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Wine Pairings for Your Holiday party

To think we have made our way this far through 2020 already! How time flies. Many of us are well into holiday planning mode, now that we’ve long said our final goodbye to summer. It’s time to gather your dearest loved ones, and indulge in great food and even better wine. Follow along for some WineCollective holiday party wine pairings.

Pinot Noir Wine Pairing: Spicy-ish Honey Mustard

homemade spicy mustard wine pairings

(Yield: 3x 500mL jars)

Although this is not a main dish or focal point during a cocktail party, this is a must-make at the beginning of the holiday season. It is great to pull out for a sandwich bar for a midday get together, amazing as dip for savoury meats, or on a charcuterie board. 

This honey mustard pairs great with Pinot Noir thanks in part to the sweetness from the honey. Pinot Noir is also great with charcuterie and the many possible mustard-pairings you create.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. Mustard Seed
  • 1 c. Beer (stout or a heavier wheat beer)
  • 1 c. Mustard powder
  • 1 ¾ c. water
  • ¾ c. White vinegar
  • ¾ c. Apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¾ c. Honey

Getting it done:

The night before you make the mustard, combine the mustard seeds and the beer in a bowl. Let them soak overnight. The next morning strain the seeds, use a mesh strainer as the seeds are quite fine, make sure to capture the excess beer into a measuring cup – you should have about 1/4 cup of excess beer.

Blend the seeds into a paste using a full size blender or hand blender, whatever is accessible or easiest for you.

Next is the easy part! Throw everything in a pot — except the honey. Place the pot on the stove over medium heat and allow it to come to a boil while you whisk everything together. Turn it down to low and set a timer for between 7 and 10 minutes. If you like really spicy mustard, you can turn it off at 7 and if you like it a little milder turn it off at 10 minutes.

Once the stove is off, you can whisk in the honey. Allow the mustard to cool for about 30 minutes in the pot before transferring into jars. Make sure that your jars have been cleaned thoroughly prior to use. In the fridge, this mustard should keep for up to 6 months, but we’re sure you’ll eat it all before then!

Merlot Wine Pairing: Pistachio Mustard Crusted Lamb Pops

lamb pops recipe wine pairings

Lamb is lovely to serve over the holidays, as it has a unique flavour that pairs so nicely with holiday spices, nuts, and aromas. It is also a dish that warms you up and can be served both as a great main or in this case an awesome appetizer! In this recipe we use our homemade mustard. If you are not that adventurous, or just don’t have the time, any grainy or spicy mustard will do!

Merlot is a wonderful match for this mustard crusted lamb dish. Its inherent sweetness works well with the umami of the lamb and the spiciness of the mustard. A match made in dinner heaven!

Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of lamb
  • ¼ c. Pistachio (finely chopped)
  • 4 tbsp Mustard (homemade mustard or any spicy mustard will do)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper for seasoning

Putting it together:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare the rack of lamb by patting it dry with a piece of paper towel. Once it is dry it can be rubbed down with the olive oil and seasoned with the salt and pepper. 

In a bowl place the finely chopped pistachios with the mustard. Mix together to form a paste. This paste can be spooned and spread around the meaty end of the rack of lamb. Make sure to spread the paste across the whole rack evenly, but try not to make the layer too thick. A thick layer might fall off during the cooking process.

Place the rack in a shallow baking tray lined with parchment, leaving uncovered while in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes for a medium rare rack. Once the desired cook is reached, remove from the oven and cover with a foil top for about 5 minutes to naturally finish the cooking.

To serve, slice the rack between each rib and display on a plate as you see fit. Serve with a small bowl or ramiken of mustard!

Sauvignon Blanc Wine Pairing: Pomegranate & Pine Nut rolled Goat’s Cheese

holiday goat cheese recipe wine pairings

To round out your holiday party, offering a soft cheese with a crisp fruity kick is always a nice touch. This holiday season we have the fresh flavour of pomegranate with a little crunch from pine nuts to create this festive cocktail party pairing dish.

Share this delicious Goat Cheese on your charcuterie or as a light hors d’oeuvre, with a nicely chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. The acidity from both the cheese and wine are a wonderful match and Sauvignon Blanc is an adaptable wine that will suit the added pomegranate and pine nuts.  

Ingredients:

  • ¼ c. Frozen pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ c. Pine Nuts
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • Goat’s Cheese Log (long)

Putting it together:

Remove the goat’s cheese log from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before working with it. It should be soft and malleable.

