Here’s what’s inside August’s Toronto Life Wine Club box
In this month’s delivery: Two of Malivoire’s essential reds plus a sparkling wine making its summertime debut. Orders must be placed by Aug. 21.
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Malivoire Stouck Merlot 2015
Why we’re into this wine: Merlot grows very well in Ontario. It ripens early—not like, say, cabernet sauvignon—and reliably delivers wines with supple texture and generous fruit. Single variety merlot is not currently in vogue, but it should be. Ask a fanatical Ontario wine lover to name a favourite wine and you’ll get an earful about Malivoire’s merlot, which comes from a lauded vineyard owned by the Stouck family. Some of this wine was aged in older American oak and some aged in new. Only 124 cases were made.
What it tastes like: Juicy berries (red and black) and cherries, and a refined savoury quality, with hints of mocha and cedar.
How to drink it: Pair it with roast meats, pan-seared duck breast, brisket or mushroom pizza. Lovely with a moussaka or ratatouille—all that veggie and herb goodness will meld beautifully.
Malivoire Small Lot Pinot Noir 2017
Why we’re into this wine: Malivoire winemaker Shiraz Mottiar has a special touch with pinot noir, and it shows in his varied expressions, which are all full of character and grace. The grapes for this Small Lot pinot were fermented in stainless steel and concrete tanks, then aged in French oak for nine months. This is one of the very best pinots coming out of Ontario today.
What it tastes like: Lots of cherry-cran fruit, blackcurrant, dried herbs and a hint of cinnamon. Smooth and juicy, with medium-light body and soft, easy tannins.
How to drink it: Keep this on the cool side, around 14C. If in doubt, put it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Match the flavours and weight with dishes like duck breast with cherry sauce, pork tenderloin, steak tartare, beef tenderloin or a savoury veggie dish. Soft fresh cheeses are nice too.
Malivoire Che Bello Sparkling Wine
Why we’re into this wine: Malivoire may very well have the sparkler of the summer with this one. Made from the chardonnay musqué grape, the style and production method is similar to a prosecco. The secondary fermentation—where the bubbles come from—happens in a huge tank, as opposed to the traditional or Champagne method, where the bubbles form in the bottle. This method, known as Charmat, is typically used for fresh and fruity wines meant to be opened young.
What it tastes like: Not to disparage prosecco, but the wines often lack fruit and body. Che Bello has much more going on, with pretty apple, lemon and faint nutty notes, and a little more texture. It’s a perfect party sipper.
How to drink it: Chill well, but don’t make it icy, as that will strip fruit flavours. Stick it in an ice bucket for 15 minutes. Lovely on its own or with smoked salmon, grilled sardines or calamari, soft fresh cheese, ceviche and tapas.