I think that we have some really exciting wines to work with this year, some of them being extremely rare and unique. In this blog I will present each one to you in terms that we are all familiar with.
This is an extensive description of our 5 limited edition wines available January to March 2011. Pre-order deadline to guarantee your product is December 15 at last years prices of $131 for whites and $136 for reds. When the shipments actually arrive we do order a few extras which will be available at the regular price of $141 for whites and $146 for reds (on the extras ordered first come first served).
By the way our annual tasting of commercially equivalent products of these 5 wines with special guest speaker Dave Larocque and a tasting of each wine with pairings will be November 18, 7 PM at the Capitol Hill Community Association, 1531 21 Ave NW. Tickets are available at all Home Vintner locations for $10 per person ($5 toward charity and $5 credit toward the purchase of a Limited Edition Wine Kit).
A video presentation by Tim Vandergrift of each wine is also available from Winexpert, click here to view.
Australian Shiraz/Viognier (Heaviest Body) (January)
This is a full-bodied red wine, and the heaviest of our three reds, even though we are blending a white grape (Viognier) with the Shiraz. 90% Shiraz, 10% Viognier.
Our grapes come from the Salmon Gum Vineyards in the Riverland District, which is part of the Murray Darling Basin. There’s plenty of sunshine and heat in the Riverland which is perfect to ripen up the Shiraz, mixed with ample irrigation to control the rate of ripening.
Viognier is an especially aromatic wine and the idea of blending it with Shiraz is to provide some soft aromatics to the heavy, tannic character of Shiraz.
Distinguishing feature of Shiraz is the small berries with a thick skin. Most of the colour, flavour, aroma and tannin in red wine comes from the skin. Small berries = high skin to pulp ratio, so lots of big, robust fruit flavours. Thick skin = lots of tannin.
There will be cross-over between the red and the white flavours. Shiraz will give chewy blackberry and chocolate notes with lots of tannin, but this will be balanced slightly by delicate perfume notes provided by Viognier. Aging this wine out for at least 18 months will produce the amazing subtle peppery spice that Shiraz is renowned for
Pacifica White (Off – Dry) (January)
Like last year’s Pacific Quartet the Pacifica White also contains 4 different grape varietals from growing regions located on the Pacific Rim:
– Sauvignon Blanc ~ California
– Viognier ~ California
– Chardonnay ~ Okanagan, BC
– Semillon ~ Australia
It is not a traditional blend and each grape has been chosen for the balance that it provides to the others. This wine will have layers of flavour. Sauvignon Blanc is grassy and herbaceous. Viognier brings stone fruits and is very aromatic. Semillon provides a honey note. Chardonnay presents as crisp green apple.
It will appeal to lovers of slightly sweet wines (Gewurz, Piesporter, Lieb), but off-dry does not mean that it is sweet. Off-dry means there is a perfect balance between the acid and fruit notes. In the case of the Pacifica White it means that it is luscious and juicy with a big mouth feel.
4 completely different grapes to Pacific Quartet, so different flavours, but the Pacifica White is a very similar style with the off-dry note and luscious fruit.
Note – lightest to heaviest in the reds would be in the order of 1.Primitivo, 2.Douro Tinto, 3.Shiraz/Viognier. Though, Primitivo is still medium bodied, whereas Douro Tinto and Shiraz/Viognier are both full bodied.
Italian Primitivo (Medium Body) (February)
Primitivo was previously thought to be the same grape as the more famous Zinfandel, but it was recently discovered that they share the same grape parent. So, they are very close genetically.
Our Primitivo juice comes from the Puglia growing region which is the heel on the boot-like map of Italy. It’s very hot in Puglia but the region receives a cooling effect from the Mediterranean which prevents the grapes from ripening to quickly.
An important characteristic of Primitivo is that they are very small grapes with a thin skin. This provides a high skin to pulp ratio which means that you get big colour, flavour and aroma in Primitivo. The thin skin, however, means you have more delicate tannin than thicker skinned grapes.
The dominant flavour of Primitivo is ripe raspberries. As it ages you will get plums and spice. The tannin starts firm but softens with age to become silky smooth.
Austrian Gruner Veltliner (Dry White) (March)
Gruner Veltliner is the most widely planted grape in Austria, accounting for 37% of all vineyards in the country.
Until the mid 80’s Gruner Veltliner was produced for quantity rather than quality. The past few decades have seen a significant rise in quality (premium growing techniques) and a rise of Gruner Veltliner on the world stage.
Wine geeks have known of this amazing wine for some time and it is now gaining popularity on trendy restaurant wine lists across Canada (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver). Incredible with shellfish and seafood.
Gruner Veltliner is crisp and minerally with nice fruit flavours, similar in character to dry Riesling (particularly Okanagan), without the floral note usually associated with Riesling. Gruner Veltliner also draws comparisons with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris.
It will drink well young (if a little simple), but will age better than almost all other white wine. Ours will need age to bring out the complexity of flavours.
Portuguese Douro Tinto (Full Body) (April)
Douro is the famous growing region that our juice comes from in Portugal and Tinto means “red” in Portuguese. So, this is our “Douro Red” blend.
Portugal is famous for producing port, but many of the grapes that go into the premium ports also make remarkable dry red table wines. Which the Portuguese have been enjoying for centuries.
A blend of 3 red grapes: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz & Touriga Franca.
– Touriga Nacionale – Considered Douro regions finest red grape. Tiny berries that produce a big, dark robust wine.
– Tinta Roriz – More commonly referred to as Tempranillo, which is the famous grape that makes up Rioja (Spain).
– Touriga Franca – is Cabernet Franc to Touriga Nacionale’s Cabernet Sauvignon. That is to say, if we look at this Douoro blend in the terms of a classic Bourdeaux style blend, Touriga Nacionale provides lots of deep flavour & tannin, while Touriga Franca provides freshness and subtlety.
Young, this wine will show a lush blackcurrant flavour from the Nacionale, and violets/roses. With age the floral character will become more prominent.