In a food processor using the stainless steel blade, pulse together the frozen pomegranate seeds and pine nuts until they are almost a powder. Add the pepper and cinnamon, pulsing a few more times to mix in.

Lay a piece of saran wrap flat on the counter, then pour the pomegranate and pine nut mixture on it. Spread it out (try and keep the edges of the saran clean of mixture, at least 1”), about the width of the goat’s cheese log and as far up the saran as you have mixture for.

Lay the goat’s cheese along the edge of mixture on the saran, width wise, as you have spread it out to fit. Pull the saran up over the goat’s cheese and start to roll it along the mixture. Since the goat’s cheese has been sitting at room temperature it will be malleable, so feel free to gently push along the saran as you are rolling to ensure the mixture attaches to the cheese. Display the cheese on any serving tray and serve with a cracker of your choice.

Share the Pair(ings)

Holiday Recipes

Continue to explore the world of wine throughout the year with WineCollective. You can subscribe yourself, or gift a subscription to a loved one. Packages are delivered to your door every month and come with a new selection of delicious wines to taste, an interactive tasting guide, recipes and more!


Parent Pairings: Back to School Edition

We’re so excited to watch the beautiful leaves fall, don our cozy sweaters, and wander the dog park without fighting the dog into snow booties. For anyone attending classes, teaching students, or paying for those things to happen (parents, you know what I’m talking about) we offer a toast to you!

Parents, we suggest starting September with an optimistic approach called wineglass half-full (or full, we’re not judging.) As the maker of meals, official chauffeur, number one fan and proudest cheerleader; these pairings were designed with you in mind!

1. For the parents perpetually stuck ferrying their rugrats between school and soccer practice, give your sip and snack a boost with a yogurt tube and the Annex Ale Project’s Norm-Core Pale Ale. Upgrade to a romantic evening by sharing the crushed granola bar from the bottom of your bag with your partner and antagonizing that referee as a family.

Annex Norm Core

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. September is a smorgasbord of postponed August birthday parties, not to mention all of the actual September birthdays! It’s go-time on the weekends, balancing multiple birthday parties and ballet before the sun sets on Saturday. Savour the delightful combination of a chocolate pudding cup and a fruity Malbec like the Humberto from Canale Estate, hidden in a travel mug, to remind you that weekends are supposed to be fun and relaxing. Layers of blueberry pie and vanilla in the wine will mix beautifully with the milky chocolate.

3. Too exhausted to make yourself a snack after staying up late to make your ungrateful kids their lunches? Munch those peanut butter and jelly sandwich crusts with a bold, jammy Cabernet Sauvignon like Vinovalie’s Terreo to match the fruit preserves and balance the acidity of the peanut butter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. On a crisp fall evening when you need a break, let the kids reign free in an unsupervised frenzy and take a moment for yourself. Sneak away with a peelable string cheese stick, and devour it as you slam and lock the bathroom door to keep their tiny, sticky fingers out. Open your secret bottle of Cab Sauv (we recommend strategically placing the Avia Cabernet Sauvignon all over the house) and run yourself a hot bath with some stolen, yet effervescent Paw Patrol bubble bath.

To help you survive the month, we’ve combined all of these delicious and necessary bottles into the perfect #ParentPairings mixed package, available to members now, at WineCollective.ca.

Students! You’ve slogged through twelve years of mandatory schooling, and now you’re making your higher-level path with post-secondary! With all of the lectures, labs, and late nights writing papers (or bonding with classmates,) we’ve paired classic comfort foods with fabulous alcohol! All hail grading on a curve!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Fall is here, and it’s time to replace the school supplies that disappeared over the summer! For the old school yellow pencil lovers out there, WineCollective Two is the beverage of choice. Sharpen your writing utensils and sip on the wine that surpasses all expectations (just like you, right?) This Shiraz is going to accent the mineral smell from pencil shavings and add a tart cranberry note with a hint of vanilla, to accentuate your hidden potential.

2. When your paper is due Friday evening, make sure you sustain yourself with some classic one-minute ramen. Boil the water, throw those crunchy noodles in a bowl, and prepare to scald yourself because it’s seriously hot! Pop open a bottle of Cuvée Jean-Paul to cool down and enjoy the matching savoury notes from the rustic herb flavour in the wine, with the mystery spice satchel from the ramen.

3. Proven* to help with synonyms when other words escape you, this pairing is a sure-fire hit for late night writing sessions (and asking for extensions!) Grab a slice of leftover pepperoni pizza, borrow your neighbour’s ice bucket and crack open a refreshing bottle of Più Gioia Pinot Grigio. Let the vegetal and herbal notes of the wine create a full meal with the microwaved tomato sauce and sausage playfully mingling.

