Here’s what’s inside May’s Toronto Life Wine Club box
In this month’s three-pack: A selection from Niagara’s Foreign Affair Winery, which specializes in the Italian appassimento method. After being hand-harvested, a portion of the grapes are air-dried, which helps concentrate flavours. It takes months, but the results are worth it. Orders must be placed by April 24.
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Foreign Affair Viognier 2017
Why we’re into this wine: The aromatic viognier grape achieves a glorious perfume and superb texture, with a handful of grapes that were dried for 21 days. This wine has 86 per cent viognier. The rest is sauvignon blanc, which brings some balancing acidity and bright green apple flavours. The grapes ripened nicely at the tail end of 2017, with warm weather during the harvest providing ideal conditions.
What it tastes like: This particular blend of viognier with a little sauvignon blanc produces a gorgeous aroma that ranges widely: tangerine, white peach, pear and pineapple. There’s more of that on the palate, with more tropical fruits like nectarine and papaya. There’s weight here, but the fruit is so light and bright that an excellent balance emerges.
How to drink it: Fans of bigger whites will love to sip this on its own. But the weight and complexity will pair well with summer salads in a zesty vinaigrette, dressed oysters on the half shell, fish tacos, charcoal grilled chicken or pork.
Foreign Affair Amarosé 2018
Why we’re into this wine: Fans of concentrated and complex rosés will love this—it’s like a bottle of liquid summer. It’s 76 per cent pinot noir with 24 per cent chardonnay. Just 5 per cent of the grapes were treated to appassimento drying for one month. It was a hot summer in 2018, so these grapes yield deeply concentrated ripe flavours.
What it tastes like: The fruit is massive: wild strawberries, pomegranate, rhubarb, berry compote and fresh herbs. There’s a little citrus zing too. It’s creamy and lovely to drink.
How to drink it: Sip it nice and cool, with a little side of sunshine. This rich, delicious rosé will do well with charcuterie, grilled white fish or salmon, scallops, Greek salad or pizza. Think bright summer flavours.
Foreign Affair Temptress 2016
Why we’re into this wine: This concentrated beauty is a red blend in the Bordeaux tradition. The grapes are cabernet franc (35 per cent), cabernet sauvignon (30 per cent), merlot (20 per cent), petit verdot (10 per cent) and malbec (5 per cent). The 2016 vintage was excellent—hot and sunny—producing ripe fruit and a soft flavour profile. One quarter of the grapes were dried appassimento style for 100 days. The wine was aged for 20 months in French and American oak. It’s drinking wonderfully right now, and will evolve nicely over the next five years or so.
What it tastes like: The Temptress is robust and brimming with black cherry, blackberry, cassis, plum and leather. Hints of tobacco and spicy wood too. It’s supple and smooth, with a long fruity/spicy finish. Tannins are soft.
How to drink it: Decanting would be a good idea, to let the aromatics come to full force; maybe 30 minutes or so. This would be lovely with game, a juicy steak, duck breast or roast lamb — especially if mushrooms are involved. Also try with aged cheese and dark chocolate.