The onset of summer combined with Father’s Day festivities and increasing opportunities to safely gather with small groups offers a variety of reasons to celebrate this weekend. With that in mind, this week’s recommendations cast about for barbecue reds, elegant rosés and enjoyable whites that are ideal for sipping in the sun (fingers crossed).
There’s a slight spotlight on the syrah or shiraz grape here, with three red wines that offer bright and spicy characters with smooth texture – perfect styles to enjoy with barbecued fare. The plush style of the Lehmann shiraz from Australia’s Barossa Valley is ripe and bold, while the one made by Paxton from Australia’s McLaren Vale region and Errázuriz’s syrah from vineyards close to the Pacific Ocean are equally packed with flavour and refreshment.
Syrah also plays a role in the blend of the Maison No. 9 Rosé, a high-profile wine produced in the south of France by a team that includes American pop star Post Malone. The crowd-pleasing pink wine is available in Ontario and Alberta and will turn up in other provinces in the coming weeks. Unlike other recent celebrity wines, which are made to be simple and sweet in style, this is refreshingly dry and offers an honest-to-goodness taste of the south of France that’s sure to be a summertime hit.
Cave Spring Cellars Pinot Gris Estate 2019 (Canada), $24.95
An exciting new addition to the Cave Spring lineup, this is a rich and full-bodied wine with terrific depth of flavour and a fresh, inviting character. Its coppery pink colour is the result of 16 hours of skin contact before fermentation and aging in different sized oak barrels. There’s power and length here, with the promise of more complexity to come with more bottle. Drink now to 2027. Available direct through cavespring.ca.
CedarCreek Estate Winery Platinum Simes Vineyard Pinot Gris 2020 (Canada), $29.99
This vibrant and complex organic pinot gris from the northern Okanagan gains depth and layers of flavour by blending batches fermented in stainless steel tanks, oak barrels and concrete vessels. The mix of citrus and stony flavours combined with the wine’s vibrant acidity and firm texture make for an appealing white that’s ready to drink now or hold for two to four years. Available direct through cedarcreek.bc.ca.
Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Syrah 2018 (Chile), $21.95
Syrah continues to be an exciting grape for winemakers in Chile, especially when grown in cooler, coastal sites like this one, a vineyard which is located 12 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean. The resulting wine is elegant, with spice-led aromas and floral and ripe dark fruit flavours. There’s a vibrancy here, which makes it a terrific red to enjoy with a meal. Drink now to 2028. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta, $24.99 in Nova Scotia.
Kanonkop Kadette Cape Blend 2018 (South Africa), $19.95
A family-owned wine estate in Stellenbosch, Kanonkop is widely recognized as one of South Africa’s finest producers. The Kadette Cape Blend is based on pinotage, with cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc grapes, to produce a rich, savoury and complex red wine. This dry red is nicely structured, with a refreshing finish, which makes it a terrific barbecue red. Drink now to 2026. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta, $22.99 in Nova Scotia.
Maison No 9. Rosé 2020 (France), $29.70
American musician Post Malone is one of the creators of Maison No. 9, a stylish rosé produced in the south of France that draws its name from the pop star’s favourite tarot card, the Nine of Swords. This rosé is the fashionable pale pink colour made famous by wine producers in Provence and comes with a suitably crowd-pleasing personality. It’s a fun, refreshingly dry wine that offers a balanced attack of fresh berry flavours and juicy orange acidity with a hint of spice. Available in Ontario at the above price, $29.99 in British Columbia (July 7 release), various prices in Alberta, $29.99 in Saskatchewan (June 21 release), $32.95 in Manitoba (June 21 release), $35.99 in New Brunswick, $34.99 in Nova Scotia (July 7 release), $35.99 in Prince Edward Island (July 5 release), $36.99 in Newfoundland (June 28 release).
Marqués De Riscal Rueda 2020 (Spain), $14.55
This distinctively dry and aromatic white is a nice introduction to the charms of the verdejo grape, which is native to the Rueda region in Castilla y Leon. Made in a crisp and refreshing style, this is a simple and enjoyable wine with some soft herbs and floral notes adding interest to the citrusy character. Drink now. Vegan friendly. Available in Ontario at the above price ($12.55 until June 20), various prices in Alberta, $17.36 in Nova Scotia, $18.99 in Newfoundland.
Paxton MV Shiraz 2019 (Australia), $19.95
According to the Paxton family, the MV on this wine’s label refers to the McLaren Vale region where the grapes were grown, as well as “multiple vineyards.” This wine is a blend of fruit from four certified organic and biodynamic estates. An expressive and enjoyable red, it’s rich and meaty in style, with full-bodied character and a decent finish. It’s fresh and flavourful, which makes it a winning style in my books. Drink now to 2026. Available in Ontario.
Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2018 (Australia), $21.95
This Barossa shiraz is made in a crowd-pleasing ripe and spicy style – many are sure to enjoy its concentration and depth of flavour. Its full-bodied style offers rich dark fruit, cocoa and peppery flavours, with an enjoyably smooth texture and finish. Drink now to 2028. Available in Ontario at the above price, $22.99 in British Columbia ($19.99 until July 3, 2021), various prices in Alberta, $24.49 in Saskatchewan, $21.99 in Manitoba, $20.15 in Quebec, $26.02 in Nova Scotia.
Voyager Estate Girt by Sea Cabernet/Merlot 2017 (Australia), $24.95
Voyager Estate is a family-owned winery in Margaret River that planted its vineyard in 1978. The Girt by Sea label is made to be its entry level range. Made in a smooth and juicy style, this 2017 vintage is developing nicely. The mix of ripe fruit with herbal and floral accents make for a complex red that’s nicely structured and easy to appreciate. Drink now to 2025. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta.
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