When the cold frost blows across campus and getting to the dining hall involves crossing the vast Arctic tundra that now separates you from lunch, opt for the Asheville Brewing Ninja Porter instead! Hunker down somewhere warm and enjoy the roasted coffee to keep you awake, nutty chocolate for sustenance and sweet caramel as a bonus treat! A+ for this delicious combo.

*Pinot Grigio has not been verified against a thesaurus to help with synonyms but is recommended by 9/10 university alumni that work at WineCollective. (That last employee prefers reds.)


Rosé All Day, Every Day!

This year, we’re pairing the hottest season with the hottest wine trend – welcome aboard the Rosé train!  You may have noticed your local wine shops and restaurants focusing more on this delicious style, and we are cheering them on!

Here are just a few reasons why we love Rose:

  1. The mercury can get a little high during the summer, so having something cool and refreshing to drink is key. Rosé provides the delicious flavours of red wine but in a lighter style.
  2. Pairing foods with Rosé is so easy! You don’t have as much of the tannic structure you get from red wine, so the possibilities are wide open. Rosé also has a little more oomph than chilled white wines so you can pair with heartier plates.
  3. A variety of styles to suit any palate. Rosé ranges from light and delicate to robust and flavour forward.  

Long gone are the days of sickly sweet pink wines! The Rosé produced these days offers incredible complexity and depth of flavour; it’s a great alternative to white wines for red wine drinkers!

Rosé is a summer staple, it has been a popular trend in Europe for decades and word is spreading. The increase in popularity has reached wineries and winemakers around the world who are now investing their time and resources into producing the highest quality of Rosé. Production of Rosé has expanded from France, Italy, Spain and America to countries such as Greece, South Africa and New Zealand. Rosé is now being considered a serious style of wine worldwide.

The styles of Rosé reach far and wide! The range of grape varietals used has expanded significantly over the years. The primary grapes used include Grenache, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah to name a few. Each varietal produces a different profile on the flavour spectrum, from light and dry to full-bodied and fruity. Rosé is considered one of the most food-friendly styles of wine. With a moderate flavour profile, it is incredibly versatile, pairing best with warm climate cuisine. Below you’ll find a list of the top ten styles and flavour profiles of Rosé accompanied by suggested food pairings.

Grenache

Profile: Fruity, floral, dry and acidic

Flavour: Strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, cucumber and a hint of lemon zest

Pairing: Dishes with aromatic spices and nightshades. Also, Middle Eastern or Indian and Greek

Provence

(usually a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Syrah)

Profile: Fresh, lean, fruity and dry.

Flavour: Rose petal, fresh watermelon, minerality and hints of spice.

Pairing: Steak salad, seafood, lighter salads or pasta.

Pinot Noir

Profile: Elegant, fruity, dry and acidic

Flavour: Strawberry, citrus zest, watermelon, celery and earthy notes

Pairing: Green or floral spices, savoury seafood, braised lamb or chicken

Tempranillo

Profile: Savoury, light and fruity.

Flavour: Raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, and herbaceous characteristics.

Pairing: Tapas, grilled vegetables and Spanish cuisines.

Sangiovese

Profile: Bold, dry and fruity

Flavour: Cherry, strawberry, clove, allspice and red fruit. Hints of a slight bitterness

Pairing: Chinese, Thai curry, Italian dishes and Moroccan cuisine

Tavel

Profile: Rich, savoury, full-bodied and structured.

Flavour: Summer berries such as cherry, hints of spice, nuttiness and earthy characteristics.

Pairing: Seafood Pasta, cold fish appetizers, herb sausage and brisket

Mourvèdre

Profile: Floral, fruity and full-bodied.

Flavour: Red fruit, floral notes, cherry, pomegranate, plum and sweet anise.

Pairing: Spicy Asian dishes or Mexican cuisine.

Syrah

Profile: Savoury, full-bodied, rich and dry.

Flavour: White pepper, red pepper flakes, cherry and grapefruit. Subtle notes of floral and cured meat.

Pairing: Linguine, shrimp, paella, grilled meats, pizza and chilli.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Profile: Savory, fresh, and acidic.

Flavour: Green bell pepper, cherry, black currant, minerality and a zesty aroma.

Pairing: Beef, lamb, tuna steak and salmon dishes.

Zinfandel

Profile: Sweet, refreshing, and fruity.

