For wine drinkers, September and October offer the best of everything, as we transition from summer to fall. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and of course football season is here! It’s open season — all wine styles can find a place on the table. With so much going on, here are 10 Ontario wines to enjoy this autumn.
If you are a football fan like me, you have been counting the days until September 7 when Super Bowl champs New England Patriots kick off the 2017 NHL season against the Kansas City Chiefs. When it comes to wine choices while watching football on opening night, or any Sunday this fall, here is what I suggest.
Featherstone 2014 Cabernet Franc ($19.95, Vintages #64618) Winner of the silver medal award at the 2016 All Canadian Wine Championship, this wine is full bodied, with ripe red cherry fruit, smoky aromas supported by firm tannins and cedar. It’s an easy-drinking wine and will hold up to burgers, brats and other football snacks.
Colchester Ridge CREW 2011 Cabernet Franc ($21.95, LCBO #315945) I like a wine that has been cellared for a few years. Everything comes together for better balance in the wine and it really shows in this one. Medium body, dry, red fruit with well integrated tannins. A wine like this should be considered for a special occasion and is worthy of consideration for the season kickoff!
Pelee Island Winery 2016 Cabernet Franc ($13.45, LCBO #145441) This will be my “go to” wine on Sundays while watching football this season. It’s a great value and delivers a quality quaffing wine to sip on. Extra dry, medium body, red cherry and raspberry fruit.
Thanksgiving is more than a turkey dinner. It’s a holiday about giving, celebrating the harvest, a time to reunite with friends and family. Over the holiday weekend you’ll be well-prepared with these wines on hand.
Tawse Estate 2011 Spark – David’s Block ($39.95, winery only) This blanc de blanc (100% chardonnay) was made the same way sparkling wine is made in Champagne. An Ontario premium wine that is worthy for a celebration with family and friends. The wine spent four years on the lees, resulting in rich complex notes of baked apple pie, brioche, pear, toast and has a fine elegant mousse that delivers quality. For those who might insist on Veuve Clicquot, this one’s for you — at half the price. Start the Thanksgiving weekend off in style. A versatile wine, it pairs well with just about everything from oysters, cheeses, creamy dishes and even turkey!
Closson Chase 2014 Vineyard Chardonnay ($28.95, Vintages #148866) The delicious chardonnay was awarded a gold medal at the 2016 National Wine Awards of Canada. Well-balanced fruit and oak integration. It’s not over-oaked. Apple, nectarine, peach, brioche and vanilla notes. An elegant wine that is still powerful enough to pair with turkey and all the fixings.
Calamus Steely 2013 Chardonnay ($15.10, Vintages #210062) It’s a good idea to have a wine on hand for Thanksgiving weekend (or any weekend) that can be opened at any time, is reasonably priced, and will be enjoyed by the majority. Those who say they do not like chardonnay might like this one. It is usually the over-use of oak in chardonnay that they really do not like. The Calamus chardonnay is unoaked. Fermented in steel barrels and then straight into the bottle. Fruit forward ripe pear, green apple, apricot aromas. Fresh, lively, crisp and clean.
North 42 Degrees 2013 Riesling ($15.95, LCBO #493056) Another versatile, budget-friendly wine that is good on its own or served as an aperitif, this pairs well with turkey and ham. Fresh green apple and lemon peel aromas. Dry, zippy acidity that leads to a long clean finish.
North 42 Degrees 2013 Pinot Noir ($19.95, LCBO #493064) Martin Gorski wears many hats at the winery — owner, farmer, wine maker and ambassador for both the winery and Lake Erie North Shore. His pinot noir has consistently set the bar high in the region and he delivers again with this 2013 vintage pinot. Gorski is very passionate when talking about his wines and his obsession shows in this wine. Red cherry and raspberry fruit, hints of clove, spices and harmonized with subtle oak bouquet and silky tannins. Pinot pairs with a wide variety of food selections from delicate poached salmon to rich braised duck because of its acidity, complexity and fruit character.
Finally, in keeping with the spirit of the spooky season at the end of October, here are a couple of ghostly Ontario wines from Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery to have at a Halloween party. Both are available at the LCBO.
2015 Back from the Dead Red ($19.00, Vintages #260463), a blend of Maréchal Foch, Baco Noir, Merlot and Cabernet, and the 2013 Into the Light White ($20.25, Vintages #326744) with tangy orange peel, clove and baking spice notes. Both of these wines will chase off the goosebumps.