Wines for Thanksgiving

While Canadians have long past celebrated Thanksgiving this year, our American neighbours will be gathering with family for turkey dinner this week. Since a lot of our readership is American based, I’d like to share my wine recommendations for your upcoming holiday. While you had to wait until further in the year for your long weekend, our American readers can definitely get the benefit of learning what worked best for wine at my Canadian Thanksgiving dinner.

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I like to start Thanksgiving day with early afternoon appetizers and wine. Specifically, I like a giant cheese and charcuterie board filled with fall favourites like maple aged cheddar, smoked sausage and locally picked apples. And for wine, I always choose my seasonal go to – the Inniskillin Late Autumn Riesling. If you can’t find this Ontario native, any other late harvest Riesling will pair just as well. In the United States, wineries from New York or Washington will typically produce late harvest Rieslings. Late harvest wines are made from grapes that are left on the vine longer so their sugar levels are higher; creating a sweeter wine. What I like about a late harvest Rieslings in particular are that the Riesling grape has a naturally higher acidity level which really balances out the sweetness. It’s the perfect wine varietal to start of your Thanksgiving celebrations – easy afternoon drinking, not too serious and pairs perfectly with a variety of appetizers!

If you can get your hands on a bottle of the Inniskillin Late Harvest Riesling, I really encourage you try it. I guarantee you’ll love it as much as I do! http://on.inniskillin.com/?method=products.productDrilldown&productID=51830415-1cc4-81ae-7543-3de49b146a44&originalMarketingURL=product/Inniskillin-Niagara-Estate-Series-Late-Autumn-Riesling

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For the main event I highly recommend you go with a White Burgundy. A Burgundian white will almost always be a Chardonnay. But it’s not your typical new world Chardonnay with a heavy mouth of butter and oakiness. Once you’ve tried a white Burgundy, your whole impression of Chardonnay will change. As Wine Folly puts it, “white burg is the crack cocaine of Chardonnay.” These wines vary considerably but generally have green apple and lemon citrus notes with hint of oak that provides a nice nutty or vanilla flavour. A White Burgundy will be great accompaniment to your turkey and is sure to please all your dinner guests. I chose the popular Louis Jadot Bourgogne, which you should be able to find at your local wine shop.

http://www.louisjadot.com/en/index.php

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To finish off the night, I chose another late harvest wine – Bella Wineries Late Harvest Zinfandel. A late harvest Zinfandel is considered a dessert wine and works well with Thanksgiving favourites like pumpkin pie or apple crisp.  And an added bonus – late harvest zins are typically only found in America. The Bella Wineries vintage is now sold out, but there are several other options from California you’ll be able to find. While not your typical dessert wine or bubbly, a late harvest Zinfandel will be something different to impress your guests and add to the fall feels of Thanksgiving!

https://www.bellawinery.com/xe/xe.asp?page=viewitem&p=SCLH12&cat=wine%2Dshop

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And, of course, it’s always nice to consider your non-alcohol drinking friends. This is really easy at Thanksgiving with an abundance if apple cider options available. To make it a bit more special, I’d recommend picking a sparking cider. I had a crowd pleasing bubbly from my local cidery.

http://www.spirittreecider.com/

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Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend filled with friends, family and good wine!

 

Cheers ~ GDW

 

 

 

Spookiest Wine Pick

Happy Halloween!

On this spookiest of nights you should definitely be drinking a scary themed wine (check out my blog post on Halloween candy pairings). This time of year there are many options available at the LCBO and I have diligently tried most of them in order to recommend the best one. My spookiest wine pick goes to…the Coffin Ridge Riesling Bone Dry.

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The Coffin Ridge vineyard and winery is located on the northern end of the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario. An experiment in northern viticulture, Coffin Ridge is Grey County’s first commercial vineyard with vines planted back in 2001. The owners have extensively researched cold climate grapes and chosen varietals, like this Riesling, that are suited to the northern geography. Coffin Ridge uses sustainable viticultural practices and hand picks their grapes where they are then mysteriously transformed from “grape to wine, from life to death.”

The Riesling Bone Dry is true to it’s name and is a light bodied, dry wine. However, it offers an aromatic and flavourful style with tastes of lime, green apple and spices. It has a wonderful smell of an apple pie baking in the kitchen. The perfect wine for a chillingly spooky Halloween night.

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Coffin Ridge’s Riesling Bone Dry is available for $17.40 at the LCBO. It is sold out on the winery’s website, but I suggest checking out the online shop for their other wines like Resurrection Rόse and The Dead Red.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/coffin-ridge-bone-dry-riesling-2015/232744#.WfilPYWcGhc

https://www.coffinridge.ca/collections/all

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Cheers! – GDW

 

 

 

Witches Who Wine Party

To kick off the Halloween season I hosted a Witches Who Wine party. This was a wine tasting event where I paired wines with Halloween candy.

All my guests festively obliged to wearing their favourite witch hat and best black outfit. Upon arrival to the party, they were greeted with a yummy sparkling apple cider cocktail (recipe coming soon to the blog). Each witch was provided a wine tasting card to score the five wines on appearance, aroma,  taste and pairing. And from here, the fun ensued!

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This is how I paired the wines and candy:

    1. Grenache and Reese peanut butter cups     

2. Sauvignon Blanc and Skittles

3. Beaujolais and Nibs

4. Late Autumn Riesling and Mars

5. Zinfandel and Twix 

The winning pairing was the Zinfandel and Twix! I enjoyed all of the pairings and suggest trying a few of them out with your leftover Halloween candy. You can find the specific wines chosen for the event at the LCBO, all for under $15.00.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/borsao-tinto-garnacha/386961#.WfiOU4WcGhc

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/errazuriz-estate-series-sauvignon-blanc/263574#.WfiOfoWcGhc

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/georges-duboeuf-beaujolais-aoc/212480#.WfiO_4WcGhc

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/inniskillin-late-autumn-riesling-vqa/219543#.WfiOFIWcGhc

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/dancing-bull-zinfandel/669499#.WfiPJYWcGhc

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In addition to the candy pairings, I provided a few additional snacks for guests. I put out a small spread of cheeses, fruit, charcuterie and dips. The artichoke dip from Olympic Cheese at the St. Lawrence Market was big hit!

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The Witches Who Wine party was a fun way to celebrate the Halloween season, taste some  new wines and spend time with good friends (including our witchy friend below – the GDW photographer!).

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Cheers! – GDW

How to Host a Fall Picnic

Firstly – invite a group of friends who enjoy a day drink just as much as you 😉

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Second step – gather the food! We got all of our goodies fresh from the St. Lawrence Market. I highly recommend visiting your city’s local farmer’s market to get the best seasonal products. Our picnic consisted of charcuterie, fruit, cranberry tarts, olives, crackers and a variety of Canadian cheeses. I especially love the pink buns!

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Next, and most importantly, is to choose the wine. I picked out the VQA Pelee Island Pinot Noir Reserve from Southern Ontario. This is a medium bodied, dry wine that pairs well with a lot of foods – perfect for a daytime picnic. Plus, I love the pretty grey and white label! It’s a smooth wine with low tannins and tastes of cherry, plums and earthiness. Good value for $17.45 at the LCBO, http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/pelee-island-pinot-noir-reserve-vqa/458521#.WfhsNYWcGhc.

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Lastly – pick a spot at the park, assemble the bounty and enjoy your fall picnic!

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Cheers! – GDW