Flavour: Peach, strawberry, succulent pear, cotton candy and green melon.

Pairing: Seafood, glazed ham, spicy Thai.

Over the last few years, Rosé has really taken off in North America. Every time we open our Facebook or Instagram, we see images of people enjoying Rosé by the pool, on the lake or with friends in the backyard – and we can’t help but want to join!

We invite you to celebrate the Summer of Rosé with us, use the coupon code ROSEEVERYDAY18 to receive 20% off when you sign up for a new WineCollective subscription or when you place an order in our members-only store! Then, show us what’s in your glass this summer by tagging @winecollective in your photos. And for those of you still having flashbacks to the overly sweet flavours of Rosé, be sure to give these wines a second chance at making your taste buds burst, we promise you won’t be disappointed!

 


How do you like it done?

Steak, that is. From basic to gourmet sauces, seared or grilled, and rare to well, we all know how we like it done. Ritualistic and precise, there is a method to our steak madness. Do you give the same attention to pairing the perfect wine with your choice cut?

We realize that part of the pleasure of steak and wine is in it’s simplicity. The no-fuss approach is to reach for a solid Cabernet, Syrah, even Merlot or Malbec. There is nothing wrong with this, but we would like to share some tips to bring your heavenly duo to the next level.

Temperature

The rarer your temperature, the more the beef will temper your wine. If you like your steak cool and blue, you can opt for a more tannic wine. Younger Cabs, judicious oak and other wines like Syrah, should be strong enough to withhold the mellowing nature of rare to medium rare.

Method

Grills will offer the maximum amount of char, which leave a smokey and bitter taste. To offset the strong flavours from an open flame, choose a wine that is ripe and juicy. Wines like Napa Merlots, or quality Malbec will offer some sweeter tannins to balance the scorched steak.

Cut

The cut of beef will have a substantial impact on the style of wine you should select. Leaner cuts like sirloin should be paired with lighter bodied wines. Depending on the local, look for Grenache and even some Pinots. For richer/fattier cuts like Ribeye, you will want a fuller bodied wine like a hearty Cabernet.

Seasoning

Sauces will change the what wines you should be looking for. For example, a lean cut with a cream sauce might warrant a bold Chardonnay. Mushrooms have an affinity for Pinot, which would work well with flank steaks. Pepper is a bold spice that has a big affect on a wine. Liberal peppering, peppercorn sauces and crusts will increase the ‘heat’ (perceived burn from high alcohol) in a wine. High alchohol wine will seem even hotter with an abundance of pepper.

February WineCollective packages have a wide selection of steak-friendly wines. Here are our suggestions:

Beau Vantage 2010

Medium bodied, high alcohol (14%)

  • Tenderloin, seared, cooked medium, herbs and butter

Bien Salud 2013

Med-light bodied, med+ alcohol (13.9%)

  • Sirloin, grilled, cooked medium, garlic and mushroom

Secret Cellars 2014

Med+ bodied, high alcohol (14%)

  • Beef rib, grilled, medium-rare, wine sauce

Canepa Novísimo Carménère 2014

Medium-bodied, med alcohol (13.5%)

  • Flank steak, cast-iron broiled, cooked medium, chimichurri sauce

TATE Spring Street Merlot 2014

Full-bodied, med + alcohol (13.8%)

– Ribeye, grilled, medium rare, simple salt and pepper

Find these wines in the WineCollective e-Store. Available Now!


January’s Main Event: Portugal vs Spain

Portugal and Spain share many commonalities in geography and in viticulture, including varietal plantings and wine culture. However, the style of wines produced and variations in micro-climates are vast. Here is a quick study on what is similar and not so similar between these 2 neighbours.

Grapes

Portugal is like a ‘wine island’, where unique varietals are grown in almost isolation. Portugal has hundreds of indigenous varietals, many are not found anywhere else. Here are some of the most popular and obscure grapes you can find in Portugal.

  • Arinto – Widely planted, especially in Lisboa and offers a zingy, fresh and acidic profile.
  • Tinta Roriz or Aragonês – The same grape as Tempranillo, just a different name.
  • Sangiovese – An international varietal, not home to Portugal, but found in small amounts.

Spain has enjoyed significant international popularity lately, with Spanish wines being readily available and affordable. This has helped establish varietals like Tempranillo, pushing them into the mainstream. Here are some of our favourite, less-known varietals.

  • Viura- The most heavily planted white grape in Rioja (aka Macabeo) and used often for Cava.
  • Picapoll – An obscure grape mostly found in Cataluña.
  • Mencía – A well structured grape that thrives in NW Spain, Bierzo.

