A Sense of Wine

A Sense of Wine is Wine Sense's journal of new products, techniques and behind the scenes info for those who love to make wine. The authors are the Wine Sense staff. You will be familiar with them as the friendly faces that serve you whenever you stop by one of the stores. Join us as we share our insights on new procucts, advice and our experiences. Please feel free to comment on any posts- we look forward to your input!

September 2010


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Limited Edition 2010

September 30, 2010
winesense_icon[1]Here you go folks! This year’s Limited Edition styles… Remember-These unique and intriguing wines are available only during their month of release so pre-ordering is highly recommended to ensure you’ll receive these sought-after winemaking kits.
January – Australian Shiraz/Viognier
The Region: The warm climate and rich sandy loam soils of Australia’s Riverland region could produce high yields, but the artisan grape growers at Salmon Gum Vineyards remove half the fruit at budburst and limit irrigation. With smaller numbers of berries and water–stressed vines, the resultant grapes display highly concentrated flavour, aroma and body.
The Wine: Blending red and white grapes brings lush balance to this lively, deep ruby wine. Ripe berry fruit and violet aromas from the Shiraz are balanced by floral and stone fruit notes from the Viognier, with beguiling hints of orange blossom followed by toast and smokiness. There’s sufficient acidity to give it structure, but the overall impression is soft and velvety. The long, gentle finish is ripe and appealing with surprising complexity.
The Food: A great choice for game or meat dishes, it also works spectacularly with ratatouille and even soft fruit, especially combined with soft–ripened or goat–s cheeses. It–s also great all by itself as an elegant sipping wine.
Ageing: Appealingly bright and fruity when young, it will develop more of its floral aromas after six months, and after a year will begin to show violets and blackberry flavours, and continue to deepen in flavour.
Sweetness Code: 0 (dry)
January – Pacifica White
The Region: The Pacific Rim has micro-climates and terroir as diverse and excellent as any in the world. With Semillon from the blazing sunshine in Australia, Chardonnay from the crisp valley air in Okanagan, British Columbia, and Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier from the hot sunny mornings and cool afternoons of California’s North Coast, each vineyard also has unique soil ranging from sandy river bottom loam, to stony red clay, and nearly pure limestone.
The Wine: Pacifica White showcases bright fruit, excellent structure and a long layered finish running out from a veritable fruit salad of flavours and aromas. Complex pear and honey notes, grassy citrus and grapefruit, ripe apple, fig, melon, peach, and pineapple all mellow into spicy, honey, butter, butterscotch and hazelnut flavors that linger beguilingly.
The Food: Full–bodied yet supple, this wine has a range of fruit characters and enough acidity to stand up to a wide range of foods. Off dry, but perfectly balanced it works well with spices, seafood, clams, mussels in saffron cream, and especially with Asian food.
Ageing: Delicious and ready to drink almost immediately, this wine has the ability to change with time, evolving dominant notes from one grape to the next. Sauvignon Blanc’s citrus and herbs provide crispness early on, giving way to melon and honey notes of Semillon, then Viognier rises to show stone fruit, flowers, ripe apricots and candied orange peel while Chardonnay asserts its green apple and notes of white fruits and minerals.
Sweetness Code: 1 (perfectly balanced and luscious)
February – Italian Primitivo
The Region: Puglia forms a long narrow peninsula, making up the heel of the boot of Italy. Dry and warm, it basks in the Mediterranean sun, and has a long, rich history of grape growing. The Appenine mountains give an excellent range of elevations and soil types, and it produces more wine than any other region in Italy, specializing in intensely ripe grapes from its hillsides.
The Wine: Italian Primitivo is medium red in colour veering to brick, rich, and concentrated, exuding aromas of blackberry, plums, tobacco, prunes and red cherries, with the Italian signature of firm tannins and a long, gripping finish with notes of vanilla and toast. Like most Italian reds it retains acidity to balance fruit character and marry well with food.
The Food: Primitivo shines in the company of assertively flavoured foods like lamb, pork, grilled beef, ribs, roasted red meats, wild game, spicy cheeses and pizza. Its firm backbone of acids and tannins make it work well with rich and spicy foods like Italian sausages or lasagna.
Ageing: Medium–bodied but with good grip and intensity, this wine will begin to open up after six months, the richer flavours will show at 12 months.
Sweetness: 0 (dry)
March – Austria Grüner Veltliner
The Region: Grrüner Veltliner is almost unique to the Niederösterreich, Austria’s growing region along the Danube River North of Vienna. It finds its finest balance in loess, the fine-grained, densely compacted glacial dust that has blown in to the vineyards over many thousands of years. This unique terrior is largely responsible for the distinctive characteristics of arguably Austria’s greatest asset.
The Wine: Grrüner Veltliner produces stunningly intense and concentrated wines that start with citrus and grapefruit aromas, hinting from the very beginning at the variety’s most distinguishing characteristic, the spicy fragrance of freshly ground white pepper. In addition to white pepper they can also show aromas of sour apples, flowers and minerals – surprisingly delicate.
The Food: The steely dryness and bracing acidity of Grüner Veltliner works brilliantly with seafood, mussels, salmon, grilled halibut, fish stew, and grilled oysters.
Ageing: This wine has huge ageing potential. After three months in the bottle it will present bright, simple flavours of citrus, but after a year the tropical fruits will come out to duel with the white pepper.
Sweetness: 0 (dry)
April – Portugese Douro Tinto
The Region: The Douro valley is Portugal’s premium wine region. Situated along the Rio Douro (River of Gold), the scenery is spectacular and the soil is just about perfect for growing quality wine grapes. The climate is continental, very hot and desert-dry in the summer; cold and wet in the winter. Douro’s most memorable feature is its difficult terrain. Most of the slopes are so steep that the only way to grow anything is by creating terraces, the painstaking construction of dry stonewalls to support the banks of soil.
The Wine: A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca, the names may be unfamiliar, but Tinta Roriz is the same grape as Spanish Tempranillo. Together they make an intensely aromatic wine with an impressive depth of fruit and complexity. Black fruits such as cassis along with mulberry and raspberry predominate and are complemented by plums and tobacco, followed by the resinous aromas of violets and rockrose. High tannin levels and good natural acidity mean that the wine has an excellent potential for ageing without loss of structure or balance.
The Food: Incredibly flexible as a food wine, Douro Tinto will match perfectly with roasted lamb, or duck, barbecued meats, grilled eel and meat sauces. The finesse and complexity also make it intriguing just on its own.
Ageing: This wine will show black fruit, plums and a firm structure of acid and tannins. Six to twelve months will reveal more floral aromas and a hint of ripe berries and cassis.
Sweetness: 0 (dry)
Intrigued? Join us at our Limited Edition Wine Tastings to get a sneak preview!

