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!

February 2012


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Drink this One Young

February 17, 2012

Recently I tasted an aged Selection International French Gamay Nouveau. To no surprise ageing a Nouveau style wine does not pay off… 

I bottled my 2 carboys of Gamay Nouveau in May 2011 because I wanted a good quality light bodied red wine for summer drinking- and it was perfect! Fresh and juicy, Gamay Nouveau has a bold purple-pink colour and is bursting with an amazing array of fruit aromas, the low tannin levels make Gamay Nouveau extremely—sometimes perilously—  drinkable when young.  

I saved 6 bottles to see what the wine tastes like aged. The fruitiness and smoothness is now subdued and with no real tannic structure there is no complexity from ageing. The wine is ‘okay’ but it is no where near as fun to drink- even as young as 2 weeks old! So take my advice, drink your Gamay Nouveau early.

The good news is that there are still a handful of Gamay Nouveau kits available (contact your favourite Wine Sense location) and if you start one now it will be perfect for the first days of the spring and summer. It’s a great wine with grilled steaks, hamburgers and light summer fare.


Bruce, Manager (Wine Sense- Pembina)


Filed under: General, Wine by WineSense

New Cellar Craft Showcase

February 10, 2012

Many of my customers are asking about the new Cellar Craft Showcase wine kits we are now selling. The Cellar Craft brand was recently purchased by Vineco (makers of Cheeky Monkey, KenRidge, California Connoisseur, Legacy, Niagara Mist and more)

Cellar Craft has always had a great reputation of making very good wines and we’re pleased to be able to offer them. Cellar Craft Showcase kits are a very good quality aging wine kit. When I say aging I mean that they have not been formulated to be consumed early. You have to be patient (patient means one year plus) but you will be rewarded! Now don’t get too concerned, as always enjoy your wines when they’re young- and appreciate them as they age. But if you’re not ageing your wine more than six months you won’t see the best of these kits.

Cellar Craft wine kits also include a pack of Crushed Grapes- the extra tannins in the skins provide even more structure and firmness you expect from premium wines. The Crushed Grapes are really easy to handle- they go in a muslin bag and you just squeeze it out after Primary Fermentation and discard them.

Here’s the full descriptionsFrom the Vineco website or you can click here for the abridged descriptions from the Wine Sense website:

Many of our wine kits stand apart from our other offerings and have been deemed worthy of Showcase designation. Their distinction may come from breakthrough technology, such as our exclusive Crushed Grape Packs; best of vintage Limited Release wines; unique regional wines or any wine which we believe reflects a new level of excellence or discovery for the wine hobbyist. The level of excellence may require extra processing steps and, while designed to be bottle-ready in as little as 6 weeks, may require lengthier cellaring time to show at their peak.

We have the following kits in store- they are 18 litres (to yield 23 litres) and are ready to bottle in 6 weeks.

South African Stellenbosch Shiraz

This Shiraz from South Africa’s Stellenbosch region continues to gain international recognition for its distinctive new style. It may best be described as having Rhône-style backbone but with heady, New-World, up-front fruit. It is however more refined than many Australian “fruit bombs”. Fermentation on a Crushed Grape Pack of Stellenbosch Shiraz grapes ensures that the wine shows heightened layers of blackberry, boysenberry, fig, and plum, followed by notes of cocoa, chocolate, and coffee. It subtly shows the trademark black pepper note common to all Syrah and Shiraz. Two-stage oak treatment, using French and Hungarian oaks, contributes vanilla and toast while harmonizing the many flavours within the wine. A subtle hint of mineral remains in the background then accompanies the fruit through the long finish. The wine will begin to show its potential after 6 months ageing and should continue to develop for at least 2 years. Will pair wonderfully with all of your best red meat meals. Sure to impress your guests.

Merlot Washington 

Bold, yet elegant. This Yakima Valley Merlot is big and full with up-front waves of raspberry, blackberry and plum. Subtle notes of cedar and mocha follow the fruit. Over time, the flavours harmonize while the select oak contributes a tempering vanilla note and establishes a sumptuous combination of textures and well defined structure. Dark, rich and intense, it is a wine worthy of aging; will continue to improve for at least 2 years in the bottle. 

