Summer is here and the timing could not be better. With social distancing recommendations still in force, our backyards are the place to be: chilled wine in hand, barbecue sizzling. Most wineries in Ontario are offering free delivery to your doorstep, making it is easy to avoid the lines at the store. It has never been more convenient or appropriate to support local wine producers. Niagara wineries, with their glacial soils and lakeside vineyards, are open for business, either with retail stores open, curbside pickup, or delivery (which is most often free with a minimum purchase).
Here are our top picks to enjoy over the summer… (and nobody minds if you add a block of ice or two to your glass):
Wayne Gretsky No. 99 Collection Rosé ($16.95)
A luscious blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, and Gamay Noir, this light and fruity pink wine from the famous hockey legend is easy drinking and goes perfectly with most barbecue treats or even on its own as an aperitif.
Inniskillin Niagara Estate Series Riesling ($14.95)
Pinpoint freshness like a squeeze of lime with honey and fresh flower notes, Canada’s premier estate winery never fails to deliver.
Peller Private Reserve Pinot Gris ($20.95)
Laden with tropical fruit salad notes, this wine pairs with Asian inspired dishes. It is the perfect wine if you prefer something in between Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. It is not surprising that Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular grape varieties in the world.
Château des Charmes Sauvignon Blanc ($15.95)
Beautiful pungent elderflower, lemon zest, and passion fruit aromas waft from the glass. This winery was established in St David’s Bench in 1978 and has been producing quality wines ever since. Best enjoyed young to preserve the fresh zingy aromas.
Konzelmann Pinot Blanc ($14.95)
This gem won a gold medal at the Ontario wine awards in 2019. It is a steal at the price for a high-quality tipple from a winery established in 1984. A creamy texture on the palate with a long, zesty finish. Perfect with roasted chicken on the barbecue.
Ravine Charmat Rosé ($27.80)
From a winery whose original building dates to 1802, Ravine’s wines are produced according to organic and biodynamic methods. Crushed raspberry fruit leaps out on the nose of this everyday sparkler, it is the perfect start to fire up the barbecue.
Southbrook Wild Ferment Chardonnay ($34.80)
Produced with biodynamic and organic methods, this wine was fermented using only the natural yeast on the grape. This Chardonnay matured in French oak barrels is as perfect as nature intended.
Stratus White ($39.00)
An exotic blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Semillon and Gewürztraminer; this serious white blend is produced sustainably and matured in French oak barrels. A rich, heady, layered wine that would go perfectly with grilled salmon.
Trius Brut ($29.95)
Home to Canada’s largest sparkling wine cellar, this Méthode Champenoise (Champagne method) bubbly is a traditional blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, like Champagne from France. It has notes of brioche and citrus with an apple and honey tart finish and is a fine example of the high-quality sparkling wines Ontario is capable of producing.
Two Sisters Blanc de Franc ($61.80)
The first sparkling Cabernet Franc in Ontario, this unique and exciting wine won the Sparkling Wine of the Year award at the All Canadian Wine Championship in 2019. Although made from a red grape, the wine is very delicate with small persistent bubbles and citrus and red currant flavours.
13th Street Gamay ($19.95)
A super versatile, lighter style of red that is best served well chilled. Raspberry and licorice tones with soft juicy tannins and a slightly smoky finish that makes it the perfect match for your summer barbecue.