Filed under: General, Events, Wine by Craig

Musings on a trip through Niagara wine country part 1…

September 29, 2010

Brian KentAlthough, I have travelled through the Niagara vineyards tasting wines before, it is always fun to do so again. This year two vineyards I visited in late August were very instructive regarding terroir. Terroir refers to the soils, climate and geography that the grapes are grown in. One vineyard, Coyotes Run, grew two Pinot Noirs close to each other, but in different clay soils. One pinot was called red paw and was grown in red clay loam formed by the weathered bedrock dating back over 450 million years. This soil, rich in iron (causing the redness in the soil), but containing little organic matter, is good for growing premium wine grapes. The wine produced a bright fruitiness and a more perfumed and floral bouquet.

Coyotes Run 2

The Black Paw Pinot Noir is grown in a younger soil (15000 years old) with clay loam that is more organic which holds the heat and the moisture longer. This makes it trickier to grow the vines, but produces a wine of great character, rich in body and earthy and smoky in character.
Coyotes Run produce other red wines such as the Cabernet Franc (made in most other wineries, as well), and whites wines, such as riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.

Another winery, Thirty Bench near Beamsville, is located on the slopes of the Niagara Escarpment and exhibits the terroir of soils with a limestone bedrock, plus a higher elevation. The wonderful off dry reisling I tasted here hints of green apples along with mineral character of the benchland. This winery specializes in small lots which are aged for a couple of years before being sold.

Barrel Room 2

Overall, if you’re travelling through Southern Ontario, take a day to explore the wineries of the region, and partake of the fruit of the vine. You won’t regret it!


Brian (Wine Sense- Portage Ave.)

Filed under: General, Wine by Craig

Big Wine- Big Seller!

September 24, 2010

JimMy wife Susan and I like Luna Rossa with our BBQ’d meals. The wine is a rich bold red wine and is as smooth as silk. It can almost be  considered off -dry (although it is dry) because of the full-fruit flavours. It’s loaded with big, berry and jam notes with just the right balance of tannins. Luna Rossa is a heavy wine that will coat your mouth with its smooth taste throughout your meal.



Luna Rossa- A Big wine and Big seller!

I believe Susan likes it because it “covers up a lot of burnt offerings” !

Luna Rossa is the ‘largest and most full-bodied’ wine we sell and has been a top seller for both Winexpert and Wine Sense since it was released about 10 years ago. If you have never tried it don’t delay- it’s on sale until tomorrow (Saturday September 25th, 2010)!


Jim, Manager (Wine Sense- Southdale Sq.)

Filed under: General by Craig

Time to Go Plastic!

September 22, 2010

BobI normally do most of my winemaking in the fall and winter months so last week after work I decided to prepare my winemaking work station. I had four empty glass carboys on the table and moved two to the floor and put two on my futon. I washed down the table and took inventory of my equipment and supplies. Quite pleased that everything was ready for production- I was ready for a break and turned on the TV and sat on the futon… 



Big mistake! As I sat down the weight change caused one carboy to fall and smash into the other and poof… two carboys lost. What a mess, thankfully I avoided any cuts. It was recycling day the next day so I put the carboy ‘shrapnel’ in the Blue Box and it was gone in the morning.

Plastic Carboys

Plastic- Lighter and Safer than Glass!

The moral of this story is that I’m switching to Plastic Carboys, just as good as glass, about 14lbs lighter and a whole lot safer!


Bob, Manager (Wine Sense- Springfield Rd)

Filed under: Equipment by Craig


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