Wine Picks

Shari’s Picks® for July!

As we celebrate Canada’s 157th Birthday, let’s explore some fantastic wines from a selection of our acclaimed Canadian wineries! 

Canada’s premium winery, Le Clos Jordanne has a physical winery and a new name. Gone is Le Clos Jordanne, which launched in 2000. Welcome Domaine Le Clos Jordanne. Thomas Bachelder, the founding winemaker, is at the helm, working with Associate Winemaker Philip Brown. The classic Burgundian styled Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines are the focus while sparkling wines are being introduced. 

Tasting with Thomas Bachelder and the wine media at Domaine Le Clos Jordanne.
Wines tasted:
Jordan Village Chardonnay and Pinot Noir 2021
Claystone Terrace Chardonnay and Pinot Noir 2021
Le Grand Clos Chardonnay and Pinot Noir 2021
Crémant De Jordanne 2020

My experience at the Exclusive Domaine Le Clos Jordanne Preview Event was a privilege. With their unique charm, each wine was a delight to savour, and I recommend all of them. Each Domaine Le Clos Jordanne wine is a premium, world-class choice without the high international prices. The fact that they are local adds an extra layer of exclusivity and a reason to be proud. These exceptional wines are available at the newly updated, picturesque Domaine Le Clos Jordanne winery, formerly Angel’s Gate. Thomas says of the Le Grand Clos vineyard site, “It is a magical place on the Jordan Bench, arguably one of the top sites for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in all of Niagara.” You can find a limited selection of Domaine Le Clos Jordanne wines at LCBO.

Thomas Bachelder and Philip Brown

The 2024 Ontario Wine Awards were a testament to the exceptional growth of our wine industry. I was on the initial VQA tasting panel in the 1980s and can attest to the massive contrast between the limited “winners” back then and the diverse range of wines presented for judging in May. Our industry has come a long way, earning a well-deserved seat on the international wine stage. Congratulations to all the Award winners! Winery of the Year went to Domaine Queylus, which won several other awards, including the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for White Wine of the Year with their Chardonnay Tradition 2020. For a complete list of the winners, click here.

Chardonnay Tradition 2020 | VQA Niagara Peninsula | Chardonnay  | 750 mL | 12.5 alc % | sugar 3 g/L | cork finish | Available at the Winery | $33.50

This month, I encourage you to embrace the spirit of summer and experiment with local wines. Whether you’re lounging by the pool, hosting a backyard BBQ, or enjoying a romantic sunset dinner at the lake, think light and fresh. Crisp whites, fresh rosés, and sparkling wines are perfect for this time of year, and they pair beautifully with appetizers, salads, seafood, and grilled chicken. For those BBQ ribs or burgers, try a slightly chilled red. And to end your meal on a refreshing note, consider an Ontario Icewine.

Zesty white Sauvignon Blanc is incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day. Pelee Island Lighthouse Sauvignon Blanc 2021 has a pale colour, forward notes of green apple, a light body, and good acidity. It makes a lovely aperitif and serve with light appetizers, seafood, sushi, and goat cheese. 

Pelee Island Lighthouse Sauvignon Blanc 2021 | VQA Ontario | Sauvignon Blanc  | 750 mL | 12.5 alc % | sugar 3 g/L | screw cap | LCBO +371500 | $15.95

Summer and rosé wine are synonymous. I love rosé’s pretty pink hues, light body, and refreshing acidity. The well-regarded Malivoire Lady Bug Rosé 2022 has always been a personal favourite. Blended from mostly Cabernet Franc, the wine is crisp with a medium body. It has flavours of berries and a fresh, dry finish. Enjoy this perfect patio wine chilled with grilled salmon, shrimp, salads, and Brie. 

Malivoire Lady Bug Rosé 2022 | VQA Niagara Peninsula | Cabernet Franc, Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir | 750 mL | alc 12.5% | sugar 3 g/L | screw cap | VINTAGES +559088 | $17.95

My friends know I am passionate about sparkling wines! They are fun to serve at any summer gathering and are not just for celebrations. Ontario is making a name for itself with its high-quality, good-value sparkling wines. Reminiscent of authentic Champagne is a well-known non-vintage sparkling wine, Château des Charmes Brut Sparkling. Made using the same methods and varietals as prized Champagne, this fizz offers consistent quality and excellent value. It has a creamy texture, toasty flavours, vibrant acidity and a fresh lingering finish. Since sparkling wine pairs with almost everything, be daring and try it with BBQ ribs, potato chips, tacos and spicy cuisines.

Château des Charmes Brut Sparkling | VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake | Chardonnay and Pinot Noir  | 750 mL | 13.3 alc % | sugar 12 g/L | cork finish | VINTAGES +224766 | $25.95

Don’t be afraid to chill your reds slightly. About 15-20 minutes in the fridge can make them perfect for a warm day. Like Gamay Noir, light reds are well suited for our hot summers. Offering good value from Niagara is Tawse Growers Blend Gamay Noir 2021. With bright, vibrant berry aromas and a mild spicy lingering finish, serve Tawse Growers Blend Gamay Noir 2021 slightly chilled with grilled vegetables, charcuterie boards, pasta salads and cheddar cheeses.

Tawse Growers Blend Gamay Noir 2021 | VQA Niagara Peninsula | Gamay Noir  | 750 mL | 12.0 alc % | sugar 2 g/L | screw cap | VINTAGES +32824 | $23.15

Why not enjoy Canada’s celebrated Icewines as a delicious, decadent dessert option? I prefer Riesling Icewine. It is more expensive than other varietals and worth the extra, like Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine 2019. Consistently highly rated, this “sticky” is balanced with vibrant acidity despite the naturally high sugar content. It is very rich with aromas of honey and stone fruits. When asked what to serve it with, I suggest nothing. Sip Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine 2019 as dessert!

Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine 2019 | VQA Niagara Peninsula | Riesling  | 375 mL | 9.0 alc % | sugar 217 g/L | cork finish | LCBO +430561 | $49.95

Remember to stay hydrated by drinking water alongside your wine, particularly at this time of year.

Cheers to discovering new favourites and supporting local wineries!

Shari 🥂

Not from Ontario? Try WineSearcher.

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