Winter wines to try from Italy and BC…

What kind of wine do you drink in the winter time? Maybe a big, bold red wine? That seems to be a perception of what one “should” drink. However (and of course), if you ask me that question – I always respond… “I pick wine based on my mood, the weather or where I am”. I could be craving something refreshing, juicy, uplifting, cozy or crazy, all of which I can find on a wine shelf! And this allows me to try more wines from all over the world, any time of year.

Here are two yummy wines I recently enjoyed on some very rainy days in Vancouver… Franz Haas Pinot Nero. Wow. Put a new world Pinot Noir against this one and you’ll be amazed at how different it is. From the Northeastern part of Italy, Alto Adige is renowned for their cooler climate style wines, they’ve set the standard for many wines elsewhere. If you are expecting a juicy, voluptuous Pinot, this one is not that. It’s a more refined and elegant Pinot with ripe red and black fruits, slightly dusty tannins and garrigue (think tumbleweeds and dry brush), some baking spices and mineral notes. Truly delightful and delicious! A perfect gift, wine to pair with food or just enjoy on its own while sharing stories with friends and watching the rain fall outside.

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And this gem is from right here in BC. Le Vieux Pin‘s ‘Ava‘. Named after the winemakers daughter, this is a blend of Viognier with Roussanne and Marsanne. A common blend in the Rhone Valley of France. It’s very aromatic from the Viognier and really juicy but with some acidity to balance it. The Roussanne and Marsanne lend the balance to the fruity and aromatic Viognier. This could change you if you are not a white wine drinker in the winter. Think juicy stone fruit with a bit of pear, citrus, floral notes, hints of honey and minerals. This wine puts a smile on your face, it’s delightfully playful, you’ll say… “rain? what rain?!”.

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Happy discovering more wines, from unlikely regions 😉

Sparkling Muscadet it is!

I just have to share this wonderful, wonderful discovery I just enjoyed. Sparkling Muscadet. If you are not familiar with this grape, it’s pretty neutral, meaning ‘nothing overly exciting’. BUT it will pair with many dishes (like oysters, shrimp and mussels), so it makes for an easy dinner companion. It’s dry, and usually has a hint of mineral and slight citrus for notes. It’s cousin is a Muscat, which is typically made into a sweeter wine, so don’t get this one confused with that one!

Many Muscadet will say “sur Lie” on the label which means, on the lees, the wine will sit with the dead yeast cells after fermentation until bottling to give the wine more character, texture and softness. And most Muscadet will come from Sèvre-et-Maine, a sub-region within the region of the Loire Valley. In case you were wondering 😉

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This one was Domaine de la Pépière “Pépie Bulles” Muscadet NV from the Loire Valley in France. Discovered at Grapes & Soda in Vancouver where they focus on natural wines. It was sooo delightful! It sounds crazy, but the first note I was picking up was… double bubble. Remember the gum with the cartoon? You could only chew it for a few minutes before it became so hard it hurt your jaw! ha ha. Back to the wine… There was a hint of this on the nose and then it became refreshing and crisp, with a hint of citrus, and a lift of energy from the bubbles. Not too crisp and not too ‘neutral’ – the perfect way to begin an evening!

Discover Muscadet… but start with the Sparkling version!!