..

Weiner Schnitzel?-an Austrian Gruner Veltliner or Reisling

Warm Goat’s cheese salad?-a steely Sancerre from the Loire.

2.Determine what the strongest flavour element is in the dish and either Attempt to match it or contrast it.

Whatever the recipe-meat, poultry or fish it is the sauce or marinade that you are actually trying to complement. Big flavours demand big reds

Delicate flavours call for lighter whites

3.For dishes with Spicy and Complex Flavours :

(Thai, Szechuan, Curries etc.) If there is not an accompanying wine culture that is a part of a culinary tradition I say “let it go”- that belies a simple truth- wine isn’t perhaps an appropriate beverage partner for that style of cuisine. Often “off dry” Rieslings, Viognier or Gewurztraminer are the standard wine recommendations to pair with these more exotic flavours. 

But I find that they are a bit of an arranged marriage. 

Try these matches: with Japanese Food - Sake with Serious Curry-Beer- 

or Lassi-(a non-alcoholic yogurt based beverage) (alcohol doesn’t really work with Curries) with Chinese/ Asian dishes-Beer preferably Toboggan.

Barbecue ( Grilled Meat Fish or Chicken) a chilled Beaujolais or Gamay.



Branu Vermentino di Gallura


Well, this may be the new “it” grape folks”. There has been a buzz about this Mediterranean variety for some time but I have not been successful in finding a sample that lived up to the advance hype until now. Branu comes from Gallura a northern province of Sardinia. Gallura is also renowned for its cork production so you are not going to find a screwcap on these bottles. It is a lovely white on the light side-recalling flavours of pears, peaches, lime, and citrus with a clean mineral finish. This floral white with a hint of roasted almonds is most similar to Sauvignon Blanc and surprisingly tastes a lot like a gin and tonic. In France (where as Steve Martin once said “they have a different word for everything”) Vermentino is called Rolle. Rolle is an important component of many of the best Rose wines in the south of France. Vermentino does not deliver a blockbuster kind of experience but for me the wine tastes like where it comes from-a crisp lively white from close to the sea. And not surprisingly it pairs best with fresh seafood. Vintages at the LCBO # 455246   $21.95.

My House White

My House White

I am often asked what I drink at home.

What’s my value driven everyday sip at the end of a challenging day ?

A Chardonnay…Pinot Grigio…. Riesling -love them all but the bottle I keep coming back to is my beloved French white Cotes du Rhone blend from Guigal. The blend of grapes varies from vintage to vintage but the wine is always an exotic treat. The mainstay grape varieties for white wines from the Rhone are in the mix (Grenache, Marsanne and Roussanne.) But a whopping 65% of the blend comes from Viognier.

(That’s like discovering your jar of “deluxe mixed nuts” purchase contains 65% cashews)

The wine itself tastes like pears, tangerines, apricots and orange blossoms. It finishes though with a crisp extra dry mineral finish.

I would match it with glazed ham, sticky ribs and even a mild chicken curry or Pad Thai.

It’s a Vintages Essential LCBO # 290296. $19.95

It is not dirt cheap but it delivers a unique complex and sophisticated taste experience.