Ontario Sparkling Wine for New Year’s and All Year

 

 

On CBC’s Metro Morning we chat about terrific Ontario sparkling wines for New Year’s Eve, plus one splurge-worthy Champagne. More sparkling wine chats here.
Plus, why is sparkling wine the most food-friendly wine on the planet?
Shabby-chic pairings, from potato chips to buttered popcorn.
CBC arts
Natalie MacLean, editor of Canada’s largest wine review site, picks her favourite sparkling wines for New Year’s Eve:
Henry Of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Blancs De Blanc 2009

Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada

Zesty, refreshing and balanced Niagara sparkling wine with crisp notes of green apple and baked bread. Superb quality. Great persistence of beaded bubbles along the sides of the glass as well as the mouse crowning the top. Finishes crisply with green granny smith apple and lime zest notes. Why pay double or tripe for non-vintage champagne when you can have three bottles of this lovely bubbly? Blanc de blanc means that this sparkling wine was made from white grapes only, namely Chardonnay. Pair with fried chicken or potato chips.

Score: 92/100

LCBO: 315200
Alcohol: 12.5%
Sweetness: Dry
Drink: 2013‐2017
$44.95

Hinterland Vineyards Whitecap Method Charmat 2012

Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada

A crisp and refreshing sparkling wine from one of Prince Edward County’s emerging stars. This winery focuses on sparkling wine and that dedication shows in the glass. Aromas of green apple and freshly baked bread, with a lively finish. Food pairings: shellfish.

Score: 90/100

LCBO: 332809
Alcohol: 12%
Sweetness: Extra Dry
Drink: 2013‐2017
$22.00

Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling 2009

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada

Clean, crisp Ontario sparkling wine with a refreshing finish. Notes of green apple and stone fruit. Riddled is a great name for a bubbly since it refers to the traditional method of riddling or turn the bottles during the second fermentation. Sparkling food pairings: seafood, mushroom risotto.

Score: 88/100

Alcohol: 12.5%
Sweetness: Dry
Drink: 2013‐2017
LCBO: 383315
$29.95

Featherstone Winery Cuvee Joy Sparkling 2010

Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada

Toasty and robust with rich layers of freshly baked bread in this brilliant Ontario bubbly. Some lemon brightness through the centre and mid-palate. Lovely persistence of bubbles and a clean, crisp finish with some Granny Smith apple notes. Delightful, especially for the price. This Niagara sparkler is made using the Champagne approach and grapes (Methode Champenoise). It’s bottle-fermented from the winery’s estate-grown Chardonnay in the French methode classique. Inspired by traditions of the best sparkling wine houses of Europe, the wine is named after a woman at the heart of the winery’s family – the winemaker’s mother, Joyce. Pair with shellfish and happiness. Food pairings: shellfish, fried chicken, salads.

Score: 93/100

Alcohol: 12.5%
Sweetness: Dry
Drink: 2012‐2016
LCBO: 310334
$34.95

Kew Vineyards Blanc De Noir 2011

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada

Crisp and clean with baked bread and green apple notes. Good value for the price. This is a new winery worth following. The original vineyards were planted in 1975, among the oldest in the region, and winemaker Philip Dowell is an old hand with a well-established reputation in the region. Blanc De Noir food pairings: salmon sashimi.

Score: 90/100

Alcohol: 12%
Sweetness: Dry
Drink: 2013‐2015
LCBO: 380030
$29.95

Huff Estate Cuvée Peter F. Huff Sparkling Traditional Method Sparkling White 2008

Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada

Toasty, rich and deep with refreshing notes of green apple and fresh bread in this VQA Ontario sparkling wine. Long, brioche-infused finish. Huff is emerging as one of Canada’s best producers of bubbly. This bubbly was made using the traditional champagne method, and offers superb pleasure and value. This sparkling wine was named in honour of owner Lanny and Catherine Huff’s late son Peter, and has won two Lieutenant Governor awards, including at the first awards in 2011. Food pairings: cheese, poultry, sashimi, Thai coconut shrimp, pasta.

