Cottage season is upon us. It means packing up for the weekend and unplugging from the busy lives we lead to enjoy some nature, good company, and of course some great wine! If you are like me, “cottaging” doesn’t mean cheap wine out of a box for the sake of ease and simplicity. If I am going to have a glass of wine and stare out into the sunset or float in the lake basking in the heat, I want my wine choice to match my experience-lavish and worth every sip! Whether you are looking for refreshing and cool, or something to warm your insides on a cool evening under the stars, here are my 4 top picks to stock up on for the summer.
* The Ken Forrester is not depicted here, as my last bottle was already sipped and savoured.*
This is not at the LCBO, but well worth the visit to pick up a case or two for the cottage season ahead. This Pinot Noir sparkling Rosé is made using the traditional method (aka champagne method). It has structure from the Pinot Noir grape, but also a refreshing elegance that makes you want to drink the whole bottle on a hot summer day (go ahead, no-one is judging). It has bright red berries on the palate, with a little bit of toast from lees contact. Lay back, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, and dip your toes in the lake, while enjoying every moment of this wine!
For those of you who don’t have much experience with Chenin; I urge you to go out and try it-especially Chenin from South Africa. For me, it is much more interesting than most Sauvignon Blancs, and not quite as full-bodied or creamy as a Chardonnay. This one is excellent, and a steal under $20.00 a bottle. This is a medium bodied white wine with great acidity, and aromas of melon, ripe peach, baked apples and pear. It shows great minerality with flint characteristics and is rounded out by a very integrated use of oak. As the warm sun hits your back and lunch is being placed in front of you- a fresh summer salad with grilled chicken, ripe peaches, walnuts, and some goat cheese, this wine is an excellent accompaniment to your meal.
Not quite a steal, but think of it as your splurge for a romantic evening you have planned under the stars. This wine is silky and smooth with delicate red fruit- strawberry and plums, combined with an earthiness that truly depicts where it is from, a hint of spice, with excellent balance. This wine is a showstopper, and I would personally plan my evening around the wine- not the other way around. A grilled rack of lamb with mini potatoes in the late evening; watch the stars emerge in the sky, grab a blanket and snuggle in to enjoy its complexity.
A great find to share with your friends when they come up to visit. It is a spicy red wine that would pair excellently with a steak on the BBQ. On the palate this wine has dried red fruit with firm tannins and a hint of florality. This spicy, heavy hitter is a great conversation starter and will probably have your guests wondering where it is from. So take a chance and move away from your go-to cab sauv from California and try something different. You will be impressed, and so will your friends!
I hope my picks give you some food for thought, and make your cottage experience that much better. After all, if I am roughing it in the woods, I might as well enjoy the finer things in life like a great bottle of wine, a good meal, and the company of those I love.
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