Doesn’t it just seem like yesterday that the 2012 grape harvest ended in Niagara?
Well, guess what? The first Niagara wine from the harvest this year is already on store shelves. It’s made by Chateau des Charmes under the Generation Seven label and is part of the LCBO’s “Beaujolais Nouveau” release that takes place on the third Thursday in November every year.
Of course, no one outside of Beaujolais can call their wine that, but more and more countries are jumping on the bandwagon to offer up a fresh and ready early-vintage red wine to celebrate the end of the harvest.
The nouveau wine tradition started in the vineyards of France’s Beaujolais region more than 100 years ago when local winemakers developed a quick maturing wine to celebrate the completion of the harvest with their workers. The result was a fresh, fruity wine that they called Beaujolais Nouveau.
News of this tradition spread and the annual release of nouveau wines eventually became an international celebration.
Nouveau wines are best served slightly chilled and matched with lighter foods such as appetizers.
To enjoy their fresh, fruity character at its best, the wines should be consumed young, although they will hold their flavor and freshness for holiday celebrations and match well with turkey.
The LCBO is offering 10 nouveau wines for sale, including two from Ontario that went on sale Thursday.
The Chateau des Charmes version is one of our WIN wines of the week:
Chateau des Charmes Generation Seven Gamay Nouveau 2012
($12, 87 points)
Everything you want in a fresh and fruity red wine.
It’s packed with bright raspberry-cherry fruits, a touch of red plums and a subtle savoury-spicy note.
Made from the lovely Gamay Noir grape. Great quaffer to have around for the holidays.
Serve slightly chilled.
Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Riesling 2008
($30, 92 points)
Henry of Pelham is offering this wine for sale at the winery and online for $23 for a limited time in celebration of the harvest.
I love that this winery releases its top wines (which it makes only in the best vintages) always with some bottle age so that consumers enjoy the wine as it is meant to be enjoyed.
We tend to drink Niagara Rieslings (all Rieslings, in fact) far too young. With appropriate age, those wonderful petrol notes emerge and the acid softens to show a more balanced expression of this lovely variety.
This is a gorgeous Riesling and one that will age gracefully for 10 years or more. The nose shows intense citrus-pear fruit with wet-stone minerality, petrol and an attractive waxy-lanolin note beginning to emerge.
It is both juicy and racy on the palate with that playful tension that makes Riesling so exciting, and through it all, a wonderful, fresh mineral note adds complexity and personality.
Fielding Estate Red Conception 2010
($19, winery and LCBO)
The name for this popular red blend is inspired by the estate’s Jack Rabbit Flats Vineyard, once a very popular “parking” spot among locals (wink, wink).
The blend consists of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Syrah.
The nose reveals crushed currants, blackberry, cassis and savoury spices.
The darker fruits are ripe and juicy on the palate with decent structure and tannins and not overpowered by the oak treatment.
Would pair nicely with myriad cuts of red meat.
Rick Vansickle is a veteran journalist, wine reviewer and publisher of Wines in Niagara. His reviews appear each Friday in Bullet News. Previous reviews are archived under “Grapevine” tab on the Bullet News home page, under Wines in Niagara. Rick can be found on the web at www.winesinniagara.com.
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