Sparkling: Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than a little bit of chilled, fizzy delight. Many people overlook the sparkling wines of Ontario. However a chilled sparkling Riesling is just the thing to turn heads, add a little playful fizz to a dry, hot day and kick start your taste buds before dinner. Two to try are Tawse Spark Riesling which unfortunately can only be found at their winery located between Beamsville and Vineland in the Niagara Region and Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Méthode Classique Brut which is available at the LCBO. Award winning 13th Street 2008 Premier Cuvée is the perfect choice to toast special occasions with its sophisticated flavour profile of straw, toasted almond and refreshing lemon.
Gamay: When looking for the perfect pairing with robust barbecue and grilled meats and burgers you need a summer red to serve when dining al fresco. Gamay is being touted the official red wine of the summer. With the flavour of early summer fruit, such as cherry and berry, with just a touch of spice to complement those rich grilled meats and sauces traditionally enjoyed throughout the summer. French Beaujolais Nouveau are probably the most well known of the Gamay wines although more serious wine lovers find them a little too young. This is because Beaujolais Nouveaus are released just weeks after the grapes are harvested. For Ontario wines, Fielding Estate Winery Gamay 2012 is a must try, but is also only available at their winery. If you aren’t up to a drive to wine country (can you think of a better way to spend a rainy summer’s day?) you can look for Tawse Gamay Noir, Malivoire Gamay or Cave Spring Cellars Gamay at the LCBO.
Rosé: Rosés are pretty in pink and offer a lovely change from white. They hold the flavours of summer berries and are the perfect pairing for casual backyard dining. There are many medium bodied, dry Rosés that are ideal for summer meals or just for sipping on a hot day. Many have a hint of rhubarb perfect with the more pronounced strawberry flavour such as Henry Pelham’s Sibling Rivalry which helps balance a garlicky meal. You can also try fruitier Rosés such as Pelee Island’s Pelee Pink which adds a touch of tart raspberry to the strawberry rhubarb mix. Other choices include award winning Southbrook Vineyards 2011 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé, Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards 2011 Rosé, Chȃteau des Charmes 2012 Rosés and Tawse 2012 Rosé.
Riesling: Rieslings are very aromatic. They are very fruity and therefore a very refreshing wine for the summer. Flavours include a ripe tart lime, pineapple and lemon and can be even stronger with a deep apricot flavour if the grapes used were ripe. Tawse appears on the list once again with the introduction of their Brickyard Riesling VQA. This is going to be your go to Riesling through the summer with crisp citrus flavour that is perfect for those fresh summer salads, oilier fish such as pickerel and even more exotic flavours such as curries.
One final mention is Sémillon. This wine is a perfect summer white as the grape has tropical notes such as pineapple and mango. Adding to the summery taste is fresh grass and the heady taste of honey. Look for Angels Gate Sauvignon Blanc/ Sémillon 2010 at the LCBO or if you are up for a drive, Rosewood Estates Winery Sémillon 2012 is an immensely flavourful choice that will have you seeking out this lesser known grape at their Beamsville winery all summer long.