Here’s what’s inside the April Toronto Life Wine Club box
In April’s delivery: An exciting trio from Prince Edward County’s avant-garde Traynor Family Vineyard: a red pétillant naturel, an unfiltered pinot
gris and a rustic gamay noir. Orders must be placed by April 21.
2020 Red Pet-Nat
Why we’re into this wine: Pét-nat, short for pétillant naturel, is the result of an old-school, but much loved, method of making bubbles. Winemaker Mike Traynor co-fermented three varietals (55 per cent vidal, 25 per cent pinot noir, 20 per cent gamay noir), pressed the grapes, then bottled the juice with the lees before fermentation ended. The idea is that fermentation finishes in the bottle, thereby trapping carbon dioxide and naturally creating a sparkling wine. The result is a fun, fruity, uncomplicated bubbly. Traynor has been perfecting his technique for many years, so when you sip one of his creations, you’re getting pét-nat the way it was meant to be experienced.
What it tastes like: Candied red berry fruit with a kiss of baking spice balanced by subtle acidity. The wine has a lovely mousse with a mouthfeel of tingling effervescence. Bountiful flavour, liveliness and irrepressible brightness in each sip hints at celebration.
How to drink it: Let’s start with how to open it—the answer is very slowly. There’s a lot of CO2 trapped in the bottle, which means if you simply uncap the top and let ’er rip, there will be a massive bubble-over. Loosen the cap slowly over the course of about 10 minutes and allow the air to escape gradually. It’s likely that you and your household will delight in the wine as is, but it’s also a solid match for salty snacks and pizza. Serve chilled.
2020 Pinot Gris
Why we’re into this wine: Much like its winemaker, this wine doesn’t follow convention or even pretend to colour inside the lines. The pinot gris juice was cold fermented to maximize the floral and fruit notes of the grapes, then aged in neutral French oak barrels for three months. The time in oak rounds out the flavour, imbuing the wine with a mellow, softened character while a touch of chardonnay (5 per cent) blended in from the same vintage boosts the acidity and richness. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, it’s well-structured and pleasantly distinct.
What it tastes like: Tangerine, golden berry, yellow apple and grapefruit sail through on the nose and palate, finishing with bready notes from the lees. Embrace the natural, funky notes, the interplay of fruit and minerality, and the crisp finish.
How to drink it: Chilled, and alongside sushi, kale salad with dill pickle dressing, or lemon and herb chicken.
2020 Gamay Noir
Why we’re into this wine: It conjures memories of Beaujolais, where the gamay grape sees little to no oak and is released shortly after bottling. Traynor pressed 25 per cent of the grapes within 12 hours of picking, reserved that juice, and then added the skins to the remaining 75 per cent of the fruit for fermentation, a process called ripasso that concentrates flavours and tannins. The juice fermented on the skins for three weeks, then was pressed and aged in French oak barrels for three months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, this is a young gamay with surprising depth.
What it tastes like: Silky notes of strawberry, raspberry and black cherry with a hint of earth and thyme. Excellent structure and balance with a textured mouthfeel and lovely finish. This is an outstanding gamay that presents its terroir beautifully.
How to drink it: Chill lightly. It’s a wonderful sipper, but will also complement seared salmon with dill sauce and creamy tarragon chicken.