As rosé becomes more popular, Victoria James’s book “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rose” could not have come at a better time to help us truly appreciate the pink drink. James guides the reader through the history of rosé, how and where it’s made, and delicious food pairings and recipes. This informative and enjoyable book is a delightful read that reminds us rosé is “…what wine is all about, pleasure and simplicity” and that “no other wine embodies the joie de vivre like rosé.”
The first part of “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé” provides a comprehensive history of rosé, from it’s birthplace in ancient Greece to it’s popular rise in North American today. James explains that as rosé becomes trendier, producers are rushing to meet high demands which often leads to a decrease in quality. According to James, these rosés often “…have no soul, no sense of place, and are not a reflection of the centuries of tradition that made the wine what it once was.” I was surprised to learn that I should run when I see a bottle with the words “whisper” and “angel” on it! Have I been drinking bad rosé all along? James does not leave me in fear and walks the reader through the best rosé regions and varietals. I’m left feeling educated and excited to seek out and enjoy great rosé.
The last half of the book is filled with wonderful food pairings and recipes from well known chefs and leaders in the wine industry. Their words wholly support James’s belief that, “the beauty of rosé is its versatility – how it straddles the line between red and white. It is the perfect pairing for many foods (tapas, cocktail spreads, main dishes) – all year long.” You’re left wondering how you ever thought rosé was restricted to summer months only! Not only does James provide instruction for delicious sounding all-season dishes, but she paints a beautiful picture about where and how they should be enjoyed with rosé. I hope that when I attempt the Roasted Chicken Provencal, the experience is as magical as James describes!
In addition to the book’s great lessons, history and recipes, “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé” is filled with amazing illustrations by Lyle Railsback. The over 75 full colour pictures are the perfect accompaniment to James’s rosé guide. With the image of a grape bunch giving blood, I’m sure I will never forget the saignee (“bleeding”) method for making rosé! Railsback’s drawings really embody all of the fun and charm of this book.
Whether you’re already a rosé fan or haven’t been swayed yet, I highly recommend reading “Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé” to really appreciate the pink drink. Curl up in your favourite reading chair, pour yourself a glass and “…celebrate how amazing rosé can be.”
Cheers! ~ GDW
Sometimes a girl is on a budget and needs decent wine for cheap. While it’s nice to drink expensive vintages, there are times that call lower price point wines, like a when you’re hosting a big party or saving for a trip. But a girl on a budget does not mean that good taste has to be compromised! I’ve rounded up my top three wines from the LCBO that are under $10 and don’t taste like bathwater.
1. Beso de Vino
Beso de Vino is a red blend from Spain. It’s a full bodied dry wine with a deep purple colour. I was introduced to it by a friend several years ago and it’s been a constant go to since then for hosting, gifting and weeknight drinks. Beso de Vino is a crowd pleaser! I haven’t met someone that doesn’t enjoy this easy going wine. It’s has luscious dark fruit flavours with a hint of spice and licorice. Available at the LCBO for $9.95.
2. L’Orangeraie Rosé
If you’re in the mood for Rosé, the L’Orangeraie is a great budget friendly option. From the South of France, this wine is medium bodied and extra dry with good acidity. Notes of herb, bell pepper and floral are followed by tart cherry and citrus flavours. A classic example of a southern French Rosé, L’Orangeraie is sure to please any pink drink lover. When I was first putting together this post, L’Orangeraie was at the LCBO for under $10, but recently increased to $10.25 – still a good deal!
3. Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc
Most wine drinkers at some point have probably had the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc. This white wine from South Africa is light bodied and dry with flavours that will not offend anyone. Easy drinking and crisp, the Two Ocean’s Sauvignon Blanc has light tastes of soft citrus and grapefruit. It’s guaranteed to be enjoyed on a hot summers day! The 750ml bottle is $9.95 at the LCBO, but you can get the 1500ml bottle for only $17.95 – perfect if you’re hosting a summer party!
I’m really excited to be starting a new blog series on my favourite wines of the month. The first post is about my wine faves from February. There’s a good mix of varietals, regions and price range. I also have a liqueur listed that isn’t a wine, but I was so impressed I had to include it! Take a read below for my thoughts on each of the wines and links to details at the LCBO.
