Well, here we are, less than two weeks away from saying goodbye to 2020.
I’m sure everyone is happy to rid themselves of this bully of a year but, perhaps, there is reason to celebrate as well? Our elders have often preached that hard times build character and “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger”.
This year has made people stronger. It has pushed some of us to our absolute limits and what I have seen as result is humanity more connected than divided, with groups of people fighting for the health and freedom of complete strangers, people supporting small businesses, donating to their communities and taking time to slow down and connect with the things that mean the most to them, while coming up with inventive ways to do it while social distancing.
So this New Year's Eve, I’ll be pouring myself a glass or two (or three…) of bubbles, toasting all the great things we humans have accomplished this year. Now, if you were to ask me what you’d find in my glass, here are a handful of interesting Canadian wines you might find me sipping.
2019 Benjamin Bridge Piquette, Gaspereau Valley, N.S. ($9)
This wine rocked my world this year! At first I was skeptical to try piquette, but Benjamin Bridge has never steered me wrong before. And boy am I glad I gave this delicious canned wine a try.
This wine is tart and fizzy, made from rehydrated grape pommace with the addition of salt sourced from the Bay of Fundy and a dose of Citra Hops. It dances into the realm of a Gose style beer, still maintaining crisp, clean sparkling wine qualities that Benjamin Bridge is known for.
2018 Bizou + Yukon BEE-zoo Bubbles, Summerland, B.C. ($24.90)
Bizou + Yukon is the newest brand from Okanagan Crush Pad and they have a reputation for producing incredibly drinkable wines. The labels on these bottles won me over, adorned with images of owner Christine Colletta’s Great Pyrenees dogs, Bizou and Yukon – the stars of the winery.
But this wine is so much more than just a cute label. Made mostly from Pinot Noir grapes, the wine is fruity and playful with juicy strawberry, ambrosia apples and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar with a rich, toasty bubble.
2016 Singletree Merryfield, Fraser Valley, B.C. ($34.70)
It’s such a pleasure to see such a variety of quality wine from all over B.C. being released, especially when it’s quality sparkling like Merryfield.
Made from 50 per cent Chardonnay and 50 per cent Pinot Noir, fermented in the traditional method and aged on fine lees for 24 months before being released. This wine has a decadent mouth feel with rich bubbles, clean orchard fruits and peach blossom and stony mineral finish, like the smell of sidewalk after the rain.
2019 Leaning Post Pet Nat, Twenty Mile Bench, ON ($25)
Leaning Post is known for making wines following the single vineyard sensibilities of Burgundy, with great focus and attention on the terroir and treatment of the wines. Made from 100 per cent Muscat Ottonel, the fruit is hand harvested before being pressed, whole cluster and left to rest over night in stainless steel tanks.
True to the production of Pet Nat, the barely fermented juice is then transferred to bottles where it finishes fermenting and develops a bright effervescence with notes of fresh ginger, grapefruit and honeysuckle flowers, while maintaining the classic, funky qualities that pet Nat is known for.
N/V Blue Mountain Gold label Brut, Okanagan Valley, B.C. ($27.90)
Blue Mountain has long been a favourite of mine as far as Canadian sparkling wine goes, and over the years they have amassed a number of accolades for their Champagne-like bubbles. The Gold Label Brut is their house cuvee and it’s a nice way to enjoy Champagne without having to break the bank.
Made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris followed by 24 months ageing on fine lees and another 9 months in bottle, this wine is rich and toasty with notes of brioche, hazelnut and a good dose of Granny Smith apple to add a refreshing quality to the wine.