Regions

Portugal’s regions are almost all Mediterranean in climate, with even the furthest vineyards not very far from the ocean. The main differences in the sub-regions will be due to elevation. The plains and plateaus having more heat, while hills will have mitigating cooling breezes and nighttime temperatures.

  • Dão, named after the Dão River, is in northern Portugal. Here, the quality vineyards are grown from 150-450 meters above sea level and enjoy the affects of diurnal temperature. Most commonly, you will find Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional.
  • Douro produces both fortified and non-fortified wines. Most notable, Douro is known for its Port. The geography in Douro is centred around the Douro River, which was used to transport the barrels of Port from the steep vineyards, to the cellars.

Spain has over a dozen different wine regions, with more sub-regions within each. Spain’s regions vary vastly based on elevation and temperature. The arid plains of Toro produce ripe and rugged Tinto de Toro (Tempranillo), while the more northern Galicia is a cooler climate with more crisp white varietals, like Albariño.

  • Catalonia is far north-eastern Spain, near Barcelona. Near the Mediterranean Sea and with strong French influences, this are is unique from other Spanish regions. Catalonia is home to the majority of Cava production.
  • Castilla y Leon is a vast region with many sub-regions. It is impossible to categorize the entire area, because production is so variant. Bierzo, bordering Galicia and Asturias, is home to Mencía, Grenache and Godello. While Ribera del Duero is home to iconic Tempranillo, where it grows with extreme climate of hot summers and cold winters.

Cuisine

Portugal’s traditional food is rustic, hearty and full of seafood. As with any country, there are many variations and regional differences. A rule of thumb, in Portugal expect lots of pork, rice, stews and octopus. Here are some common dishes.

  • Caldo Verde – green cabbage soup
  • Blood sausage
  • Bacalhau – infamous salted cod

Spain also has a strong seafood presence, with so much coastline and variety, this should come at no surprise. Both Portugal and Spain’s bars and eateries will have ample olives and almonds, usually enjoyed as pre-meal snacks. In addition to stews, sausages and peppers, and some of the best olive oil, you will find.

  • Saffron- seasoning your potatoes, paella and prawns
  • Paella – the dish that puts Valencia on the food map
  • Pisto – Spanish ratatouille

WineCollective featured a heavy selection of wines from Spain and Portugal this month. Visit the online shop to read more about these selections:

SPAIN

Viñaguareña Mazal Barrica 

Gran Bohedal Crianza

Gran Bohedal Blanco

PORTUGAL

Vidigal Artolas

Vidigal Dom Dinis

Cortes de Cima Courela

Monte da Ravasqueira Sangiovese

 

Use the coupon code PORTUGAL5 for $5 off your order of Portuguese wines!


Don’t leave your meat hanging…

Support it with wine!

Blog

Keep an eye out for your Charcuterie & Wine pairing card in August packs!

Charcuterie and wine can be a difficult pairing if you over think it. Though there is a wide variety of flavours and dishes, avoid trying to make a match for each meat. Opt for a Sparkling or a Rosé which will be best suited to almost everything on your cutting board.

Charcuterie is dominated by fats, spice and salt. These are all components that are important to think about when selecting a wine. High acid wines cut through the richness in fatty foods, which would otherwise leave your palate oily. Skip high alcohol wines with spicy foods, instead select wines that have more sweetness to balance the heat. Salty foods can make a wine seem flabby, another reason to look for wines with higher acid levels.
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With so much going on, on the plate keep the wines simple and light to medium bodied. You do not want your wine to fight for your attention. Your selection should help cleanse your palate and support your charcuterie.
KEY TIPS
  • Low alcohol wines
  • Pick red wines with lower tannins (Pinot).
  • Avoid wines heavily oaked wines.
  • No pickled acutrements (unless you are serving Sherry or Beer).
  • Not the time for your Shiraz or Napa Cabs.
  • Look for regional pairings: Spanish wine & Iberico ham.
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TRY THESE WINES
Fielding-Gewurztraminer-2012
Check out Carnivore Club for the best selection of cured meats, delivered!  Use the promo code WINECOLLECTIVE to get 15% off your first box.
Partnered with your WineCollective package, the combinations are endless! New to WineCollective? Give us a try! Receive $15 off your first purchase using the code: MEATANDWINE15

The Ultimate Father’s Day Gift – WINE & MEAT!

