Here’s what’s inside the November Toronto Life Wine Club box

Here’s what’s inside the November Toronto Life Wine Club box

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In November’s delivery: A vertical tasting of the heartbreak grape, with a 2016 and 2017 pinot noir and the 2018 Mile High rosé from Queenston Mile, Niagara’s acclaimed pinot noir house. Orders must be placed by Nov. 17.

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2018 Mile High Rosé

Why we’re into this wine: Significant effort went into the small production of this bubbly—as with many things that come across as simple and uncomplicated. Made entirely with pinot noir grapes from their estate vineyard, Queenston Mile allowed one hour of skin contact before pressing, then fermented the wine in stainless steel. The quality and rich flavours of the pinot registers first on the palate, and the bubbles are a joyful discovery—literally, the cherry on top.

What it tastes like: Strawberry, raspberry, cherry, cranberry and vanilla. The best of summer’s ripe red berry preserves with a dash of orange citrus. A light-bodied wine with a lively mouthfeel set against the solid structure of pinot.

How to drink it: Chill well and serve as a dinner party starter with soft cheeses, smoked trout on crackers with salted herb spread, and the tried and true spinach dip with pumpernickel.

2017 Pinot Noir

Why we’re into this wine: It’s a rare and thrilling opportunity to taste a small-batch pinot noir vertical, and it’s made all the more exciting when the wines are as different as night and day. These two pinots have taken near identical journeys from vine to glass, yet present very different characteristics and flavours. The 2017 vintage is unquestionably the “day”—the fairer twin—with its light yet opulent flavours and silky mouthfeel. Harvested on Sept. 26, the grapes were cold-soaked for three days, fermented in stainless steel, then aged in French oak for 16 months. This is a vintage that is expressive and refined with a wonderful concentration.

What it tastes like:  A nose of violet, plum and sour cherry leads into notes of earth, sweet tobacco and warm baking spices. The flavours are generous, but soft and rounded in the mouth, with beautifully integrated tannins. The wine holds its structure and balance with a light hand.

How to drink it: This pinot will happily accommodate dishes such as snow pea salad with pancetta and pecorino, seared salmon with dill crème fraiche and roasted pork stuffed with sausage, dried fruit and nuts.

2016 Pinot Noir

Why we’re into this wine: It’s the dark twin, the “night” to the 2017 vintage’s lightness of day. If we drill down into the winemaking details, these grapes were harvested from the same vineyard (one year and) ten days earlier, had a four day cold-soak, underwent fermentation in stainless steel, and aged for 16 months in neutral French oak. Near identical processes, and yet this wine is heavily structured with bold tannins and a strong flavour profile. Where the 2017 is delicate and lifted, the 2016 is grounded and rock solid.

What it tastes like:  An initial nose of slate and minerality leads to a bouquet of ripe red cherry, so rich it could be black cherry, and spicy cinnamon. On the palate, notes of blueberry, cigar ash and cola. Dominant tannins explain the winemaker’s disclaimer that it’s “not for the faint of heart.”

How to drink it:  Decant well and pair with bold mains like spiced squab with onion compote, beef bourguignon and black truffle risotto.