- The 2016 G.Marquis Chardonnay is a full-bodied and rich Ontario wine, perfect for winter white sipping – $17.95.
- The 2014 Frog’s Leap Zinfandel was one of my favourite wines from my trip to Napa last year and is now available at the LCBO! – $49.95.
- The 2016 Domaine des Aspes is a French blend of Chardonnay and Viognier that offers the perfect balance of crisp vibrancy and rich creaminess – $16.96.
- The 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé is everything I love about a sparkling wine; delicate bubbles, bright acidity and a creamy finish – $27.95.
- The Henry of Pelham VQA Rosé is dry, fruity and easy drinking. Definitely a crowd pleaser – $14.95.
- The Cave Spring Cellars Pinot Gris is a wonderfully perfumed and aromatic wine that you should definitely try if you haven’t explored this style – $16.95.
- The Julia Florista is a full bodied and fruity red blend new into the LCBO from Portugal. Great value! – $8.95.
- The 2012 Château Mont-Redon is everything wonderful you expect from a Châteauneuf-du-Pape! It’s a good price point to start your exploration of this amazing French region – $45.95.
- The Sandbanks French Kiss is a great option if you’re looking for a full-bodied Ontario red – $19.95.
- The Hidden Bench Estate Pinot Noir is a 10/10 for me and could not be any better! The perfect mix of earth, herbs, smokiness and cherry – $31.95.
- The VQA Pelee Island Lola Blush is a light and fruity sparkling wine perfect for enjoying with friends – $14.95.
- St. Germain is a French liqueur made with elderflower blossoms. Adding this liqueur to sparkling wine makes a beautiful cocktail – $14.95-$49.95.
Cheers! – GDW
Like with fashion, winter doesn’t mean you have to put away your favourite whites. Just as you switch those crisp white shorts to cream velvet pants, same goes for wine. When summer cools with winter, replace your light citrusy whites for more full-bodied aromatic options. Read below for my picks on how to keep white in style all year long.
The 2016 G. Marquis The Silver Line Chardonnay is like wrapping yourself in a soft beige pashmina scarf by a wood-burning fire. Made with 100% barrel aged VQA Niagara grapes, this Chardonnay is full-bodied with warm richness. Lovely notes of honeydew melon, poached pear and florals are followed by smooth toasty flavours of vanilla. A presence of tart green apple and good acidity really structures this wine nicely. Available at the LCBO for $17.95.
The 2016 Norman Hardie Riesling will remind you of a crisp outdoor hike in a sleek white parka. Norman Hardie is a well-known wine producer from Prince Edward County, who’s wine consistently receives rave reviews. The 2016 Riesling has strong mineral notes of wet snowy stone and tastes of baked apple pie. This is a dry wine with an invigoratingly fresh acidity. Available at the LCBO for $21.00.
The Cave Spring Pinot Gris is delicate and elegant, like a beautiful ivory lace blouse worn to a winter dinner party. Located in Beamsville, Ontario, the Cave Springs Winery has a 30-year history of crafting sophisticated cool-climate wines. Their Pinot Gris is wonderfully perfumed and aromatic, with smells of light florals, pear and spices. It’s a medium bodied dry style wine that offers a warm smooth vanilla finish. Available at the LCBO for $16.95.
While you may be reluctant at first to defer away from red wine in the winter, you’ll soon realize that like a beautiful white chunky knit sweater, a full bodied aromatic white wine is a great addition to your winter repertoire.
Cheers! – GDW
You deserve something sparkly this Valentine’s Day! My favourite type of sparkles are the pink ones rising in my coupe champagne glass. If you’re also looking to indulge in some bubbles today, I highly recommend the 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé.
The 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé is everything I love in a sparkly pink drink. It has delicate bubbles, bright acidity and a creamy finish. Made of 71% Pinot Noir and 29% Chardonnay this wine is considered a blancs de noirs. The majority Pinot Noir grapes give the Cuvée Brut a medium body with lots of interesting flavour and complexity. When you smell your glass of sparkles, you’ll get lovely scents of raspberry macaron, macadamia nut and orange blossom. Sipping on your bubbles, you’ll enjoy the flavours of fresh strawberry chutney on toasted brioche.
This Valentine’s, the 13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé is definitely the sparkle your should treat yourself to! It’s available at most LCBO locations for $27.95. If you have the opportunity to visit the 13th Street Estate, the Rosé can also be purchased at the winery.
