Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Fall is zooming by and seasons are changing before our very eyes. A hearty meal with good friends and family feels especially necessary as we look out our windows and seem to be living in the heart of winter!
We’ve pulled together a small list of wines we think are sure to be hits at your festive celebrations this coming weekend. Whether you’re pairing with the traditional fare of turkey and all the fixings, ordering in, or are eschewing indulgent meals all together, these wines are extremely tasty options to sip on as we enjoy what is left of autumn.
K.H. Schneider Sparkling Riesling 2018 - $38.50
K.H. Schneider is a german producer located in the Nahe region. The winery is a 3rd generation estate in Sobernheim on the Nahe River. Andi Schneider is the current head of the estate. The Schneiders have owned vineyards in Sobernheim for multiple generations, but it was only in the 1950s that Karlheinz (K.H.), Andi’s grandfather, started a winery. Prior to that they were grape farmers for several wineries in the area. Andi’s father Berndt was in charge until around 2007, and although he made some lovely wines, it was Andi who really pushed for quality. He converted the vineyards to organics, and fermented spontaneously.
One of Andi’s great talents is to make bubbles. The Schneider bubbles are very much unlike his other wines – while his Rieslings are taut, wound-up, and bursting with a sort-of screaming anger, his bubbles are opulent, rich, and luxuriant. Secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle, and the wines are hand-riddled with a long time spent on the lees before disgorgement. The end result is sophisticated, suave, Champagne-like bubbles. This is a perfect, and fun, alternative to Champagne; with ample acidity to cut the richness of turkey, gravy, and butter smothered vegetables, yet all the opulence to stand up to such indulgent nosh, this pairing will both delight and refresh!
Ransom Cattrall Vineyard Pinot Gris 2018 - $27
Tad Seestedt, Ransom’s purveyor, started a small brandy, grappa, and eau de vie company back in 1997, which since has blossomed into a source of great wine and distinctive spirits from Oregon. Ransom’s farm is nestled in Oregon’s Coastal Mountain Range in the Willamette Valley. In 2008 Tad and his team acquired a farm outside of Sheridan, Oregon where they grow barley and have planted vines, both of which are certified organic. We have long been fans and supporters of Ransom Vineyards, bringing the wines in exclusively for our shelves. While Pinot Noir is generally the calling card for Willamette wine, the Pinot Gris coming from this region definitely has the potential to be a showstopper.
The Pinot Gris for Ransom’s Cattrall Vineyard Pinot Gris comes from a single vineyard plot of own-rooted old vines that are known for showing great terroir and density of flavour. After a long, cool fermentation so to preserve aromas, the wine is aged for 40 days sur lie, adding texture and complexity to the wine. With lovely texture and great acidity, this wine is a natural pairing for a wide variety of foods. It has fresh, but lush flavours of ripe pear and puff pastry.
Pandolfa Ginevra Rubicone IGT Rosato 2018 - $22.75
Located in Emilia Romagna, the history of the land Pandolfa’s estate sits on is long, dating back to the 1400s. “Pandolfa” is believed to refer to Pandolfa Malatesta, a lord who used the estate as a headquarters for his troops. In 1941 the estate was taken over by Giuseppe Ricci, but unfortunately WWII did not bring good tidings to the estate, as it was occupied by Germans. After the war, however, the estate began to flourish; Giuseppe converted the estate back to farming and began planting grapes. His Daughter, Noelia Ricci, understood the wine potential of the region and built a winery. Since then the family has owned the estate and produced excellent quality wines.
As you can see, the label of this rosé hearkens back to renaissance era art. The Ginevra Rosato shows Pandolfa’s first wife on its label painted in a style that merges Italian renaissance art and 1950s inspired modernism. This rosato is made of 100% Sangiovese, a grape variety that might not be the first grape you think of in the production of rosé, but that certainly makes wonderfully high quality, balanced styles of pink wine. This Sangiovese Rosato is produced using a short 6 hour maceration before pressing, and a low temperature fermentation that preserves the fresh qualities of the wine. The resulting wine is pale peach in colour, dry, with a great backbone of acidity, which is a hallmark of Sangiovese-based rosato. This notable acidity is what makes this wine so special. Not only is the wine lithe, with mellow red cherry and pretty blossom notes, but it also has a remarkable structure that allows this wine to serve as a wonderful food pairing. Drink this lovely wine as your aperitif, with the main course, or on its own. It won’t disappoint.
Peter Wetzer Kekfrankos 2018 - $36
Peter Wetzer hearlds from a winemaking family in Hungary. He produces wine from tiny plots of vines in the Sopron region of Hungary, which borders Austria. With a diverse terroir, including ancient volcanic soils, rugged winds form the Pannonian Plains, and influence from the Neusiedlersee lake, this area of Hungary is as beautiful as it is filled with miniscule microclimates that can make distinct terroir-driven wines. Wetzer is committed to making wine produced in the most natural of fashions. He practices organic viticulture and uses cover crops instead of fertilizer. In his tiny cellar, he does everything by hand, making small batches of delicious wine that we are so lucky to get our hands on in Alberta.
Kekfrankos, known as Blaufrankish in Austria, is a relatively unknown, and thus, underrated grape variety. It can make wine of extremely high quality, that is serious, brooding, and ridiculously complex. It is a pity we don’t have more opportunities to drink Kekfrankos because it can be on par with some of the most interesting wines when produced with care. Wetzer’s Kekfrankos is sourced from several tiny vineyards near the Austrian border from vines that are 20-30 years old. The wines are destremmed and fermented in open top vats for about 20 days. The wine is then aged in large old barrels. The wine is neither fined nor filtered before bottling, when just touch of sulfur is used to preserve the wine. The resulting wine has great depth of character; it is serious but not dour. There is a boisterous presence of black cherry driven fruit that is backed by intense herbal and peppered notes. Along with this intensity, there is a pretty violet florality that lifts the wine. This wine is a perfect pairing for the intense flavours for a turkey dinner. With enough oomph to stand up to heart poultry like turkey, and inherent savoury notes, this is the perfect autumnal wine.
BK Wines Carbonic Pinot Noir 2019 - $32
Brendon and Kirstyn Keys established their Adelaide Hills winery in 2007 after learning from winemaking masters around the globe. With the idea of wine making as an artistic expression in mind, BK Wines focuses on making subtly nuanced wines from the best quality fruit, with a minimalistic approach in the cellar. Fruit is sourced from tiny vineyards that express the unique characteristics inherent to those particular plots of vines and where Brendon can have great control over how the grapes are grown. BK’s wines are the perfect alignment of minimal intervention & maximum quality. Every year, we are so excited to receive our allocation of these fun wines. For the second time ever, we got our hands on BK’s Carbonic Pinot Noir, and we couldn’t be more pleased about this fresh, vibrant wine.
Carbonic Maceration is a technique that is generally associated with Beaujolais. It is when whole berries are sealed in a closed vat which is filled with C02. In the absence of oxygen and yeast, enzymes are released that causes intracellular fermentation, which occurs within the grape berries themselves. Eventually the process bursts the berries and the juice will stop fermenting in this unique way. At this point the wine will be fermented using traditional techniques, involving yeast, sugar, and oxygen. What is special about wines made by Carbonic Maceration is that they retain a freshness beyond what can be achieved in traditionally fermented wine. Vivacious berry flavours mingle with fruit gum and the unique herbal character that is traditional to Pinot Noir, but seems to be amplified and enlivened by this method of production. Pair this with sage-heavy stuffing and cranberry sauce.