Friday, 17 May 2013

Rediscover Canadian Wine

 I was invited to an event, Rediscover Canadian Wine to be held at Canada House in Trafalgar Square on a beautiful Spring day in London. It was one of the nicest days of the year so far and London, and in particular Trafalgar Square looked resplendent in the morning sunshine. Days like this remind me how much I like being in London!

Bright and sunny Trafalgar Square

For me it was a case of discover Canadian wines! When you think of North American wines you tend to think of the California wine growing area but in actual fact Canada has some very good wineries.

The Canadian wine region is basically in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and mostly in Ontario. The Niagra Penninsular alows for perfect conditions to grow the vines including soil condition, winds and perfect temperatures coming off the Niagra Escarpment.  They are in the same latitude as many of the other cool climate wine regions in Europe.

When I arrived I was given a glass for tasting and a booklet with all the wines listed by the table number they were on. 

When I first got there I wanted to walk around and have a quick look at all the tables before starting at table 1 for some tastings and work my way around the room.  It was then that I saw Olly Smith and asked him about his recommendation. He was very charming and pointed me to Peller Estates to try their Andrew Peller Signature Series Ice Cuvee and I certainly wasn't disappointed! This then led me to talk to them about their Icewines and thus my interest in them started.  It was lovely meeting Olly and he very kindly posed for a photo.

As I like to learn something each time I attend an event I was not disappointed.  I had heard of 'Icewine' but never really knew what the term meant or what it entailed.  I had the opportunity to taste several icewines and became very interested in these.

To make the Icewines the grapes have to be harvested at night, -10o temperature and have to have been naturally frozen on the vine. The water freezes but the sugars and dissolved solids do not. This results in a highly concentrated dessert wine that due to its acidity is not too sweet and matches both with spicy foods and cheeses as well as sweet puddings.

I have always been partial to a dessert wine especially one that complements the cheese board and the ice wines are in that category.  I will hopefully be doing a whole blog post dedicated to the ice wines soon but let it be said they are amazing.  There were several examples at the tasting.

Andrew Peller Signature Series Riesling Icewine 2008

Andrew Peller Signature Series Cabernet Franc Icewine 2010
Inniskillin Wines Riesling Icewine 2008
At about 12:30 suddenly the table to the side of the entrance was filled with a fantastic buffet lunch sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF). This was really welcome because I had not had a chance to eat breakfast and was starting my tasting on an empty stomach, not a good idea!

Being that I am primarily a food blogger I was quite interested in the buffet lunch! And then there was the cheese and pudding table!

Also noteworthy was Rosewood Estates Winery. They were originally bee keepers and honey producers and made the transition into making mead (honey wine) and onto growing grapes for the more traditional wines.

Their Sussreserve Riesling 2009 was sweet and refreshing and went very well with the stilton cheese that was on the cheese board.  Their Pinot Noir Reserve - Natural Fermentation 2009 was light and in fact too light for the stilton.

Stratus Vineyards produce a very floral and not too sweet Icewine,  Riesling Icewine 2008.

There was a section called Sparkling Wine Focus Table with a 'help yourself' tasting of some of the finest sparkling wines.  There were some beautiful sparkling wine, which I must say I am a bit partial to, such as 13th Street Winery's Premier Cuvee 2008 and Grand Cuvee Blanc de Noirs 2007. This sparkling wine was like a mild explosion in your mouth stripping it of everything but the lovely, fine flavours of the wine!

Another well know wine personality I met was Oz Clarke.

1 comment:

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