Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany

Monday, May 04, 2009

VQA standards at the Olympics - FINALLY

So Vincor and the Olympic committee have finally seen the light, and will be producing 100% VQA wines for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. (Read the full article by Monique Beech on the St Catherines Standard site.)

As I mentioned in my previous entry on the subject, I just don't get what's so difficult about producing 100% VQA wines. At the end of some past harvests, grapes were left to rot because there weren't any buyers. Now Vincor's saying there aren't enough grapes? Try picking something other than Shiraz or Sauvignon Blanc. What about baco noir or marechal foch? These two red hybrids would be a perfect showpiece on the international stage, with their reputation for being true "Canadian varietals": early-ripening and cold-hardy, tough enough to get through our long, cold winters.

With the Okanagan right next door, Vancouver would be remiss not to highlight Canada's stellar wine industry while the world is watching the Olympics. So I'm glad to see Vincor is changing its collective tune.

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Speaking of Canadian wines, I had a few noteworthy glasses recently:

Lotusland Girlsrmeaner (Abbotsford, BC): If I was picking wines based solely on names, I'd have at least a case worth of this stuff in my cellar. Love their word play on "gewurztraminer", love the fragrant, luscious wine even more. Organic, with lots of rich fruit, light-to-medium bodied, sweet but not overwhelmingly so.

Canoe Cove Shiraz (Langley, BC): I don't think I've ever tried a Canadian Shiraz. I keep forgetting there's this part of British Columbia that is practically desert, perfect growing condition for such heat-loving varietals. This one could stand up easily with its Aussie cousins: arresting, fruit-forward presence, balanced tannins and exquisitely long, plush finish. Serve that one up with some big meats: steak, venison, bison burgers ... yum.

Strewn 2007 Riesling-Gewurztraminer (Niagara): This is one of the "essentials" chez nous. Lovely floral and melon on the nose, sweet tropical fruit flavours, refreshing acidity, medium-bodied with a finish that is clean and smooth. We had it last night with Korean BBQ'd pork tenderloin and spicy grilled veg, and it was *perfect*. Would be great with spicy Thai anything, or a sweet-n-hot stir fry. I recommended this to a colleague who was hosting an Indian-themed dinner party last year; it was such a hit, she added it to her own list of wine essentials.

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