Here’s what’s inside February’s Toronto Life Wine Club box
In February’s delivery: three opulent wines from Niagara’s hidden gem, Icellars Estate Winery, to keep you cozy this month. Orders must be placed by Feb. 20.
2017 Sauvignon Blanc
Why we’re into this wine: The winemaker’s decision to age the wine in specialized oxygen-permeable tanks instead of oak barrels results in a wine that is crisp, fruit forward and rich, with no oak spice. This is a sauvignon blanc at the top of its game, bursting with aromas of gooseberry, lemon-lime and white peach. It’s a rare find with only 120 cases made. Eat your heart out, New Zealand.
What it tastes like: Much like the nose, the palate reveals bright gooseberry, citrus and peach. Racy acidity will have you sitting up straighter while agreeing that it beautifully supports the rest of the wine. This is an expertly crafted expression of sauvignon blanc.
How to drink it: Drink this pure, uncomplicated wine chilled alongside similarly uncomplicated foods: raw oysters, goat cheese tart, tangy salads and grilled pork chops with applesauce.
2016 Cabernet Franc
Why we’re into this wine: If vineyards were celebrities, Niagara’s Wismer-Foxcroft vineyard would be on the A-list. Wines made from these grapes tend to be outstanding, as is the case with Icellars’ cabernet franc. This wine was aged for a year, with four of those months in new French oak and the remainder in American oak barrels. It’s a highly structured red with ample tannins. If you can resist drinking it now, you will be rewarded after three-to-five years of cellaring.
What it tastes like: Jammy red and black berry fruit, black tea, earth and smoke lead into heavier flavours of green pepper, savoury herbs and a hint of cedar. This is a dry red with a velvety mouthfeel and generous tannins that will mellow with some age.
How to drink it: Decant first to open up the bouquet and flavours, then pair with charcoal-grilled steak, grilled asparagus and wild mushroom risotto.
2017 Reserve Red
Why we’re into this wine: The bouquet alone is generous and alluring, but the first sip confirms this is something very special. The Bordeaux-style blend of merlot (40 per cent), cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon (30 per cent each) has been aged for 12 months in French and American oak. It’s elegant and full-bodied with a teasingly lingering finish.
What it tastes like: Raspberry, forest floor and tobacco aromas are followed by a palate laced with bright red berry fruit, black pepper and baking spice, with a slight herbal undertone. An optimal balance of acid and tannin support the ample flavours, and the mouthfeel is soft and silky.
How to drink it: Sip and savour it alongside excellent conversation, or pair it with indulgent fare such as bacon-wrapped filet mignon, Wagyu burgers and Chinese-style crispy duck pancakes.