Happy Valentine’s to you! Hope it’s a sparkly one!
Cheers! – GDW
Valentine’s isn’t just about romantic love, but all the loves in your life. Celebrate those special to you like your mom, bestfriend, sister and daughter. And what better way to celebrate your ladies than with wine made by women. Below I’ve selected wines created by female winemakers in Ontario for each of the women in your life.
For your mom, the Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Brut. Sandrine Bourcier, head winemaker at Henry of Pelham, laid the foundation for her wine career in Northern France. The Cuvée Catharine sparkling wine is reflective of Sandrine’s French influence, as it uses the traditional champagne method. Also reflective of it’s Niagara grapes, this wine has fresh flavours of apples and citrus. Named after the matriarch of the Pelham family, the Cuvée Catharine Brut is the perfect wine to gift and enjoy with your own mom.
For your bestfriend, the Malivoire 2016 Ladybug Rosé. With the expertise of assistant wine maker, Elisa Mazzi, Malivoire Winery in Beamsville Ontario has created a really fun Rosé! The Lady Bug Rosé is a medium bodied dry wine bursting with flavours of fresh summer strawberries. It will be best enjoyed with your bff après work on a Wine Wednesday. It’s a friendly wine, pairing well with whatever your cravings may be that night – from thai take-out and a new episode of the Bachelor, to charcuterie and a rerun of Sex and the City.
For your sister, the Southbrook Connect Organic White. The Souhbrook Winery, in Niagara, was the first wine estate in Canada to be both organic and biodynamic certified. This is in large part thanks to the leadership of Ann Sperling, Director of Winemaking and Viticulture. Ann is passionate about vineyard-centric winegrowing, which is noticeable in the lovely Southbrook Organic White. This wine is slightly off-dry with a balanced acidity and flavours of melon and green apple. In the spirit of Southbrook, connect with your roots this Valentine’s and enjoy a glass of wine with your sister.
For your daughter, the Grange of Prince Edward Gamay Noir. The Grange of Prince Edward Winery in Prince Edward County is owned by the mother-daughter winemaking team of Caroline Granger and her daughter Maggie. The wines from their 60-acre farm are 100% estate-grown fruit and reflective of this unique area in Ontario. The Gamay Noir is a dry light bodied red with lively tastes of cherry. I recommend enjoying this wine with your daughter on a Sunday afternoon with a chocolatey treat!
Hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day filled with loved ones and wine!
Cheers! – GDW
I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, but have always loved celebrating with my girlfriends. When Leslie Knope introduced the idea of Galentine’s Day, I was definitely on board! This year I celebrated with a 3-course brunch and wine pairing. If you’re not totally sold on the Galentine’s idea, this event could be replicated for any brunch occasion with friends or family – no cheesey hearts involved!
I welcomed my Galentine’s with coffee and baked goods. We had the most delicious coffee from Velvet Sunrise, called Velvet Espresso, and I picked up fresh pastries that morning from my favourite bakery at the St. Lawrence Market, Stonemill Bakehouse. To add a little “fancy” to our brunch, I served the coffee in china teacups and the baked goods on an antique silver tray.
After our caffeine and sugar fix, we moved onto the main event. I made coconut French toast – using coconut milk and a baguette is a really nice alternative. For sides, we had market bacon, berry salad and homemade maple syrup. I served the main course with the Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Entourage Sparkling Brut. With warm flavours of toasty brioche and structured tropical acidity, this bubbly paired nicely with the French toast and bacon. I tried this wine for the first time a few weeks ago and haven’t stopped drinking it since! You can purchase it directly from the Jackson Triggs Winery or at select Wine Racks for $29.95.
We finished off our Galentine’s brunch with sugar cookies and pink bubbly. My girlfriend made the cookies using a great recipe from Zoella – these cookies turn out better every time she makes them! I chose the Pelee Island LOLA Rose VQA 2016 to pair with the cookies, and it was a hit! The LOLA Rose is a light and fruity sparkling wine with tastes of strawberry and orange. This wine is one of my local favourites – plus, labels don’t get much prettier than this one! At $14.95, it’s also a great price-point and available at most LCBO stores.
Happy Galentine’s Day!
Cheers! – GDW