The things we do in isolation! I re-organized my kitchen, cleaned off my desk, and started experimenting more with cooking. I still like to read the paper although I have had enough of COVID, that seems to be all we had and now we can add riots to that.  On April 4th in the Toronto Star Life Section, Carolyn Evans Hammond provided “Some Good News for Self Isolating Ontario Wine Drinkers.”  Not once in the article was there a mention of Coronavirus or COVID-19.  No wonder I read it thoroughly. Not only did I read, but for the first time ever I bought a case of wine on-line.

I think there are a lot of people who enjoy and look forward to Carolyn’s weekly wine reviews. The sales of the Dandurand Discovery Crate probably caught the distributor Phillipe Dandurand off guard. Delivery took almost 3 weeks and one of the bottles had to be substituted.  I was not about to run out of wine anytime soon so the delivery time did not matter to me.

In the Discovery Crate there was two of each, a rather broad spectrum of Carolyn’s favorites. Some of which I would normally never consider buying. But then what is normal anymore? It was different for me, enjoyable, and eye opening (mind opening for that matter!).

First out of the crate for me was a bright, dry and delicate, yet sophisticated and cheerful Italian white. Ca Maiol provides a very impressive bottle for it’s Lugana, showing pride to what’s inside.  Somewhere in between a Chardonnay and a Pinot Grigio in my mind. I can see myself sipping this after a round of golf on a hot summer day! Please bring on those hot summer days! For this time, I had mine with a blackened trout dinner.

Ca Maiol Lugana DOP 2018: $19.95, Lombardy, Italy

What Carolyn says: Crisp and clean, I just love the wet stone and sea spray aromas that immediately take you away.  Then the elegant entry tastes cool opening with allusions of sliced apple, ocean breezes and fresh linens before tapering to a slated almond finish.  This is a dry, delicate wine that’s subtle yet focused.  Great buy, Score 92

Unfortunately, in Ontario it is only available through the distributor Phillipe Dandurand.

Missing my bubbles, cuz it’s just not that much fun to have bubbles on your own. Low and behold the cheapy of the crate at under $10 Riunite Lambrusco Frizzante from Italy. The Frizzante gave it away for me and at 10 bucks what the heck!  It was sweet and did the trick on the bubbles side. Who would have known that this has been popular throughout America for over 50 years? Had a couple of glasses with some pizza one night and then had a glass each of the next two afternoons on the deck. Yes, a Saturday and a Sunday!

NV Riunite Lambrusco $9.95, Emilia, Italy

What Carolyn says: Should you fancy something light, sweet and bit bubbly there’s Riunite Lambrusco.  Popular in the USA for over 50 years and only recently released in Ontario.  Each sip delivers a clean, bright hit of juicy red berry and poached plum goodness. Serve this bottle of unpretentious pleasure cold with pizza or spicy charcuterie. It’s also a great gateway wine for those who may like the idea of drinking red wine but have always found it a bit too dry, astringent or bitter. Score: 89

Time to get serious now, a new Bolognese recipe, pasta on my mind and we just so happened to have a very nice solid Chianti Classico to explore!  From the Frescobaldi Family of Wines Tenuta Perano 2016 Chianti Classico I would rank as good a Chianti as I have ever had. As full bodied as you can get, might I be as bold as to compare to Amaraone?  Perfect for my pasta dinner but would be enjoyable with red meats too!

Tenuta Perano Chianti Classico 2015: $24.95, Italy

Believe it or not Carolyn has yet to review this wine so we turn to the LCBO and the expert opinion of James Suckling:  This shows real freshness and character with crushed stones, blackberry pie, vanilla and tobacco in addition to the lemon undertones. The palate shows lots of depth but also really excellent balance. Full body, structured tannins and acidity that really drives this through to the chewy finish. Drink in 2020. Score – 93.

Time for a new adventure, Bieler Pere & Fils “Sabine” Rose from Aix-en-Provence in France.  A nice salmon colored blend that presents a light and refreshing mouthful of flavours that went perfectly with my tuna steak. A perfect example of a wine that I would never just pick on a wine research project!  LOL

Bieler Pere et Fils “Sabine” Rose 2018: $18.95, France

What the Carolyn says:  A wine that calls to mind sipping in the sunshine along the French Riviera.  This blend of Grenache and Syrah seasoned with Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rolle shines pale salmon in the glass with rose gold inflections—so pretty. Then, it draws you in with subtle scents of apricot, red currant and almond nougat. The attack is immediately refreshing with a brisk yet polished swirl of complexity. Understated flavours flit from red berries and apricot to citrus and stones etched with a touch of dried herb, crushed nut and nougat. Such a breezy, quietly sophisticated wine. Terrific value. Score: 92

As much as I love my Amarone with red meat on an any day steak night my go to wine is Cabernet Sauvignon, and it was just that time.  Back into the crate we go!  Montevina Independence Point 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon provided the accompaniment I was looking for. Dark and rick in both colour and flavour, silky smooth to the finish. What more could you ask for?

Montevina “IndependancePoint” Cabernet Sauvignon 2016: $18.95

What Carolyn says: It exudes heady aromas of muddled wild blueberries, plum purée and a drizzle of dark chocolate. Then a cashmere crush of crushed blueberries, blackcurrant and black cherries saturate the palate before burnt sugar, crushed hazelnut, freshly turned earth, black pepper, cocoa and cola notes emerge. Though this wine is certainly rich, bold and hedonistic, it’s also balanced with enough lift and mouth-watering acidity for supreme drinkability. Score: 90

Montevina “Omira Hills” Chardonnay 2017: $17.95, California

And last out of the crate… Montevina Chardonnay, rich and smooth with very pleasant aromas and flavours.

What Carolyn says: a creamy wooded white with sunshine in every sip. Scents of lemon curd and apple tart lead to more of the same on the palate. Then, the glossy fruit centre shifts to reveal nuances of crushed salt, vanilla, baked apple, nutmeg and a twist of lime zest that lingers. This is a silky, satisfying Chardonnay at a reasonable price. Score: 90

If you must be in “Isolation” it is much more palatable with good food and good wine! Cheers…….