My family, mostly my Mom and I, have this strange talent where we can remember the exact meals that we've eaten at various events or important moments in our lives. Wine is a similar experience for many. Some people remember the wine they were drinking when something momentous, wonderful or romantic happened. Wine is an important aspect of any meal and this month, it seemed to coincide with many events for me.
On the Friday before the August long weekend I came home to a box on my doorstep full of wine. It was a great way to start the long weekend, let me tell you. Diamond Estates Wine sent me six of their newest releases to try. Diamond Estates is home to Ontario's top selling VQA wines, including 20 Bees, East Dell, Fresh, Dan Akroyd and Lakeview Cellars. All of these wines are available at the LCBO, except for the Lakeview Cellars GMR Sparkling, which can be purchased at the winery.
For my birthday this year, we had a wonderful time in Niagara for Food Truck Eats and visited numerous wineries. One day I would love to do the bike tour around the wineries although I suspect biking may become slightly difficult after so much wine "tasting." I am always looking for new wine recommendations to steer me away from my cheap rose days. I have only made it through three of the wines and one of them unfortunately, didn't make it into the picture. I was a little too eager to try them.
Wine 1: 20 Bees 2012 Pinot Grigio, $11.95
20 Bees is a well-known Ontario winery started by a group of established local grape growers. They are now represented by Diamond Estates and continue to sell the well-priced wines across Canada. If I'm having a few sips of wine on a patio or at home after work, I'm not going to dig that deep into my wallet. I have always liked 20 Bees for their unpretentious and homegrown appeal.
This Pinot Grigio has a rich scent of melon, citrus and floral and pairs best with chicken, mixed greens with vinaigrette or fish and chips. The grapes in Ontario Pinot's tend to have notes of melon, flowers and apples and this one had a slight acidity. I have heard Pinot Grigio referred to as the "blue jeans" of wine or a summer patio variety and that is definitely my style.
On the long weekend, we went to a friend's housewarming party. Even though houses are a lot of work and a stressful process, that feeling of knowing a house is your own is one I hope to cherish in the next few years. You really have to get down and dirty when you're working on a home, but then there are the moments when you can sit back and enjoy the results of your hard work.
We sat in the backyard and toasted to the house, then walked down to the beach to see the stars and the glimmer of the city skyline lit up at nighttime. Similar to 20 Bees wine, it's a collective effort of many people working toward the same goal to create something enjoyable and comforting. This wine pairs well with new beginnings.
Wine 2: Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, $12.95
This wine was my favourite of these whites with a refreshing fruity, and a little bit of a grassy taste. Dan Aykroyd is a famous Canadian actor who also has a successful winery resulting from his passion for travel. Many of the wines he makes are inspired by wines he has sampled all over the world.
Sauvignon Blancs tend to have a grassy, herby and sometimes gooseberry taste. This one had a distinct gold colour and was very light and refreshing. This Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with Thai food with its lime, tropical fruits and slight almost lemongrass-like taste. He also has an affinity for well-priced wines that have the taste of high-class French wines.
It would be a shame to smash a bottle of this wine at a boat christening, but I assume alright to drink on a quiet evening at dock. We paired it with grilled chicken, summer vegetables and crispy bread last Sunday night as a nice ending to a weekend away.
Last weekend, we went to Mike's parent's boat for the weekend in Midland, Ontario. Even the dog was prepared for the water with his own life jacket and adapted to the rocking and rolling of the boat quite seamlessly.
We traveled out to one of the nearby islands and anchored there for one night then returned back to the marina on Sunday. When you're boating, you're using the best of nature, like the wind, water and islands, to guide you. There are times on boats where I have felt the most relaxed I have ever been. It could be the slight rocking or sunshine or it could be that I am traveling right through nature. Like Dan Aykroyd wines, it is always a trip of discovery and exploration. This wine pairs well with travel.
Wine 3: 2012 Fresh Moscato, $11.95
This Moscato by Fresh is a slightly sweet, summer sipper. They make their wines similar to their name with strength, liveliness and a bright and a youthful appearance. This one was zesty, sweet and didn't have a lot of acid. This is how I like my white wines and this would make a great wine for girl's night. It pairs well with fish, fruit salad and maple glazed ham.
On Friday night I paired this with dinner and a slice of Peach Gingerbread Cake. The nose of this wine actually has scents of peaches, lemons, lime and citrus, so it went well with the cake. After a long week, I had a glass of this wine and tried to savour the last little bit of summer we have left. One of those wonderful moments was a friend's wedding in Windsor, Ontario.
She told me she tried to add a personal touch to the reception and everything was beautifully made, from the homemade rosary bead favours, cupcakes and cake to the seating chart wrapped with coloured lights. There was also a touch of elegant glamour with crystals, feathers and blue uplighting decorating the grand hall. When you're celebrating a wedding, you're celebrating the beginning of a new chapter in someone's life. And with family, friends and loved ones around you as you celebrate, you can move onto this step with liveliness, sparkle (especially the glowing bride) and a "fresh" start. This wine pairs well with celebrations.
Disclosure: I received samples from Diamond Estates Wines for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.