Rosso Fortissimo 

Our original Crushed Grape Pack wine. Super-Tuscan styled wine vinted from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and other native Italian varieties. Fermented on Yakima crushed Merlot grapes. A big, full-bodied wine with solid structure and bold fruit notes. Complex cassis, plum and cherry notes balance the bold tannins. French and American oaks contribute toasty vanilla and greater depth in this intense wine. Like all Crushed Grape Pack wines, a minimum of 6 months aging is required to begin to see harmony develop. A year is better and 2 years yields a very special wine for your enjoyment. 

Bella Sonoma Vineyard PINOT NOIR – Sonoma Coast, California 
18 liter format with Sonoma Coast crushed grapes 
January 2012 Release 
The Sonoma Coast is California’s “hottest” Pinot Noir region because it is California’s coolest temperature wine region where soils are generally demanding with high rock, gravel and clay content. These conditions result in low crop yields and wines which are concentrated, complex and elegant with ageing and attracting a rush of new plantings within the region. 
The Bella Sonoma Vineyard in the south-west part of the region has rocky, shallow soil and was planted 15-16 years ago with a variety of Dijon clones. It is heavily influenced by marine fogs which flow freely inland though the Petaluma Gap keeping temperatures low for ideal flavour development. 
This bright ruby-hued wine is medium-bodied with classic aromatics dominated by bright cherry, fresh raspberry, elegant spice and subtle notes from medium toast Hungarian oak introduced post-fermentation. 
The palate shows more cherry, a suggestion of black fruits and licorice with a balance of vibrant coastal acidity and fine tannins. 
Sensory refinement and elegance will begin to develop after 12 months and should continue through the third or forth years of cellaring to become a very special Pinot. 
With moderate tannins and bright coastal acidity the wine will compliment a wide range of foods – from white fish to beef steaks and most dishes in between. Classic pairings include coq au vin, duck, pheasant, rabbit, salmon, shellfish, and smoked foods. Of course, it is also the first choice as a red, social sipper for your special guests. 
Don’t fuss it – just serve it. 

I hope this helps.


Bruce, Manager (Wine Sense- Pembina Hwy)

Filed under: General, Wine, New Products by WineSense

Remember- Limited means Limited…

February 9, 2012

We’re half way through this year’s Limited Edition Program and we’re selling out of the wines faster than any year past. If you’re lucky you may be able to find a ‘stray’ Washington Meritage or South African Sauvignon Blanc from January at one of our locations.

February’s California Petite Sirah/Zinfandel has only been in stock for 8 days and we have less than 12 kits remaining in the Wine Sense chain that have not been reserved/purchased- so if you like a ‘blockbuster’ red you’ll want to call your favourite Wine Sense location asap and ask them to hold one for you.

The good news is that there is still time to reserve March’s German Traminer Spatlese or Aprils Spanish Matador Trio Red.

The German Traminer Spatlese is a gently golden-coloured wine, unmistakable in its heady, aromatic intensity, with a pungent fragrance of lychee, tropical fruit and rose petals. Its flavours are ample, lusciously fruity and spicy. It’s great with spicy dishes, desserts or on its own. This is truly a unique wine- if you were a fan of some of the past Limited Edition styles like the Mosel Valley Gewurztraminer or Pacific Quarter you’ll love the Traminer Spatlese!

The Spanish Matador Trio Red features three grapes: Tempranillo are deep blue-black berries, high in colour and extract, with delicate aromas. Cabernet Sauvignon’s small berries yield high tannins and intense structure, while Monastrell adds grip, earthiness and ripe red fruit. The wine is lush, tannic and complex, with intense black fruit flavours of black cherry, raspberry, black currant and notes of plums and tobacco. It’s graceful with oak adding layers of vanilla, cedar and rich coffee nuances. This unique red wine pairs well with the usual foods that you would expect a red wine to pair with, as well as lighter foods and ‘tapas’ dishes like a basic white bean salad. 

So call your favourite Wine Sense location and reserve your Limited Edition wine before it’s too late!



Craig- Wine Sense

Filed under: General, Wine, New Products by WineSense


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