September 11, 2015. 8:40AM
Theme: Back to School Wines
Today on CTV Morning Live, CTV Guest Sommelier Matt Steeves and CTV Host Lianne Laing showcased some great wines to enjoy this Back to School season. Wines that are perfectly suited for getting you through those homework assignments, science projects, parent teacher interview debriefs, and most importantly, that pair wonderfully with autumn harvest meals!
Check out the video here: Back to School Wines as seen on CTV September 11 2015
Back to school season means transitioning from the summer ‘routine’ and into the daily grind of packing lunches, frantic mornings, throwing meals together after a long day at the office, homework, etc., and repeating that Sunday eve to Friday…All. Year. Long! I recommend pairing that ‘full plate’ with the styles of wines that go best with Back to school.
As we move from one season to another, especially summer to fall, it’s a great time to revisit the wines you’re enjoying. In the summer, we enjoyed BBQ friendly red wines and salad friendly white wines, now’s the time to start shifting into wines that pair well with autumn harvest veggies (squash, potatoes, carrots, beets), and those traditional Thanksgiving meals of roasted poultry, glazed ham, etc.
For me, I immediately think of creamy Chardonnay and rich Riesling for whites, super versatile Rosé, and Pinot Noir and Gamay for the lightest of the reds to complement fall meals. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of space for crisp and light white wines and big and heavy red wines, but this is a little window between extreme seasons where in-between wines are ideal!
So, while you’re out shopping for school supplies, or killing time in between hockey practices, make sure you add some of these wines to that list. Not only will you enjoy them with your fall meals, but they’ll make the craziness of back to school that much more enjoyable!
Here are a few great wines to enjoy this Back to School season:
1. Featherstone Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2014 – Vineland, ON – $16.95 via Vintages or winery direct – http://www.featherstonewinery.ca
A lovely crisp and clean Riesling from Featherstone’s Twenty Mile Bench vineyard in Vineland, Ontario. The nose shows ripe orchard fruit – apple, pear, with a hint of beeswax and fresh figs. Clean and refreshing, the palate bursts through with freshly picked macintosh apples, lime, and mandarin orange. A wonderful Riesling to enjoy with roasted pork and apple compote. Tasted September 2015. 90 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
2. Dreaming Tree Chardonnay 2013 – Central Coast, California – $16.95 (Dave Matthews Band wine – proceeds to Trees Canada)
A winery perhaps best known because of its legendary co-owner, Dave Matthews from the Dave Matthews Band, but becoming increasingly well known for the delicious value priced wines they produce and their focus on sustainable, eco-friendly, wine production. Recently in Ontario, Dreaming Tree teamed up with Trees Canada to plant new groves in areas where the Emerald Ash Borer has devastated urban forests…and Dreaming Tree Winery is donating proceeds of every bottle of Dreaming Tree wines to Trees Canada. So basically, drinking this wine is helping the environment! Win-win-wine!
Baked apples, orchard fruit, vanilla, and toasty oak on the nose and palate. Medium-full bodied, this is a great wine to enjoy with creamy autumn soups, game birds, Baja fish tacos, buttered popcorn, or simply enjoy chilled on a patio. Tasted August 2015. 88 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
3. Clos du Bois Chardonnay 2013 – California – $15.95 (Smart Buy!)
Since 1974 Clos du Bois has producing elegant French-inspired wines with rich and flavourful California grapes. The result is a wine style that many have grown to love for over 40 years now. Their North Coast Chardonnay has the hallmarks you expect in a Cali Chardonnay, rich and creamy with notes of almond croissant, key lime, and sweet spice make it very inviting and great all year round. Medium-full bodied, the palate is loaded with crisp apple, lime, pear, and spice, leading to a silky smooth yet refreshing finish. Lobster dipped in butter, or wood-fire-grilled quail would be ideal! Enjoy 2015-2018. Tasted September 2015. 88+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
4. Scott Family Estate Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013 – Monterey, California – $28.95 (Super Smart Buy! September 19th Vintages release)
Scott Family Estate has produced another beautiful Chardonnay from one of California’s coolest growing regions, the Arroyo Seco appellation in Monterey. Using estate grown Dijon clone Chardonnay, they’ve produced a tremendously flavourful, elegant, and complex Chardonnay that tastes twice as expensive as it really is.
Produced with great Burgundy (Chardonnay) in mind, the nose shows the delicate balance the winemaker achieved between preserving the fruit purity and employing only partial oak fermentation to add complexity and body without robbing the beautiful fruit characteristics one expects in a premium California Chardonnay. Dried apricot, yellow apple, blood orange, guava, honey, butter, caramel, and lees make way to a creamy and spicy palate of sweet yellow apple, wild flower honey, butter, baked bread, and a touch of fresh sweet corn.
Full bodied and layered, the balance of fruit, light oak influence, and lees shows the skill the winemaker employed to produce incredible flavour, body, and elegance all in one beautiful Monterey Chardonnay. Highly recommended. Enjoy now or allow time in the cellar for additional complexity to develop. Drink 2015-2025. 93 points. Tasted September 2015. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca – Being released September 19th 2015 via Vintages in Ontario for $28.95
5.Inniskillin Pinot Noir 2013 – Niagara – $15.95 (Smart Buy!)
Inniskillin Pinot Noir 2013 – Niagara – $15.95 (Smart Buy!)
Inniskillin’s Niagara Estate Series Pinot Noir offers terrific value for what’s often a very expensive wine style, regardless of where it comes from. At $15.95 you’d be hard pressed to find better value priced Pinot, especially Canadian Pinot Noir. Stylistically very easy-going with a silky smooth palate, that’s jam packed with delicious cran-cherry, herbs, smoke, and vanilla. An ideal wine to enjoy in the fall, serve slightly chilled alongside grilled salmon, roasted poultry, or pork tenderloin dishes. Tasted September 2015. 89 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
6. Erath Pinot Noir 2012 – Oregon, USA – $24.95 (Super consumer friendly!)
Oregon is becoming increasingly well known around the world for their impressive, consumer friendly, and well balanced Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. The Erath 2012 Pinot Noir shows the hallmarks of Oregon’s Pinot Noir, characterized by light tannins and fruit-forward flavours. Medium ruby red, with black cherry, cranberry, vanilla, herbs, and a touch of underbrush, make this a fine wine to enjoy with autumn dishes, such as cream of beet soup with feta and herbs. Tasted September 2015. 89 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
7. Neige Ice Cider 2012 – Quebec – $24.95 (skip the apple, get a teacher this!)
This is an incredible vintage ice cider and would make a perfect pairing with any baked apple desserts. Baked apple pie, apple crumble, both with vanilla ice cream, you couldn’t ask for a better pairing than this cider with those dishes. The cider is sweet, spicy, and so well balanced. Refreshing crispness to complement the luscious sweet apple notes makes this cider one of the tastiest and finest I’ve ever had the pleasure of sampling. 2012 was a great grape growing season and it appears the apples too had a stellar year. Buy two or more and enjoy this summer and fall. Tasted June 2014. 94 points. Matt Steeves @QuercusVino