Score: 93/100

Alcohol: 12%
Sweetness: Dry
Drink: 2012‐2016
LCBO: 198754
$39.95

Megalomaniac Bubblehead 2011

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada

Pleasant and crisp with soft field strawberry notes. Terrific bubbly for the self-absorbed. Pair with potato chips or fried chicken. Stock up!

Price: 87/100

Alcohol: 12%
Sweetness: Dry
Drink: 2012‐2015
LCBO: 363655
$28.95

Girl’s Night Out Sparkling White

Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada

Clean, crisp and refreshing: this is a terrific sparkling wine for this price point. Load up for your holiday parties and enjoy as an aperitif or companion to seafood.

Score: 87/100

Alcohol: 11%
Sweetness: Extra Dry
Drink: 2013‐2015
LCBO: 215632
$15.00

 

Ontario Sparkling Wine for New Year’s and All Year

David: Just talked about what it takes to put on a big firework show, other people tonight will be thing more about popping open a bottle of bubbly. Well, that can be a bit pricey if you go for French Champagne… lovely stuff but not always the most inexpensive. Luckily, my next guest says you don’t have to break the bank to drink in style. Natalie MacLean is an author and sommelier and she joins me on the line, good morning Natalie.

Natalie: Good Morning David.

David: Champagneis often what we think of when we think sparkling wine but do you have anything comparable from let’s say Ontario?

Natalie: We do. We have some excellent sparkling wines here in Ontario. We have similar climate and soils to Champagnebut they come in about a third of the price. We also used the same grape that they do in Champagneand the same method of the double fermentation on the bottle to trap the bubbles. We have so many choices here, you really don’t have to splurge for good bubbly.

David: Okay let’s start, Henry of Pelham and Saint Catharines is on your list.

Natalie: Sure, this is a terrific producer who does both a regular white Champagneand a Rosé which is bone dry. They’ve named it after one of their ancestors … Catharine.  Brut means dry and it’s zesty and clean and I love it with either oysters or potato chips. I love to go shabby-chic when pairing sparkling wine.

David: Okay, so that’s your potato chip option?

Natalie: Yes.

David: Prince Edward County Hinterland Vineyard, what do you like about that one?

Natalie: I like this particular winery because it focuses exclusively on sparkling wine. It doesn’t do any still wines so they’re really try to be masters of the style. It’s fresh and it’s crisp. Prince Edward County is an exciting emerging region in Ontario and I think this is one of the guiding stars in the glass. I would pair this particular bubbly with fried chicken or you can go high-end with some smoked salmon.

David: If we’re going to go high-end on the bubbly and choose Champagne, which, of course, the French would like us to do, any recommendations there?

Natalie: Sure, you can go all the way with Moet & Chandon. They are the folks who produced Don Perigean but I’m picking a dry Rosé here. It is spectacular. The way they get that pink hue is not by blending red and white base wines but by allowing just enough skin contact to give that lovely salmon ballet slipper colour tinge to it. It is very dry and great for leftover turkey or veal tenderloin or whatever you’re having on New Year’s Eve.

David: Let’s keep that food thought going, you’ve talked about leftover turkey; you’ve talked about potato chips and fried chicken. For those snacking late in the evening, what foods tend to pair well with sparkling wine?

Natalie: Well I think sparkling wine is one of the most food-friendly wines on the planet and that’s not just because it’s fresh and crisp, no heavy oak, no heavy alcohol… but it also has that floor of bubbles that acts like little tiny palate cleansers or little brushes inside your mouth. When you take a drink and you have had a potato chip, it washes away all the salt and the fat so that the next potato chip tastes almost as good as the first one and on to the nextone. That’s the ideal marriage.

David: Natalie thanks very much.

Natalie: David, cheers to you.

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