If you are in Canada, American wine imported is invariably from California and to a lesser extent from Oregon or Washington. Let us forget the possibility of any Pennsylvanian or Texas Chardonnay or Virginian Cabernet Sauvignon. The thought of such exotic wines would no doubt frighten the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) management as new to them must mean a crippling blow to their monopolistic profits. They are shaking in their boots as it is more or less letting evil British Columbia wines flood into Ontario and totally ignoring Quebec wines. Same old story cling like hell to California!
One New Mexican wine we occasionally see is from Gruet. Gruet has been producing sparkling wines for over 25 years.
So what is their Brut Rosé like? For one thing it is made in the Champagne Method meaning it is made the way Champagne is made in the Champagne region of France that France by treaties has sought to protect its overpriced and “symbolic” wine i.e., a celebratory wine.
It is crazy with its bubbles like rioters in the recent Great Insurrection on Capitol Hill in Washington. There is some strawberry and raspberry swirling about the nose but there is some rather stale and foreign intruder like wet cement or cognac that has been sitting in a glass for a week burglarizing usually reliable Gruet. Oh terror more ammo for the LCBO not to stray away from dearest California. Trichloroainisole (TCA) contamination i.e. corked was the fate of the bottle.
Gotta dump this infected wine or better yet return it for a refund.
(Gruet Brut Rosé, Gruet Winery, Albuquerque, New Mexico, $25.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 15686, 12%, 750 mL, UNRATED DUE TO FAULT).
Now we move on to a store manager 30% discount off an Angel’s Gate Sauvignon Blanc Sparkler reduced from $29.95 to $20.80. These discounts are given due to overstocking or low customer demand which just might mean the same!
Settling down from the trauma of a faulty wine this one lacks a frenzy of tiny bubbles despite the fact it is made in the Traditional Method i.e. the same way Champagne is made. You can pick up traditional Sauvignon Blanc aromas but they are gently masked which is not necessarily bad. Firm notes of pineapple, tangerine and mango. On the palate the Sauvignon Blanc asserts itself with more force. And is has some fruit as opposed to so many Brut Champagnes that blast your plate with crispness. So I’d say you are drinking an Extra-Dry here. Notes of apple, pear, lime and clementine. I will note that when served very chilled the Sauvignon Blanc soul is in hiding but as the wine warms up it emerges from the shadows. Ladies and gentlemen we are liberated from the tyranny of Brut and Extra Brut which is becoming quite frankly a bit boring. Apart from the delightful novelty it is a well-made sparkler. And its retention of fruit makes it more than a palate cleanser. I’d pair it with Chinese or Thai food or at this price for a great afternoon sipper in the garden or patio. This fruit experience is what we don’t get enough of in Ontario.
(Angels Gate Estate Winery 2016 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Archangel Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling Wine, Angels Gate Estate Winery Beamsville, Ontario, $20.80, Liquor Control Board of Ontario #11984, 750 mL, 11%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 92/100).
We conclude with a 2017 Flat Rock Cellars Riddled reduced from $27.75 to $19.30. Made in the Traditional Method. Wild careening bubbles. On the nose apple, pear, citrus, wet slate and butter tart. It is dry but not overly crisp and acidic. On the palate a soothing and broad-based acidity making it more food friendly than some Extra Brut razor blade sparkling whites. You might detect some notes of pineapple upside down cake, key lime pie with a buttery pastry shell, guava, ginger and freshly cut lumber. This off dry sparkler has close to a creamy texture and is made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Its carbonation is intricately woven into the wine making it a complex Niagara sparkler. Speaking of food I can’t think of a main course dish to pair it with but its creamy nature might make it a good match for some Camembert/Brie and with Malpeque oysters with a good squeeze of lemon. Of course, it is great on its own. It also has a bit of mystery to me as there is an aroma and taste I simply can’t pin down so I have tried to mention lumber and wet slate but that is as close as I can come to solving the mystery. Flat Rock obviously has a riddle in their wine I can’t solve.
(Flat Rock Cellars 2017 Sparkling, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Flat Rock Cellars, Jordan, Ontario, $27.75 (store specific reduction to $19.30), LCBO # 383315, 750 mL, 12%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating, 89/100).