RICK VANSICKLE/Wines in Niagara
In the wine,
Make me happy,
Make me feel fine.
The aging crooner Don Ho was on to something when he wrote this timeless ditty. So, now that it’s annoyingly playing in your head over and over, let’s get down to the pleasurable business of New Year’s bubbly.
Our WIN wines of the week are squarely focused on that most pleasurable style of wine — sparkling, or, as they like to call it in Champagne, Champagne.
Of course, if you make this style of wine outside of Champagne, France, you can’t call it that. But it is made exactly the same around the world.
No other style of wine is crafted with so many varietals of grapes. By law, traditional Champagne can only be made using three grapes — Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. In the rest of the world, anything goes — and does — but it can’t legally be called Champagne.
In Niagara, diversity reigns supreme from traditional blanc de blancs (100% Chardonnay) and blended Pinot Noir/Chardonnay to sparkling wines made with Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and even Merlot to a cool Niagara-style sparkler crafted with a shot of sweet icewine.
So raise a glass to 2013 and enjoy these three WIN wines (all available at the LCBO) that will make your New Year’s just a little brighter.
In a lot of ways, the first vintage dated sparkling wine from Henry of Pelham reflects the warmth of the 2007 season even though the Chardonnay grapes for sparkling wines are picked much earlier in the season to preserve freshness and acidity.
The nose shows warm bread, toasty brioche, complex citrus, stone fruit and lemon curd.
The mousse is soft and luscious on the palate with baked apple, lemon-citrus and creamy quince fruits to go with pastry, toasted hazelnuts and enough juicy acidity to carry the flavours through a long finish.
This is a fleshy sparkler, to be sure, but it’s what you want from a wine that’s already five years old.
Made in the Champagne style, this non-vintage sparkler from Hillebrand is 70% Chardonnay and the rest Pinot Noir.
Plenty of citrus zip on the nose with yeast, apple and toast following.
It’s a very nice bubbly with good citrus-apple notes and lively acidity to refresh the palate.
Inniskillin Sparkling Icewine Vidal 2011
($70 for 375 Ml, 93 points)
This special bottling of sparkling icewine starts with rousing, invigorating aromatics of sweet apricot, peach tart and exotic tropical fruits.
The flavours are gorgeous with peach compote, orange peel, citrus, mango, apricot and honeycomb all delivered on a racy spine of acidity.
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.
Click here to visit the Wines in Niagara ARCHIVE, where Rick’s past stories and wine review’s can be found.