Here’s what’s inside the October Toronto Life Wine Club box
In October’s delivery: A rich cabernet sauvignon, a zesty chenin blanc and an expertly crafted Bordeaux-style red from Niagara’s Big Head Wines. Orders must be placed by Oct. 20.
2019 Chenin Blanc
Why we’re into this wine: Winemaker Andrzej Lipinski is a rare brave soul to cultivate the chenin blanc grape in Niagara. This white wine varietal hails from the Loire Valley in France, but you might be more familiar with its South African expression as it’s the most widely planted grape there. Fermented first in stainless steel, the wine was transferred to terra cotta tanks for six months; an ancient technique (think Neolithic Age) that naturally manages acidity and allows more oxygen to be exchanged in the wine thereby enhancing complexity.
What it tastes like: Crisp and nuanced, it’s the perfect hybrid wine. Tropical flavours of guava and papaya swirl with kumquat and yellow apple. Light herbal and spice notes offer depth. A rich, concentrated mouthfeel paces into a lingering finish.
How to drink it: Chilled, and partnered with seafood and fish tartares, autumn pear salad and sweet and sour pork.
2018 Big Head Red
Why we’re into this wine: It’s a Bordeaux-style blend that incorporates the fresh juice of cabernet franc (43 per cent) and syrah (seven per cent) grapes; the ripasso method for the merlot (30 per cent); and fan-dried grapes (appassimento style) for the cabernet sauvignon. Three different methods of extraction plus 16 months of aging in French oak and this wine has earned its name as Big Red.
What it tastes like: Earth, graphite and violet on the nose leads to plum, black cherry jam, and baking spice on the palate. It’s luscious, but not a fruit bomb; the winemaker’s restraint is admirable. The wine has excellent balance between flavours and weight, a soft mouthfeel and a beckoning finish.
How to drink it: Pair this full-bodied wine with hearty bites such as pulled pork sandwiches, Chinese-style crispy duck pancakes, and jackfruit-seitan barbecued ribs.
2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Select
Why we’re into this wine: The four-month journey from fermentation to aging was well worth it. Grapes were dried for six weeks then put into stainless steel along with some CO2 for 10 days. The fruit was transferred into French oak barrels and large format vats to finish fermenting. An additional 16 months of aging has produced a robust, dry and versatile cabernet sauvignon.
What it tastes like: An enticing and broad palate of fig, earth, raspberry, cigar smoke, black pepper, a hint of green bell pepper, and a dash of heat. Tannins are present, but integrated.
How to drink it: This is a meat lover’s wine; red wine-braised short ribs are a natural match as are burgers with fig jam and aged cheddar. Grilled zucchini with chive cream cheese sauce also pairs beautifully.