For Father’s Day this year, we have partnered with our friends at Carnivore Club to bring Dad the ultimate gift! Forget the ties or golf shirt, wine and meat is more up his alley…

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The duo gift includes a WineCollective package, featuring two bottles of red, exclusive wines as well as a custom WineCollective corkscrew. A Carnivore Club crate will also be shipped to your Dad, including 9 artisan crafted cured meats. The perfect pairing and only $98.49!*

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Father’s Day is Sunday, June 19th! Order by June 8th to guarantee delivery before June 17th.* Packages are available for purchase until June 18th.

For more information or examples on Carnivore Club, check out our WineCollective blog on the subscription service after we received our first shipment!

If you have any questions about our Father’s Day package, please contact us!

*Price does not include taxes or shipping.

*Carnivore Club package is shipped separately from Toronto, ON. Shipping times may vary.


Meet Liquidity Wines

You may have noticed a special Canadian wine in March WineCollective packages, Liquidity Chardonnay! Nestled in the Okanagan Falls, between Lake Vaseux and Skaha, the land where Liquidity Wines now sits has been supplying quality fruit for eighty years.

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In the 1930’s, Charlie Oliver developed Oliver Ranch where he planted over 110 acres of cherry, peach, apricot and pear trees. His development of irrigation systems still feed surrounding vineyards to this day. A pioneer in the Okanagan, it is said that in it’s day, Oliver Ranch was the largest orchard in the British Empire.

Oliver Ranch was divided and sold in 1971. Blue Mountain’s Ian Mavety farmed the property and a 30-acre portion, planted to German varietals, became today’s Liquidity Wines.

A subsequent owner built the Santa-Fe style home located on the property. Because it sat on a hilltop and was opened to panoramic views, it was frequently mistaken for a winery. In 2008, a group of business men and wine enthusiasts led by Ian MacDonald, renovated the Santa Fe house to a tasting room and Bistro, which was completed in 2013.

Liqu_inter Panorama

*Photos by Lionel Trudel

In addition, MacDonald and his team built a modern fully-equipped winery in time for the 2012 vintage, though in previous years, Liquidity made small volumes of their wines at another winery and sold their remaining fruit.

Through out the 90’s, all non-vinifera vines were replaced with current varietals, Viognier. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon on the 30-acre plot.

As the Okanagan Falls is the most narrow part of the valley, wind funnels through and cools the grapes. Erin Korpisto of Liquidity says because of this “the Okanagan Falls [are] usually 2 to 5 degrees cooler than Oliver and Osoyoos, making the area particularly known for its excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production.”

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10,000 years ago, glaciers covered the Okanagan landscape and deposited sand and gravel soils. These mineral rich soils are not only an ideal growing condition for the vines, but they also translate into the character of the wines. All Liquidity wines are estate grown and hand-harvested. Only sustainable viticultural practices are suitable for the two Liquidity vineyards.

“Here at Liquidity, there are three pillars: Wine, Food & Art.”

Wine

The Liquidity Chardonnay happens to be a favourite among staff and Liquidity fans. A few weeks ago, the wine received a Silver Medal at the Chardonnay du Monde competition in France.

The juice was racked to French oak barrels (20% new) to undergo fermentation. Partial malolactic fermentation followed and the wine was aged on lees, with stirring for 11 months.

“The 2013 Chardonnay is a bit more rounded and has more complexity than previous vintages. While still maintaining lovely acidity and fruit,” Erin says. “This vintage shows the health of the vineyard beginning to flourish and the vines really coming into their own.”

Chard 2013

Food

Liquidity’s Bistro is a modern, Okanagan and Pacific North West inspired restaurant that not only uses fresh local produce, but also ingredients from the chef’s own garden. Only open seasonally, the food at Bistro is simple, clean and fresh.

As the second pillar of Liquidity, Erin stresses the importance and relationship between food and wine. For the 2013 Chardonnay, she recommends Bistros’s Oliver Road 17 Char with Smokey Puttanesca Butter, Roe, Ancient Grain “Risotto” and Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette.

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Art

From the very beginning, Ian MacDonald had always been passionate about art, design and the conversations that they begin. Around Liquidity’s grounds are various pieces of work that belong to Liquidity and Ian’s own personal collection. You can find descriptions of all the pieces at Liquidity on their website.

From July through October, on the 2nd Saturday of each month, Liquidity will be hosting their second annual Artist Lecture Series, featuring many Canadian artists such as Bobbie Burgers, Jeff Burgess and David Burdney.

As always, we encourage our members to head out to Canadian wine regions, including the Okanagan Falls! Liquidity Wines would love to have to visit their tasting room, Bistro and inviting, art filled, grounds.

