5 Maverick Wines to Ring in Spring

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- Christine McFarlane and Klaire McCallum

Spring is all about shedding off the layers of winter and emerging to greet new experience and opportunities. In the spirit of this, here are five suggestions for maverick wines to help you break out of your vinous cocoon and open your wine wings wide (or just crush rosé, because that works too!).

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Paltrinieri “Radice” Sparkling Rose - Emilia-Romagna, Italy - $28

Lambrusco has made a huge comeback this year, and this is one of our absolute favourites. While those seeking out Lambrusco typically think of a deep red sparkling wine, the Radice goes back to Lambrusco’s centuries old radice, or roots, and is a much lighter, more primal style.  The Romans were the first to make Lambrusco, calling it Labrusca, (which essentially means wild) because of the more unruly production techniques used, the uncultivated vines and the wines wild, rustic flavour.  The Radice is made with a grape called Lambrusco di Sorbara, using the old-school production method now known as method ancestral (or Petillant Naturel in France). This salmon-hued sparkler explodes with zippy acidity, fresh red berries, wild roses and grapefruit peel.  The perfect wine for your next picnic, bottle cap and all!

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Huber Zweigelt Rose - Traisental, Austria - $24

This dry rosé is made from a lesser-known grape variety called Zweigelt. Pronounced TSVYE-gelt, this relatively new varietal tastes and smells as exotic as it sounds.  It’s spicy, floral notes help Zweigelt stand out from the crowd, while it’s fresh style makes it a good option for those of us that love a vibrant Pinot Noir.  This rose has a slightly creamy texture and smells of freshly cut grass, honey blossom and red berries. An interesting alternative to the classic rosés from Provence, and the perfect pairing for a turkey sandwich or a juicy chicken burger.

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BK Skin N’ Bones White - Adelaide Hills, Australia - $35

This quirky yet thirst quenching white is far from your typical happy hour tipple.  It is made from a grape called Savagnin, which is most commonly found in the alpine region of the Jura in France. BK’s version is aromatic, savoury, and slightly salty with notes of bruised stone fruit, citrus and dried grapefruit peel.  The Skin n’ Bones takes its name from the extended skin contact used during fermentation which helps add body, texture, and a slight savoury element. Try it with a selection of cheese on the deck once you’re finally able to bring your patio set out of hibernation.

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Pra’ “Morandina” Valpolicella - Veneto,Italy - $29.50

You may have forgotten about Valpolicella after your love affair crashed and burned in the 90s, but it might just be time to rekindle your romance.  Pra’ Valpolicella is made with 3 lesser known grape varieties typical to this region: Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella. Bursting with concentrated fruit, this little seductress tastes like the juice of freshly picked raspberries and cherries.  The perfect bottle to share with your spring fling! Serve this red lightly chilled to help accentuate the freshness.

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Broc Cellars Love Red - Green Valley, California - $34

BBQ season is back and this is going to be one of our go-to pairings this year.  Broc Cellars main focus is to let the true character of their grapes shine through. They achieve this in part by using solely biodynamic practices, completely pesticide free and following the rigorous protocol required. The Love Red is sourced from 50-70 year old vines and is a unique field blend of Carignan, Syrah and Valdiguie (aka Napa Gamay).  Soft and silky, the Love Red shows red currants, sour plums, and spring cherry blossoms. This is a perfect patio red that lives up to its name, perfect for a romantic evening or a Bobby Flay worthy grill session.