Here’s what’s inside March’s Toronto Life Wine Club box
In March’s Toronto Life Wine Club delivery, we’re helping you navigate the depths of winter with a cerebral red blend from Prince Edward County, a smooth and supple merlot to warm your heart and toes, and a racy riesling for sipping cold by a hot fire. Orders must be placed by Feb. 28.
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Rosehall Run The Certain Ratio 2016
Retail $34.95 | Wellington
Why we’re into this wine: Winemaker Dan Sullivan’s cerebral wine nods to a lyric by Brian Eno, and it reveals the level of thought that goes into crafting a really great wine. A Certain Ratio is a blend of red grapes from Prince Edward County and Niagara, mixing merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. Very decidedly Bordeaux in inspiration, but resolutely Ontario in presentation: it’s a warm and elegant wine from a cold and austere place, and it’s better than a lot of what’s out there in the world.
What it tastes like: Floral and dark berry fruit aromas whet the palate for a generously textured delivery of blackberries, raspberry and tangy acidity. This is a grippy wine. It takes hold firmly, then delivers beautifully ripe and complex fruit flavours and a wonderful inviting texture. It’s deliciously juicy now, but certainly worthy of ageing.
How to drink it: Fans of complex wines that demand attention will enjoy this all on its own in a big-bowled Bordeaux glass. With food, go for bold red meats—lamb, venison, wild boar—and earthy stews and vegetable dishes.
Tip: This wine is drinking perfectly now (decanting would be a good idea) but it could age and improve for five years or more. It has that kind of heft.
Charles Baker Ivan Riesling 2017
$27 | Vineland
Why we’re into this wine: Charles Baker makes riesling and only riesling, and his bottles rank at the very top in the province. This wine is from the Ivan vineyard on the Twenty Mile Bench in Niagara. It comes from a tiny plot of just two vineyard blocs. So yeah, it’s a rare wine.
What it tastes like: Riesling’s wonderful tension between steely acidity and supple fruit is here in spades. It’s floral, with citrus and apple blossom on the nose. There’s a lovely bite of acidity, with flavours of citrus, green apple and basil. And that ephemeral “mineral” quality is here, whether in texture, flavour or spirit (or all three).
How to drink it: Very cold but not icy. Riesling changes as it warms up, and warmth delivers fruit and texture. Enjoy it on its own, or with seafood ceviche, vegetable risotto, an interesting pizza, grilled pork, choucroute garnie, Thai food, omelettes… did we mention that riesling goes with everything?
Tip: Charles Baker’s B-Side Riesling is a very popular sommelier’s choice at a (smart) few of Toronto’s best restaurants. You’ll usually find it by the glass.
Southbrook Triomphe Merlot 2017
Retail $29.95 | Niagara-on-the-Lake
Why we’re into this wine: There’s a good reason why merlot dominates Bordeaux’s Right Bank: Because beautifully raised organic merlot is a gift from the heavens. Locally, Southbrook’s Ann Sperling crafts some of Ontario’s best merlot from organic grapes meticulously grown in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Eco-stewardship is an obsession of Southbrook’s, and it shows in wines that are remarkably poised, generous and full of character.
What it tastes like: Once you get over the inviting nose—all blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, cherry drop and sweet cinnamon—and you take that first sip, you’ll get gorgeous fruitiness framed by a touch of oak spice and wood smoke, with silky tannins and a long fruity finish.
How to drink it: Merlot fans will sip this for days—it’s complex, balanced and easy to love. Lamb is an obvious pairing choice, or prime rib roast with Yorkies and gravy. A gourmet burger or mushroom pizza makes a lot of sense, too.
Tip: Visit Southbrook for an in-depth tasting. All of their wines are thoughtful and impressive, and they do an orange wine that’s quite amazing.