Here’s what’s inside February’s Toronto Life Wine Club box
In February’s delivery: A trio of wines—rosé, chardonnay and pinot noir—from Niagara’s Westcott Vineyards.
2019 Brilliant Sparkling Rosé
Why we’re into this wine: Westcott Vineyards takes the concept of “terroir-driven winemaking” to heart; they can speak to soil consistency, pH levels, elevation and climate patterns for every parcel and slope on their estate, and how these natural conditions influence the expression of their wine. The pinot noir grapes in this elegant bubbly were grown in the home vineyard, known for its calcareous soil which often produces bold, sweet fruit. The wine spent 12 months on its lees before being hand riddled, disgorged, corked and caged.
What it tastes like: Rich strawberry-cranberry jam on brioche toast with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Dry and light-bodied with a luscious, bouncy mouthfeel and a rounded finish.
How to drink it: Pop the cork and celebrate the fact that you have a sparkling wine in hand. It’s also a delightful partner with Spanish cuisine: think ham croquettes, grilled octopus and seafood paella.
2020 Estate Chardonnay
Why we’re into this wine: Handpicked from the Westcott estate vineyard and nearby Butlers’ Grant vineyard, both of which sit atop limestone bedrock in the Niagara escarpment, these chardonnay grapes were whole bunch-pressed and fermented in barrel with wild yeast. The wine underwent only partial malolactic fermentation to allow the racier malic acid to blend in balance, and in harmony, with the buttery tones of lactic acid. The wine was further aged in French oak for 10 months.
What it tastes like: A perfume of citrus and pear leads to tantalizing notes of jasmine green tea, brioche and banana on the palate. The mouthfeel is opulent with an undercurrent of minerality trilling along the tongue. Wonderfully concentrated, this is a chardonnay of distinct character.
How to drink it: An all-too-easy sipper, this versatile white is also a perfect match with wintery comfort foods like creamy potato leek soup, chicken terrine and mussels in white wine sauce with frites.
2018 Estate Pinot Noir
Why we’re into this wine: It’s a single-vineyard expression of two pinot noir clones (667 and 115). Each clone was picked from the Westcott home vineyard, pressed, and fermented separately using wild yeast. In both cases, the wine spent 30 days on the grape skins, resulting in the jeweled, raspberry-hued colour, and then aged for 10 months in French oak barrels. The pinot clones were blended just prior to bottling, and aged an additional two years in the bottle before release.
What it tastes like: Violet, red cherry and baking spice on the nose leads to deeper flavours of red fruit, earth, and black pepper on the palate. Acid and tannins are nicely balanced. This is a poised yet delicate pinot with nuanced layers of flavour rippling to a smooth finish.
How to drink it: Chill lightly and aerate before serving with spinach and goat cheese mini-quiches, mushroom risotto, or baked salmon in phyllo with dijon mustard.