Here’s what’s inside February’s Toronto Life Wine Club box
In February’s delivery: Warm up with a luxuriant meritage, a spicy pinot noir gamay and a rich riesling from 13th Street Winery. Orders must be placed by Feb. 17.
Why we’re into this wine: It’s a heavyweight blend of the most premium merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon barrels from the 2018 vintage. Artful blending of the wine took place after aging in French oak for 14 months, with the final composition being 41.5 per-cent each of merlot and cabernet franc, and 17 per cent cabernet sauvignon. The 2018 Meritage is the product of incredible time and patience, as barrels were tasted over and over to ensure the final blend would be nothing less than excellent.
What it tastes like: A bouquet of spiced fruitcake, dark chocolate and forest floor precedes flavours of plum, leather, green herbs and spice on the palate. Full bodied with ample tannins, this is an intricate wine with a teasingly long finish.
How to drink it: Decant well to allow the wine to air its complexities, or cellar for three-to-five years. A lovely pairing with lamb pie with pine nuts; shiitake mushroom and pinto bean veggie burgers; and filet mignon with gorgonzola cream.
2019 Pinot Noir Gamay
Why we’re into this wine: It’s an outstanding Burgundian blend of both varietals—with a little extra boost of pinot at 60 per cent. Both varietals saw 30 days of fermentation on the skins before pressing. The pinot noir was aged for six months in French barriques, while the gamay aged in stainless steel. This technique highlights the best features from each grape by encouraging a structured, focused pinot that balances the lift in fruit and spice from the gamay.
What it tastes like: Red and black berry fruit, earth, black pepper and a touch of cinnamon play on the nose and palate. Acid and tannins are well balanced. A soft, velvety mouthfeel leads to a lingering finish.
How to drink it: Chill the wine for 20 minutes before opening and partner it with white-rinded soft cheeses, patés, terrines and other French charcuterie delights. For more substantial bites, serve alongside seared duck breast with fruit compote and roasted butternut squash.
2018 Essence Riesling
Why we’re into this wine: Two roads diverged in a vineyard and winemaker J.P. Colas took the one less travelled when he crafted this reserve. Whole clusters of grapes from the winery’s oldest riesling vines were pressed into French oak casks, where the juice was fermented almost completely dry, then aged in the same oak for a full year. This attention to aging balances the brightness of the acidity and fruit by lending depth and fullness to the wine. Colas’ decision to take this riesling off the beaten path has naturally gifted the wine with a tremendous amount of character.
What it tastes like: Gorgeous aromatics of white flowers, citrus and vanilla develop into notes of Granny Smith apple, lemon and poached pear on the palate. This is a versatile wine: its tartness, acidity and depth make it both a refreshing sipper and extremely food friendly.
How to drink it: Chill lightly. Pair with anything from buffalo-sauced fried cauliflower to Moroccan-spiced roasted pork shoulder to apple and brie turnovers.