Newsletter #267 - Masterchef & The Sparkling Prediction

24 Mar 2016

MichaelPinkusWineReview Newsletter #267

           March 24, 2016

  • WineReview: Masterchef & The Sparkling Prediction

  • Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch: New & Noteworthy Wines

  • Weekly Wine Video Series:  A Recap of The Latest Videos

  • Ontario Wine UpdatesRe-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

  • Grape Guy Events:  Make The Most of Your Trip to Wine Country

WineReview:  Masterchef & The Sparkling Prediction

The subject line of the newsletter this week sounds like a bad spy novel, but the only espionage going onto the page below are questions about the loose interpretation of what “Canadian” is.

To star:  The Masterchef in question is exactly what you reality TV fans think it is, the show Masterchef Canada and their definition of “Canadian Bounty”, which has come into question. It was posted by Darryl Lamb of British Columbia on FaceBook (March 12, 2016) – he was watching the popular incarnation of this American classic (?) when he must have pause his DVR on a shot of a proudly Canadian wine – he took his own picture and posted the following:  “Pretty crummy that on Masterchef Canada's celebration of Canadian bounty that they used CIC wines [to] represent Ontario. Awful.” … There in the middle of his shot was a bottle of Jackson-Triggs Proprietors’ Selection Cabernet Sauvignon (to those unfamiliar with this wine, it is not made with 100% Ontario-grapes) – now it would be so easy for me to slap J-T on the wrist for this one (again) showing off Cellared in Canada wine and trying to pass it off as “Canadian”.  But if you check with Jackson-Triggs’ own website about these wines they clearly state: “Proprietors’ Selection showcases our winemaker’s skill at blending premium wines from the most renowned wine-producing regions in Canada and around the world. By mastering the art of blending, Proprietors’ Selection promises wines of exceptional quality and value.” – so really how can you blame the winery? They are clearly marking it on their website as not being 100% Canadian.

Now sure these days Jackson-Triggs is an American owned company (Constellation) and therefore Canadian-pride and 9dentity is not forefront of their mind, but this is clearly a sponsorship deal they put in place with Masterchef (I’m positive I have seen Henry of Pelham wines on a past season) – but I think this time I’d like to lay blame with the producers and the “stars” of the show (though they prefer to be called “judges”).  The producers should be doing their research to make sure all the products they tout as Canadian actually are, and as for the judges, they all identify themselves as having strong ties to Canada in their bios: either born, raised and/or  accomplished in the restaurant world in this country … but if you are involved in a restaurant in Canada (or at least Ontario) or have spent enough time running one you should know (or realize) what Canadian wine is … this is quite shameful to once again see proud Canadian wineries reduced to an off-shore blend.

On our Podcast a few weeks back Andre Proulx and myself discussed the Canadian identity as it refers to Meritage, but also touched on the fact that VQA is still not a fully recognized term in our own backyard – although it is the key element to locating a truly Canadian wine.  Sadly, Masterchef proves our point.


Now that I have blown off some steam let’s look at something that’s really exciting about Ontario wine …

I was reminded by another FaceBook friend (Fred Couch) that back in 2008 I said “the next big thing in Niagara would be sparkling wine” … My Nostradamus moment only took 7 years to come to fruition, as more and more wineries are jumping on the Bubbly-bandwagon, most recently of note: Malivoire, Niagara College and Between the Line … with so many more having small batch or limited bottlings of sparking in the works.  But it’s not just wineries who are on the wagon, consumption of this “luxury” product is also up.  A recent post by Tyson Stelzer, International Champagne and wine expert (on LinkedIn) remarked that Australia’s champagne consumption is at an all-time high, ranking them the “seventh largest Champagne market in the world and fifth largest per head of population”.  

This news bodes well for all of us … Champagne is a limited area and can only produce so much – once global demand outreaches Champagne’s level of supply then the world must search out other sources for sparkling wines; and whose kidding anyone, Champagne can be rather pricey.  Let’s hope that our wineries that checked into, and poured at, ProWein in Germany this year, decided to bring along some quality Canadian bubbles to show the world that we’re more than just eskimos creating icewine by the igloo-full – we do other luxury wines too – this time at a fraction the price of the more expensive Champagne houses (Ontario sparkling is much more affordable, many under $30)  – and we can do it as well or, in some cases, even better, than the more expensive spread.

