How to Buy a Gift Wine (Screwcaps are Fine): CBC Fresh Air

Fresh Air CBCIn this chat below with CBC Fresh Air host Mary Ito, we discuss how to choose a great wine as a gift for someone depending on their taste and style preferences, or when you don’t know those details. (Hint: Try wrapping a story around the bottle.)Wine is the ultimate gift: doubles are okay, one size fits all and re-gifting is easy!

We also chat about screwcaps, whether you can get a good wine under $20, underrated wines, wine and food pairing, low-alcohol wines, the differences between Ontario’s regions and some of my favourite Ontario wines, including those below. Listen by clicking on the arrow.

Henry of Palham Catharine


Henry of Pelham Estate Winery Cuvee Catharine Brut

V.Q.A., Niagara, Ontario

This sparkling gets better every year, even though it’s not vintage-dated. Lovely finesse and mousse with green apple vibrancy. The grapes were hand-picked in 50 pound lugs so they weren’t bruised. The winery does press fractioning meaning the first bit of the juice (the head) and the last bit (the tail) aren’t used in the wine just the juiciest, tastiest part of the juice. They also use the traditional Champagne method to make the wine. The wine spends 30 months on the lees which gives it a creamy texture. Serve as an aperitif on its own or add 1 oz. of Riesling Icewine or 1 oz of Cabernet Franc Icewine to 3 oz of Cuvee Catharine to make a Kir Catharine. Pair with: salmon caviar with sour cream; malpeque oysters with a hint of lemon. Drink: 2010-2013.  217521  12%  D  750 mL  $29.95  Score: 91/100.Henry of Pelham Sparkling Wine Rose

Henry of Pelham Estate Winery Cuvee Catharine Brut Sparkling Wine Rosé

V.Q.A., Niagara, Ontario

A lovely bubbly with notes of ripe field strawberries, fleshy raspberries and white roses. Medium-bodied and bone-dry with terrific persistence of flavor on the palate. Is there anything prettier than strands of pink pearls gliding up the side of your glass? Float a fresh strawberry or raspberry on top for an extra festive feel. Perfect for all those celebratory moments in life. Serve well chilled. In my Drinks Matcher tool, I’ve paired this bubbly with a wide variety of dishes. Pair with: grilled salmon, salads, vegetarian dishes, mild curries, shellfish, duck, veal, nachos (why not?!).  83139  12%  D  750 mL  $29.95  Score: 90/100.

Tawse Riesling


Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2010

V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Stunning! Incredibly intensity of flavor and mouth-filling juiciness. Medium-bodied. This winery truly deserves its reputation. Pair with: grilled salmon, tilapia with a spicy rub. Drink: 2011-2015.  89029  10%  MD  750 mL  $17.95  Score: 90/100.

Le Close Jordanne Pinot Noir 2010

Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir 2010

V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Juicy and complex with layers of tart cherry and spice aromas and flavours. Beautifully structured with a long finish and a satin texture. Pair with: roast chicken in a cream sauce, rich seafood dishes. Drink: 2012-2016.  33894  13.5%  XD  750 mL  $30.00  Score: 91/100.


Posted with permission of CBC. See all wine reviews.



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