Here’s what’s inside May’s Toronto Life Wine Club box
In May’s delivery: a merlot, a pinot noir and an orange wine from Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Southbrook Vineyards. Orders must be placed by May 20.
2017 Triomphe Merlot
Why we’re into this wine: The natural goodness of organic grapes and wild fermentation is evident in this exceptional merlot. Barrel-aged for five months then blended with a bit of gamay, it’s a gorgeous wine that’s fruit-driven and jammy, intriguing yet uncomplicated. In keeping with Southbrook’s winemaking philosophies, it’s also vegan-friendly.
What it tastes like: Ripe dark fruit on the nose leads to (also dark) chocolate, cappuccino and herbal notes on the palate. The medium-bodied dry merlot is earthy with just a touch of smoke, and it has a velvety mouthfeel that will keep you sipping.
How to drink it: This merlot will pair beautifully with Italian-style sausages with fennel, black bean veggie burgers or jambalaya.
2017 Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir
Why we’re into this wine: There’s no question that Ontario wineries are making some outstanding pinot noir these days, but the range is truly incredible. Some are ever-so-lightly nuanced in flavour, while others are robust and hearty expressions of the grape. This one from Southbrook is a delicate and almost austere style, very representative of a cool-climate pinot, and falling on the lighter end of the spectrum. Dry, and more savoury than sweet, the 2017 vintage was fermented with wild yeast and aged in French oak for eight months.
What it tastes like: On the nose you’ll get plums and red berries, violet and spice. Deeper flavours of black tea, earth and herbal notes emerge on the palate. It’s very focused and well-balanced with excellent structure.
How to drink it: Pop it into the fridge about 30 minutes before opening and serve lightly chilled with crispy Peking duck, pulled pork or plank-grilled salmon steaks.
2019 Skin Fermented Vidal
Why we’re into this wine: Trendy orange wine gets its sunny hue from a production method that allows lightly crushed white grapes to ferment with their skins and seeds. Southbrook, already known for their organic and biodynamic excellence, took their orange winemaking to the next level by using foot power to gently tread 30 per cent of the grapes—just like the olden days! Then they let the resulting mixture of grapes, skins, juice, seeds and stems to naturally ferment with wild yeast over 21 days.
What it tastes like: Citrus, white flowers, rosewater and—because the skin contact and wild fermentation can attribute savoury flavours—olives. This is a medium-bodied dry white. Expect bracing acidity, but also a crisp and refreshing sip.
How to drink it: That heightened acidity makes it extremely food friendly. Spicy food like vindaloos and curries will be a natural pairing, as will North African hariras and tajines. Chill well before opening, and rest assured that the sediment at the bottom is perfectly natural.