Visit Liquidity Wines and give them a follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for information on upcoming events at the winery, and let us know how you enjoyed the 2013 Liquidity Chardonnay.

Stay tuned for more Liquidity Wines!

Rate, comment and buy more on the members only, online store!


Welcoming Chastity to WineCollective

Over the last few weeks, you may have spoken to or heard from the new gem of WineCollective, Chastity!

ChastityRegier

Working in the Calgary wine industry for eight years, Chastity knows her way around a bottle and so we are very excited to have her as our Customer Relations Assistant!

Chastity’s energetic and contagious positive attitude, along with wine knowledge in her back pocket, makes her a great addition to the WineCollective and Highfield team. To top it off, she’s practically a chef and invites you to check out her many creations (and pairings!) via Instagram, @mncanadian

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Favourite Wines: “Old world wines. Anything from France, Italy and Spain.”

Current underrated varietal: “Riesling. There is a lot more to it!”

Chastity can’t wait to meet our members! Come welcome Chastity to WineCollective with an in store tasting of Nathalie Bonhomme wines at Highfield on Friday March 18th from 4-7.


Cheating on wine, with beer

Continuing to compare the similarities between beer and wine, we use some of the same framework when evaluating the style and quality. Appearance, aroma, body and finish all translate from wine to beer.

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With tasting beer, there is greater emphasis on the body and taste, less on colour and aroma. So, when you enjoy a brew, do you think about it the same way you might with a glass of wine?

If you always find yourself cracking open a Pilsner, what wine would suit your tastes? Or if you can’t get enough of Zinfandel, which beer style would you be equally enchanted with? WineCollective has taken key descriptors of beer styles and matched them to a corresponding wine.

lager-glass

Lager = Pinot Grigio

Lager is a wide net that catches many different sub-categories. From an American light Lager (Coors and Kokanee) to Dark Lagers and Kolsch. Generally, medium to light bodied, with little malt aromas, neutral flavours and low bitterness (IBU). Think of the addition of stronger malt flavours as a more complex, barrel-fermented Pinot Gris.

Sours = Sparkling

Sours generally are light bodied, have low bitterness, moderate alcohol, and higher carbonation. Flavours range through dough, from the malt, and lemon to tart apple. Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and Cremant all offer the similar balance between acidity and sugars. Pair your Sours with the same sparkling pairings, like salty foods, shellfish and fried foods.

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Porter = Tempranillo

Porters are medium to full bodied with strong dark malts, sometimes with a slight burnt quality. Chocolate, coffee and grain, with a off-dry finish. Tempranillo from Toro or Rioja, where Reservas are aged in oak will give high alchohol and chewy weight.

Wheat = Chardonnay

A German Wheat beer has high carbonation and a dry finish. Expect a round, fluffy mouth-feel and medium/light body. Absence of bittering hops gives the perception of  ‘sweetness’. The minimum 50% malted wheat and yeast used give flavours of clove and banana. This style will be best replicated in a barrel-fermented Chardonnay, with a plush body and vanilla oak notes.

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Stout = Amarone

Made with dried grapes, produces high alchohol, rich bodied wines. Stouts will range between 8-12% abv and are full to very full bodied. The flavours indicative of Imperial Stout can often include roasted malt, tar and dried fruits like prune and raisin. The finish ranges from dry to moderately sweet.

Ale = Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon

Like the Lager, Ale is a wide category with many sub-styles based on the ingredients and origins. An American Brown Ale is a balance of solid malt and hops with chocolate and caramel flavours. We think that a refined and aged blend of Cab and Merlot also offers the richness and toasted/nutty notes of oak.

IPA

IPA = Syrah

IPAs are distinguished by the strong bitterness. The hoppy bitterness of a standard American IPA ranges from 40-70 IBU (your palate can’t identify bitter units past 100). We wouldn’t classify wines by bitterness, but instead we will partner IPA with wines with equally bold characteristics in tannin, spice and body. Syrah, Aglianico or even Pinotage.

What is your go-to beer and favourite wine? Let’s see if we can find some correlation in our palates. Leave your comments below!

Interested in exploring Craft Beer even more? Don’t forget to check out Canada Craft Club!


