Corks were continuously popping last week with non-stop celebrations on all around Ottawa. Restaurant birthdays (congrats Atelier on 4 years!), Savvy Company marked 10 years in business, Unquenchable, the book by Ottawa writer Natalie MacLean was honoured at the Taste Canada Food Writing Awards and the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival had record breaking attendance and back-to-back delicious events!
Throughout the week, I was asked many interesting questions that I am sharing with you in a ‘Dear Abby’ style. Send me your wine related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will publish them in this column.
Don’t be shy!
From Wanna a Wine Tip
Dear Wanna a Wine Tip,
I went on Sunday (tip – no crowds or line up then) and was on the hunt for wines I have heard of, but never actually tried. Some highlights:
Yellow Tail Pink Bubbles (Australia) – crisp, dry, pretty in the glass. I can see why this sparkling rosé won a medal.
Stanner Vineyard Chardonnay (Prince Edward County) – O.M.G… Delicious! Truth be told, I went back to their booth several times for a top up of this beautifully crafted oaky wine that reminded me of Cracker Jack – caramel crunch popcorn. Decadent. I even posed for the Style Magazine cameras with a bottle of it in my hand (and Savvy Cheese Sommelier Vanessa was at the photo shoot with a round of Québec cheese!)
Lailey Vineyard Cabernet-Merlot (Niagara) – Only available at restaurants – all the more reason for a night out. Promise me that you’ll look for it (or request it!) – it’s the only way you will get another chance to enjoy this big, bold & smooth red wine from Niagara.
PS – my favorite food discovery…chocolate cheese made by renowned Chef Clark Day fromKingston. Now I have yet another reason for quick trip to K-town!
Lots of winemakers were talking about 2012 being the best harvest ever. When will the wines be ready to buy?
From Ready to Shop
Dear Ready to Shop,
I too have heard the same thing about this year’s stellar harvest. Now with all of the grapes picked (except for icewine as it has not been cold enough), the juice is fermenting in stainless steel tanks in the winery cellars. White wines are usually ready to be bottled and sold the following spring – watch for white wines in April and May 2013. Red wines typically need more time. Usually, reds are released in the summer/fall or the following year. My tip, when you see a Canadian wine with 2012 on the label, stock up quick. It’ll be a sure bet – I’ll put my money on it!
I’m confused. I saw many labels with the word Meritage – what is it?
From Label Looker
Dear Label Looker,
Ever had a Bordeauxwine from France? Meritage is the same thing (but not from France) – a blend of any proportion of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes to make a medium to full bodied red wine. The word Meritage (pronounced to rhyme with Heritage) is the term the wine industry outside ofFrance established to refer to the same blend of grapes as used to make Bordeaux wines. Like Champagne, wineries from the renowned Bordeaux region of France will put Bordeaux on their label. The rest of the wine world uses ‘Meritage’. Hope this isn’t too confusing!
When a wine goes on sale, is the wine still OK?
From Dollars and Cents
Dear Dollars and Cents,
You may have noticed that wines don’t often go ‘on sale’. When they do, it is usually because the winery has remaining inventory and they want to move it to make room for the next vintage that is ready to be enjoyed. Certainly the discounted wine is fine to drink. In fact, it is usually at its prime, so it is a good idea to stock up and drink up! In the wine world, wine on sale is called ‘Bin Ends’. If you are looking for a good deal on wine, Savvy Bin Ends has a different Ontario wine ‘on sale’ every 2 weeks. Check it out savvycompany.ca OR email me on email@example.com to be the first to get the inside scoop on deals and discounts.