January 05, 2014

Toasting to 2013 with Diamond Estates Wines

I am toasting to the past year and I think I will need a glass of wine before I start thinking about the year to come. I know everyone says the new year will always be the best yet. This year I already know there will be a lot of life changes and I am nervous and excited to start some new beginnings. When you have a blog, it is neat to see the whole previous year through what you ate and drank. It just goes to show that life goes by in a flash and you have to savour those special moments. 

When life isn't defined by semesters or school terms anymore, the summer can seem long and not that exciting. Instead of lying on the beach all day and partying all night, it now means working all day with not that much time to laze around in the sun. As you get older, there are still many celebrations of a different kind. 

Fresh Gewurztrainer Riesling

This year was apparently the year of weddings with a total of five I attended. In August, it was a wedding by the lake in Oakville, Ontario. As something for the wedding party to sip on while they were getting pictures taken, I brought along a bottle of Diamond Estates Wine. Diamond Estates has been extremely generous to me over the last year and has let me sample some new releases of their Canadian wines. The company represents some of Ontario's best wines, including Dan Akyroyd, 20 Bees, Hat Trick and East Dell.

For this occasion, I brought along a bottle of Birchwood Fresh Gewurztraminer Riesling 2012 priced at $11.95. This wine was perfect for a beautiful August day and a great summery aperitif to drink before the meal. When you think of Gewurztraiminer, it is best to think of lychees, as they share similar compounds. As well as having a beautiful golden, yellow colour to match the sun, it also has a nose of lemon, ginger and tropical fruit, such as lychee. This wine pairs well with butternut squash, thai food and sweet potatoes and is my favourite among the "Fresh" collection.

Usually when I come home on Friday night, I end the week with a glass of wine to unwind. Sometimes wine doesn't have to be for a special occasion. I am allowed to enjoy the wine I like at home on an ordinary day with a piece of pizza in front of the television. Rosé have always been my favourite even though is isn't usually known as being the most distinguished. Lakeview Cellar wines, however, are sourced from the best vineyards in the Niagara region. The wave design on the bottle signifies the lake's influence on the area's climate and grape characteristics. I always love that time late in August when the summer is winding down but there is still a little bit left to savour.

I opened the Lakeview Cellars Syrah Rosé 2012 ($16.95) around September after the busy days of summer were over and the nights were a little quieter. Lakeview is known for their big, bold reds and that is apparent in this Rosé with its deep colours instead of the normal pink tones. Syrah grapes are usually used for full-bodied reds, so this one was quite stronger than a normal Rosé. This wine would go well with many of the chutneys I preserved this fall with its bouquet of summer strawberries and currants and also goes well with foods like sushi and spring rolls. I found this one slightly acidic after it was opened. If you want a different take on sweet Rosé, this is a great hybrid to try.

Lakeview Cellars Syrah Rose

Flash forward to October and it was Thanksgiving. I brought a bottle of East Dell Gamay Noir 2011 ($12.95) to my parent's house for Thanksgiving weekend in the country. This is a great wine for a really great price and has a nice, dry medium finish. It also fit perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner, as it pairs well with turkey, cranberry sauce and beets. The wine is somewhat sweet and tart with a cherry, licorice aroma and a hint of vanilla, red fruits and spices. Gamay's are usually meant to be enjoyed right after they are bottled between late October and January.

East Dell Gamay Noir

Recently, there was news that VQA wines will soon be available at Ontario farmer's markets. I originally thought VQA meant that the wine was made in Ontario, but I found out through this news that wine is only certified as VQA if it is made from 100 per cent Ontario-grown grapes. That means that wines like these will be available and more accessible to wine lovers like me. Now that is something to be thankful for in Ontario.

Then winter came and cast its icy shadow over everything. I tend to go into somewhat of a hibernation mode during the bitter cold. It is so hard to drag myself from a cozy bed or fireplace to face the cold. The holidays came and it was again busy seeing wonderful people and not relaxing at all. There were too many cookies to eat, places to go and presents to give and receive.

One of those presents was a wine rack handmade by my Father-in-law-to-be. Before, I was storing my wine in an old crate, which is probably not the best way to store it. Then we were presented with this beautiful cherry wood wine rack that is already full of our growing collection. Now we can display our wines proudly and store them properly. 

At the last wedding we went to, the groom made a beautiful speech about how the day he proposed was a day like any other--they did laundry, saw a movie, made dinner--but it was special and fun because he was with the person he loved. He said the little things could still be exciting with the person he loved and I loved that sentiment. Life is about making the everyday things fun and beautiful and remembering those moments, as well as the special and life-changing experiences.

I think that's one of the reasons why I like wine. There is something different in each bottle and it is always a new experience, even if you're just sipping a glass at home. Wine can make the mundane exciting and the special things a little sweeter. It's about enjoying the wine, but also about who you you were with with and where you were when you enjoyed it.

Disclosure: I received samples from Diamond Estates Wines for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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