In this week’s Picks of the Bunch (below) I look at some new and exciting Ontario fizz …

Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch:  New & Noteworthy Wines

Henry of Pelham NV Rosé Brut, Cuvee Catharine - $29.95 (W, L)
(2016 Tasting) … Every few years it’s nice to re-visit and re-retaste some of these non-vintage sparklers, as the base wine can sometimes cause thing to change (a bit) – and wow is this batch of the Cuvee Catharine Rosé a winner (base is from 2012 – which makes it all the more incredible): gorgeous raspberry / strawberry and lime on the nose with a great citrus finish, good mousse and brilliant acidity … I’d go out on a limb here and say it’s truly one of the best Cuvee Catharine’s to date.  Price: $29.95 – Rating: **** ½

Malivoire NV Bisous Brut - $29.95 (W)
With everyone making sparkling wine these days I’m never surprised when I see a new one pop up (no pun intended) … this is Malivoire’s second sparkling (they also made Brut Rosé in a very small batch that is now sold out): 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay aged 36 months on lees in the traditional method – crisp and lean with good acidity, floral, apple and lovely biscuit elements mid-palate to the finish.  Price: $29.95 – Rating: ****

Redstone 2013 Sparkling - $24.95 (W)
First whiff is fresh bread then comes apple and biscuits with gentle / subtle acidity and delicate bubbles … there does seem to be a touch of sweetness in here from the fruitiness – but the acidity helps to keep it relatively at bay.  Price: $24.95 - Rating: *** ½+

Rosehall Run NV Ceremony Blanc de Blanc - $34.95 (W)
This is the first traditional method bubbly made by Rosehall Run – it’s 100% Chardonnay with grapes coming from their own vineyard and seeing some barrel aging of the base wine; that’s what really gives this sparkler it’s depth of character.  Aromas of mineral, hazelnut and smoky-toasty notes – give me the shrugs – but while the nose leaves a little to be desired the palate more than makes up for it: the upfront hit of acidity that really brings this one together, no matter how creamy or toasty the wine gets that acidity brings everything back into balance. This is the first 500 bottles of a proposed rotating launch that’ll see a lengthening of the time on less (this one was 22 months) – in total 3000 bottles will be produced.  Price: $34.95 – Rating: ****+

Tawse 2014 Riesling, Limestone Ridge Sparkling - $19.95 (W)
This continues to be one of the best value bubbles in Niagara – and best of all it’s made from Riesling … aromas scream Riesling with apple, pear, lime and mineral – palate whacks you with mineral and a delightful lime-citrus linger that keeps acidity all the way through.  Perfect summer time sparkler – who am I kidding, anytime is a great time for bubbles like this.  Price: $19.95 – Rating: ****+

Trius NV Brut Rosé - $29.95 (W, L)
(2016 Tasting) … New Gamay dosage gives this wine a lift of fruitiness amongst the lovely citrus acidity.  Raspberry and strawberry tickle the olfactories before they playfully dance across the tongue. This Rosé has always played second fiddle to the Trius Brut, but with the new addition I think it can proudly come out from the shadows and play all by its lonesome … but remember to share, bubbles are always better that way.  Price: $29.95 - Rating: ****+

Availability legend:  W (Winery) – L (LCBO/Vintages) –  OL (On-Line)

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The Weekly Wine Video Series: A Recap of the Latest Videos

The Weekly Wine Videos
Every week I'll introduce you to another fabulous wine that you've just gotta try – Check out the YouTube Channel Now

Weekly Ontario Wine Videos

Video #167 - Pillitteri Reserva Famiglia Cabernet Franc (Niagara)
Video #166 - Creekside 2011 Broken Press Syrah (Niagara)
Video #165 - Strewn 2013 Dis-Respected Whites (Niagara)
Video #164 - Peller Estates 2012 Sur Lie Chardonnay (Niagara)

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Ontario Wine Updates Re-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

Taste it Again / Lost & Found (blog):  the two blogs have merged
(Find out what happened to some favourites and to those that never were tasted) 
Taste it Again: Hillebrand 2009 Showcase Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling
Taste it Again: Our 5th Anniversary Wine - Chateau des Charmes
Taste it Again: Evolution of a Label - Creekside

Uncorked Tonight (blog)
When it’s not an Ontario wine, here’s what I’m pulling out of the cellar
New Posts Added

Vintages Release (blog)
April 2, 2016 - Available Now
March 19, 2016 - Available Now

 GRAPE GUY EVENTS Spotlight:  Make the Most of Your Trip to Wine Country

Grape Guy Events, highlights from the APP - points to be had:

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OntarioWineReview’s bi-weekly newsletter is devoted to the love, enjoyment and promotion of the wines of Ontario and the wineries that make them.

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