A Christmas Treat: Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Warm, cozy hot chocolate with a boozy touch. YUM! Enjoy this Wine-O Hot Chocolate recipe with (adult) friends & family over the holidays!
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Ingredients – Recipe by Cassie Johnston
  • ⅔ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ⅔ cup dry red wine (see below for our recommendations)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, optional (see notes)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
How to:
  1. Combine the chocolate chips, wine, milk, half, and half and sugar* in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is hot.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour into mugs and serve.
* If you’ll need to use the sugar or not will depend on the sweetness of your wine. If you’re using a very dry wine, you’ll want to add in the sugar. It’s best to take a sip without the sugar, and then add it in if need be.
Which wine do I use?
The 60 North Merlot, with touches of Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah, Zinfandel and Malbec is a balance of fruity and savoury. Bright and fresh without overdone acidity will really blend into the chocolate with added spice and sweetness.
60-North-Merlot
Empordàlia Verdera Negre is a blend of Grenache and Carignan. The emphasis on tart berries, spice and even hints of cocoa will compliment the rich chocolate flavours and limit the use of added sugar.
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Witt’s End, Luna Shiraz is a slightly older WineCollective feature but is always kept in stock due to its popularity. From McLaren Vale, Australia, you can expect along the lines of a rich fruit bomb with oaky spice. What makes this great for your hot cocoa, is the silky mouthfeel and balanced tannins and acidity.
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Undurraga U is entirely Cabernet Sauvignon, which is well known for its love affair with chocolate. The Chilean wine is youthful and vibrant, and sees no oak. It’s dark berry and chocolate spice characteristics are a bonus.
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If you’ve already consumed these wines without any left in your cellar, we recommend sticking to Merlot, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz based wines for your hot chocolate.
For last minute shoppers, remember that WineCollective Holiday Wine Experience Packages are still available until Dec 31st. We’d like to wish all of our members a very Happy Holiday Season, with great food, friends & wine! Cheers!

What wine to pair with wild Stampede food

It is Calgary’s favourite time of the year again, Stampede! Along with the boots and cowboy hats, us Calgarians are also used to seeing some adventurous food and treats on the midway.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetGlazed donut grilled cheese, via The Big Cheese. 

Each year, vendors release some delicious, or disturbing, menu items. Last year’s scorpion pizza or the mini donut poutine, we can only imagine how the wrong beverage pairing could off throw these gutsy food combos. This year, after picking up some yummy (hopefully) grub, head to the beer gardens or the Western Oasis, wine garden for the perfect Cabernet, cowboy.

Better yet, try these recipes out for yourself with the best match from the WineCollective store!

GLAZED DONUT GRILLED CHEESE

A single glazed donut stuffed with the exceptional string cheese!

The creamy cheese and sweetness calls for sparkling and specifically, the vibrant bubbles and fruity character of Prosecco!

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Terre di San Venanzio Fortunato 

Club price: $17.99

With plenty of sweet ripe fruit (melons, apricot and pear) the sweetness of the donut glaze will be matched. White flowers and bountiful acidity will cut through the cheesy goop. With textured bubbles, your palate is left cleansed and refreshed!

DRAGON DOG

At $100, this is the most expensive hotdog in the world according to Guinness Book of Records! Kobe beef, cooked in truffle oil with lobster tail, garlic, truffles and ricotta cheese.

Grain-fed Kobe beef* needs a wine with earthy quality and balanced tannins. Combined with lobster, truffles and ricotta cheese a versatile wine is a must with fruity nuances and just enough structure.

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Costers del Priorat Elios

Club price: $20.50

A $100 hot dog deserves the fanciest Stampede dinner possible. Fortunately, you can find this blend of Grenache, Cab Sauv, Syrah and Carignan at the Western Oasis! Juicy fruits and soft tannins won’t overwhelm this combo of foods and texture.

MAPLE BACON BOX

Maple + bacon = every Canadian’s dream! Add noodles and chicken and you’re on top of the ferris wheel!

High acidity is needed to break through the salty fats, so we would definitely recommend a refreshing rosé! For a sneak peak into July’s package, check out the…

Domaine-du-Savard-Cheverny-Rose

Domaine du Salvard Rosé $20.49

Made with Pinot Noir, the rosé is full of bright red fruits, peaches and minerality with big but balanced acidity. Not overly sweet, this dry example will stand up to the bacon and chicken as well all while matching the sweet maple!

 

Check out the WineCollective store for any of the wines listed, or others similar to for delicious pairings to wild Stampede fare.

If you find something strange or tasty on the grounds and are eager for a wine pairing, share with us on social media! Chances are we’ll be two-stepping somewhere near by and are willing to take on the challenge!

 

* For the best wine pairings for particular cuts of beef, check out our Cuts & Cabernet blog!