Dear Toronto: Have you been day dreaming about sipping some of the best Canadian wines this Thanksgiving long weekend? What about looking ahead, to the soon-to-follow turkey fest at Christmas? Imagine a table set for a crowd, as it was before the pandemic.
Don’t forget the good chinaware that rarely sees the light of day! All waiting to be filled up with good food, wine, and maybe some shared laughter, too. Cue up the Netflix’s series “Stranger Things” theme song for Thanksgiving 2020. How much longer do we have to endure this “new normal”?
High quality Canadian wines
The good news is, smaller gatherings (or virtual friends and family meetings) means you don’t have to share all of that premium Canadian wine you’ve bought. Bonus: you’ll likely have less mess to clean up. And you don’t have to awkwardly kick your guests when you’re ready for bed! (You know, the ones who tend to over sip their welcome?)
Pop the cork on even better news. Canada is making a variety of high quality wines that pair well with turkey and all the fixings. Share a bottle or two separately over Zoom. And enjoy more leftovers for you!
Pearl Morissette Cuvée “Black Ball” Riesling 2017, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara, VQA
Riesling is an incredibly versatile wine for the Thanksgiving season – dry or sweet. It is up to the vintner to determine the level of remaining residual sugar, if any, when fermentation is complete. The wine is coined ‘King’ by the pros when it comes to food pairing. And they work well with so many orchard fruit flavours available this time of year! (Baked brie with apples anyone?)
If you can get behind a good example of one, and appreciate it with food, you might just branch out and fall in love with it. The wine’s fruit-forward characteristics balanced with ample acidity makes it a wonderful pairing for so many dishes. That’s especially true for ones that have acidity themselves.
Only 646 cases available
Enjoy this dry, vibrant style of pure Niagara fruit from boutique producer Pearl Morissette. It bursts with chalky minerality, and an overall “salty”, saline texture. Get lost in the aromas and flavours of lemon-lime, floral honey notes with some almandine, Anjou pear, and orchard apple.
Plus there’s a refreshing dry finish to remind you that you’re sweet enough! Only 646 cases were produced. Order it here.
Hidden Bench “Nocturne” Rosé 2019, Beamsville, Niagara, VQA
The colour alone of this rosé is incredible! Deep pink or pale ruby, any way you pour, it looks pretty in your glass! This is a juicy, food friendly Canadian rosé made from mostly Pinot Noir grapes, with remaining 2% Merlot via the “saignée” method.
The wine has a fermentation process where the juice from the red wine “bleeds”. That means it runs down into winemaking vats following skin contact with its pulp and seeds.
Basically this is a gentler way of extracting its intense colour and flavour. It is reminiscent of the famous rosé producing region of Tavel in the Rhône Valley, France. Expect a medium plus bodied weight with rich, juicy red cherry, cranberry, luscious raspberries and cream. Plus an ever-so-slightly herbaceousness.
Nocturne truly is one of our best Canadian wines, perfect for fresh savoury herbs like sage.
Intense colour and flavour
There is some, but minimal residual sugar at 3.2 grams per standard 5 oz serving. That makes it slightly off-dry, and perfect for homemade cranberry sauce! Limited quantity remains at the winery for good reason, visit their website or call direct to order.
Southbrook 2018 Laundry Vineyard Gamay Noir, Vinemount Ridge, Niagara, VQA
This is one of Niagara’s top quality wineries dedicated to sustainable, biodynamic and certified organic winemaking. The meticulous care, and respect for the land speaks for itself in its premium juice.
Their 2018 single vineyard Gamay Noir is no exception. It is jam-packed with red fruit nuances on the nose. Think strawberry, raspberry jam with some luxurious cherry, and aromatic floral notes to invigorate the senses.
An underlying earthiness and minerality is present on the palate from the clay-loam soils the vines grow in. That provides overall depth and texture for the wine.
Certified organic winemaking
A medium plus bodied Gamay with a lingering finish. It’s perfect with a first (and second) helping of turkey. Also lovely on its own as a starter red.
You can chill it down slightly to just below room temperature around 16-18 C, as they often do in Beaujolais, France. That’s the home of legendary Gamay Noir.
You don’t want it too cold though, as it would hide some of the flavours. That would cause its’ supple tannin to seem more bitter than they are. Just chill it enough to refresh your palate in between mouthfuls of turkey, stuffing, and fresh cranberry sauce. Get your premium Niagara Gamay Noir here.
Leaning Post “Lowery Vineyards” 2017 Pinot Noir, St. David’s Bench, Niagara, VQA
A mere 100 cases were made of this complex earthy, juicy single-vineyard Pinot Noir. It is sourced from premium Niagara grapes along the St. David’s Bench. On the nose you can expect sweet herbs like tarragon and basil mixed with some floral characteristics. Included there is a fresh bouquet of lavender with faint mulberry notes at the end of your swirl.
Upon first sip, you’ll experience a bit of a different story. The wine has intense earthy cherry, pomegranate and bright red raspberry flavours with subtle mushroom, and mulch. Also, of course, it has prominent mineral notes from the rich soils it flourishes in.
A medium plus bodied red with good structure where tannins and acidity are concerned. This is a Niagara Pinot that is ready for heavier poultries like turkey, or Cornish game hen. Buy it here.
Two Sisters Thanksgiving Collection
And if you can’t think about it right now, Two Sisters has done the work for you by offering a mixed case of turkey friendly wines in their Thanksgiving Collection.
You’ll want to crack open their opulent traditional (Champagne) method sparkling rosé wine right away!
It’s conveniently named “Lush”, for its’ pun expressing the flavour. Also, perhaps they went with a cheeky nickname for those who have no shame when it comes to well-made Canadian sparkling wine!
TOP IMAGE: INSTAGRAM, @SOUTHBROOKVINEYARDS