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Let's Get Through Winter Pack

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Case of 6 bottles.   

We are temporarily putting the pack on hold until wine# 4 comes into stock. A slight hiccup with the LCBO warehouse, but it should be back on line next week. Email us if you want to reserve a case.

No matter what we just heard from Wiarton Willie, or any other weather forecaster for that matter, once we get through the month of February we'll just have three weeks to go until Spring officially arrives. So if you are done with shovelling, we've picked six wines to help get you there. 

Our newest mixed case (one bottle of each) contains specially-selected wines to mark six milestone dates between now and the Spring Equinox - namely Valentine's Day (Feb 14), National Drink Wine Day (Feb 18), Open That Bottle Night(Feb 27) - although we're not exactly sure how that's different than the 16th - National Day of Unplugging (March 5), National Pi Day(March 14), and finally the Spring Equinox (March 20). 

Back by popular demand, when you order your "Let's Get Through Winter" Pack, we include a note tag with each bottle, describing why we selected each wine to mark the special date. (Just in case you thought it was totally random). Perfect for gift-giving, as along with a plant, maybe chocolate, or some fresh-cut flowers, it's a sweet way to show someone you are thinking about them. 

As always, these wines are from independent wineries where care is taken from vineyard to grape to bottle. The wines are also available to purchase by-the-case through this Web site. 

Wine #1 Degani, 2019 Valpolicella Classico (Veneto, Italy) 

Valpolicella is a region in northern Italy, just on the outskirts of Verona, home to Romeo & Juliet - perhaps the world's most famous lovers. We admit the story didn't end well, but the wine from this region - conveniently called Valpolicella - does much better. It's fresh and drinkable, with deep aromas of juicy cherries and plump plums, with a lovely mouth-feel and a long, elegant finish.

No matter what you order in for Valentine's dinner, Valpolicella is versatile and will complement all kinds of medium- to fuller-bodied dishes and really goes well with aged cheeses. Perhaps if Valpolicella had been around during Shakespeare's time, he would have written a much happier ending for the Montague's and the Capulet's. 

Wine #2 Bodegas Itsasmendi, 2019 Txakoli Blanco (Basque Region, Spain)

Sure, you could celebrate "National Drink Wine" day, with California Chardonnay, or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but why not try something different from a region you are not familiar with. Like Txakoli from Spain's Basque region.

Txakoli (pronounced chak-oh-lee) is made from an indigenous Basque grape called Hondarribi-Zuri (pronounced on-dar-ee-bee zoo-ree). Txakoli has a complex varietal personality; full of flavour with notes of citrus fruit, delicate white flowers, and a distinctive minerality. Refreshing acidity is balanced with fruit flavours, and finishes dry on the palate.

The wine hasn't seen any oak - except the ancient Holm oaks that surround the vineyards - as fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks to retain the fresh aromatics of the grape, and the wine is aged in stainless steel until bottling. 

In case you have been fortunate enough to visit San Sebastian or Bilbao, and are familiar with the wine, Itsasmendi Txakolina are typical of the Bizkaiko style. These are different than those of DO Getariako (of San Sebastián) which usually have a slight carbonic fizz and are served at height using a Porrón. If you have one handy, you can use it - who doesn't love a performance - although it's not necessary for Itsasmendi.

Txakoli is a great aperitif wine, and one to pair with seafood, shellfish, fresh cheese, or local pintxos (tapas). If you want some suppliers of food products for making pintxos, send us an email and we'll put you in contact. 

Wine #3 Gonzáles Bastias, 2019 Naranjo (Maule Valley, Chile)

The 27th of February has always been "Open That Bottle" day, which is meant to encourage people to go into their cellar and try something they've been keeping for a "special occasion." We're not sure the 27th qualifies as "that" kind of day, so we're taking the liberty of presenting a style of wine that's been hundreds of years in the making, and worth a try. 

Naranjo is an "orange" wine, a blend of Pink Moscatel, Torontel, and País grapes, handpicked from ancient vines - we're talking hundreds of years old - grown in granitic soils on the banks of the Maule River. The vines are on original rootstock and the vineyards are organic and free from all pesticides and herbicides. 

Crushing/de-stemming is by hand using a "Zarada de Coligùe" (horizontal bamboo sticks), and the grapes are co-fermented in open fermenters using native yeasts. The wine is aged for 6 months in a refurbished, ancient Chilean Raulí Fudre - also hundreds of years old - and the wine is bottled by hand, with no filtration.  

