RKS Wine: Happy Canada Day and Happy 4th of July

All living souls in Canada and the United States have been through a difficult and frustrating time with COVID-19. There hasn’t been much optimism this year with wave after wave and dire threats and a ceaseless stream of propaganda from a politico medico elite funded by our tax dollars. But it would seem finally that this mythical light at the end of the tunnel is there unless it’s the engine light of a new virus mutation rendering the rush to market vaccines ineffective. And there has been an upheaval in American politics and ugly incidents of white supremacy and racial strife.

Well is it time to celebrate Canada’s birthday or are we to be so smothered in the shame of the residential school mass graveyards that have a genocide tinge to them? My heart goes out to the indigenous population of Canada perpetually treated as just about non-existent relegated to substandard housing, education and contaminated soils and waters. The residential school debacle is but a nasty continuum for which all Canadians deserve the truth and an action plan how to deal with our First Nations population. Americans seem to be realizing the ugly side of residential schools for their indigenous population. Oh by the way Happy July 4th to my American readers.

I think all of us need a break and celebrate we are still alive and that the COVID battle is looking like it will be won. So lift a glass to you. Forget the ills and negativity of the world and mark your national holiday as a positive move ahead landmark.

Although the Frienzy Rosé Sparkling Wine can’t be opened with a pop as it is Stevin capped it does have bubbles! The label looks like something from the old Iron Curtain and has the dignity one might expect of a governmental minister breaking COVID protocol in the many ways they have. Again labels are not determinative of quality of what is inside the glass they are affixed to. Neither does the label indicate whether this sparkling wine is made in the Traditional Method or for that matter what method was used. Neither does it tell us what grapes were used.

As for aromatics this light pink wine has diffuse notes of raspberry, cherry, raspberry and Orri Tangerines. On the palate there is a streak of bitterness, ginger, ruby red grapefruit and chalk. I would suggest this wine be better used for christening a warship than drinking. Vineland Estates is a quality wine producer and this wine is uncharacteristic of its high standards.

I would say this would match a field tomato salad with basil and extra virgin olive oil. I would also say drink before the end of the year.

Serve very chilled as the wine shows more of its ugly side when not in a frigid state.

(Vineland Estates Frienzy Sparkling Rosé (Tank Method), VQA Ontario, Vineland Estates, Vineland, Ontario, $ 19.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 20162, 750 mL, 12%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 86/100).

As for Americans you can probably easily find A to Z Wineworks Bubbles Oregon Rosé. We see their Pinot Noir in Canada but this bubbly is new to Ontario. The label has a retro look attempting I think to look fun. This might be a good idea for the younger wine consumer looking for something friendly but it looks a bit too adolescent to me. Again it is what in the bottle that counts.

Moderate pink in colour. Aromas of strawberry, raspberry, watermelon and rose petals. Almost no  visible bubbles though and no mention if the traditional or tank method was used. On the palate the bubbles are gentle and again like many Traditional Method sparklers there is an abundance of fruit on the palate although the wine is Brut. Cherry, strawberry and cactus pear. Just enough bubbles and fruit to make this a good sipper and celebrate the failure of the Great Insurrection and the toughness and grit of American democracy!

It was only a matter of hours but I was rushed back in vitro from North Hero Vermont and was born In Montreal so does that make me an “almost an American”? “Jesum Crow”, as they said in North Hero, he could have been a dual citizen!

(A to Z Wineworks Bubbles Oregon Rosé, A to Z Wineworks, McMinnville, Oregon, $19.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 19312, 750 mL, 12.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 90/100).

Well if you haven’t been blown away by the labels of the above two wines you may be put into overdose by the label on the Cava Vilaranu  which by the way is organic. It looks like summer campers have been hard at work on a rainy day painting a bottle. Cava is made in the Traditional Method. Cava is Catalan for “cave” or cellar”. To be called a Cava the wine must be made in the Traditional Method.

Lots of tiny bubbles. On the nose apple, pear, lime and lemon. There is also a smidgen of cinnamon. The acidity is smooth and broad based and quite thirst quenching. On the palate ginger, guava, mango with the tiny bubbles giving the wine almost a creamy texture. This is a dry smooth mid weight wine with its army of bubbles giving it a medium finish.

There are few wines I would accredit as being thirst quenching but this falls into that category. Save it for one of those hot and humid evenings when you are sweltering outside. Keep it nestled in an ice bucket.

(Vilarnau Barcelona Reserva Brut Cava (Organic), Castel de Vilarnau, Saint Sadurni D’Anoia, Spain, $15.95. Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 515254, 750 mL, 11.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 90/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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