Here’s what’s inside the May Toronto Life Wine Club box
In May’s delivery: Winemaker Sue-Ann Staff showcases the best of Niagara’s terroir with a versatile pinot grigio, an earthy gamay noir and a superlative cabernet franc. Orders must be placed by May 19.
2020 “The Lenny” Pinot Grigio
Why we’re into this wine: This pinot grigio—named for Staff’s great-great uncle who farmed the same Niagara estate—is a dry, crisp expression with maximum fruit. To coax out the flavours, the winemaker allowed the juice to undergo a long, cool ferment in stainless steel. The result is a refreshing wine with ample acid that still brings a richness to the mouth.
What it tastes like: Lemon and grapefruit, pear, green apple and tart stone fruit with a foundation of minerality. Nice concentration and excellent structure thanks to a healthy dose of acidity.
How to drink it: Chilled while lounging in your backyard or at the cottage. This is a food lover’s wine that will pair excellently with creamy white bean dishes, roasted pork shoulder with broccoli rabe and pear salad with balsamic and walnuts.
2019 Split Rail Gamay Noir
Why we’re into this wine: It’s the winery’s first-ever bottling of gamay noir. Not only did Staff hit this one out of the park, but only 40 cases were made. Named for the split-rail fence lines that border the winery and run throughout the Niagara region, it’s a light, elegant red that is almost too easy to enjoy. Bright and forward with ripe red fruit, it also has excellent depth and balance.
What it tastes like: Spiced plum, cranberry and black currant emerge on the palate. A touch of tartness plays well among the flavours. Fruit driven and savoury, it has a round, mellow mouthfeel and a lingering finish.
How to drink it: Slightly chilled, and matched with sous vide duck confit or Swiss and gruyère fondue with herbed vegetables.
2017 The Chestnut Tree Cabernet Franc
Why we’re into this wine: Great care was taken along the journey from vine to glass. First, the grapes were given a long hang time, harvested only on Nov. 10, 2017. The juice was cool fermented and hand plunged twice a day for a total of 30 days on the skins. The wine was then aged for 22 months in French and American oak with 60 per cent new barrels, ensuring ample exposure to warm spice and vanilla notes. This wine represents excellence, both in its pedigree and in its craft.
What it tastes like: Jammy black fruit, savoury green herbs, spice, mocha and smoke tease the palate. This is a rich, bold, dry red with welcome tannins and acid that are kept in check by perfect structure and balance. Simply put, it’s a dynamite cabernet franc.
How to drink it: On its own while enjoying the mellow mouthfeel, or partnered with aged cheeses and charcuterie, herb-crusted lamb or dark chocolate cake.