"Orange" Wine is a generic term applied to wines that take their colour (amber/orange) from extended skin contact of white grapes (usually during fermentation). Essentially white wines made along more traditional red-wine methods. But this wine is also "natural" in that nothing is added to the wine and noting is taken away, simply grapes and nothing more. 

Our tasting note: Bright, medium deep amber/orange colour. Complex, tropical aromas and flavours of peach, nectarine, and orange zest with mineral notes. Juicy acidity, medium-bodied, and a long evolving finish. 

Menu matches: Versatile, pairs with many different types of sauces - spicy, sweet, sour etc.  - on seafood, whites meats, and poultry. 

Wine #4 Tajinaste, 2018 Tinto Tradicional (Canary Islands, Spain)

What better way to "unplug", than to open a bottle of wine that will transport you to a black sand beach in Tenerife, with El Teide looming behind you, and nothing but Ocean between you and the Americas.

This dry red wine is made from 100% Listán negro (pronounced lee-STAN neh-gro) grapes, grown on hillside - actually volcano-side - vineyards at a height of 600 metres above sea level. These are old vines - 40% are planted using the multiple braided trenzado system - and the grapes are hand harvested at ideal ripeness. About a third of the wine is aged for two months in American oak barrels. 

Listán negro is widely planted in the Canaries, particularly Tenerife, and originated in Spain’s Castille region where it is called Listán Prieto. It is the black-skinned version of the Palomino grape, and is genetically identical to the Mission grape (aka Pais) that was introduced to the Americas by Spanish explorers (see wine #3 in this pack).

It has a youthful, bright cherry colour, with violet hues. Highly aromatic, reminiscent of fresh red fruits - cranberry, cherry, and plum - with peppery/balsamic notes. Smooth, with balancing acidity, medium tannins, and a clean finish. A great wine to enjoy with charcuterie, veal, grilled pork or firmer fish, pizza, burgers, and medium/hard cheeses. Or simply to "unplug", and not "zoom call" anyone for 24 hours. 

(We are expecting the shipment on the 8th, but we may have to substitute the wine if there is an issue at the LCBO)

Wine #5 Olivastri Tomasso, 2016 "La Grondaia" Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (Abruzzo, Italy)

March 14 is National Pi Day - 3.14, get it? So like the students who celebrate at the University of Waterloo, we will be celebrating the day with pie. Possibly something sweet for dessert, but we are thinking more savoury like chicken pot pie, steak & mushroom pie, or even fish pie. 

"La Grondaia" will work with all these savoury pies but we also picked it because we really love the incredible views of the Costa dei Trabocchi from the Marcantonio vineyard where the grapes grow, and how we miss travelling. It's made from 100% Montepulciano grapes, hand-harvested from low-yield vineyards, lovingly tended by the Olivastri family, who we also miss. 

The wine is aged in stainless-steel tanks for 36 months, no oak. It has a deep ruby red colour with purple tinges, and offers up complex aromas and flavours of cherry and plum with spicy notes of pepper, licorice, and dried herbs.  Dry, medium- to full-bodied, balanced tannins, good acidity, and an elegant finish. If there's such a thing as Butter Tart Pie, a glass of "La Grondaia" would also pair nicely. 

Wine #6 La Lecciaia, 2012 Sassarello Toscana Igt (Tuscany, Italy)

You've made it to the Spring Equinox, so what better to celebrate the official end to winter than with a "Super-Tuscan." Within Tuscany, there is a category of wines that rank amongst the most esteemed red wines in the world called “Super Tuscans”, which do not conform to the regional DOCG rules and regulations set out under the traditional Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino denominations. They are typically blends of the local Sangiovese grape with international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot, but some are made from 100% international varietals. 

Sassarello - "Sasso" means stone in Italian, and refers to the small rocks found in the vineyards - is a blend is 50% Sangiovese, and equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, aged in traditional large oak barrels, like Brunello, as well as smaller French oak barrique. It offers up rich, earthy aromas of dark cherry, plum, cocoa, and a touch of cedar/sandalwood. Medium-bodied, round on the palate, with good acidity and fine tannins and a relatively long finish.

Crank up the bbq, and pair with grilled meats - hamburgers, steaks, and short ribs - or if it's still too cold to cook outside, a hearty pasta with meat sauce or earthier-style vegetarian dishes. But you've made it to Spring; Summer must just be around the corner.