July 24, 2017

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Looking forward to the fall

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/9/2016 (324 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

As fall creeps closer, it’s not unusual to see some of the more summery wine, beer and coolers at Liquor Marts, private wine stores and beer vendors make their exit for the year. As they leave, new products make their way to the province — or, as we’re seeing with the beer boom, finally hit store shelves to the delight of thirsty Manitobans.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t have a go at a new locally made craft beer now on tap in the market, albeit in limited quantities and locations.

Before the <strong>Vina Laguna 2015 Terra Rossa</strong> (Croatia — $16.99, Liquor Marts and beyond), I’m not sure I’d tasted a wine from an eastern European nation. Other than maybe for a Folklorama special order, I’m not even certain there’s been one in the local market before. This one’s a red blend of 50 per cent Merlot, 30 per cent Teran and 20 per cent Blaufrankisch, offering iron, plum, blueberry, blackberry and leather aromas. On the medium-plus bodied palate, there’s some nice ripe dark fruit as well as some black tea and white pepper notes that bring some structure and tannin. This rustic, earthy red is certainly a nice introduction to Croatian wines (there’s also a white available). 3.5/5</p></p></p>

Before the Vina Laguna 2015 Terra Rossa (Croatia — $16.99, Liquor Marts and beyond), I’m not sure I’d tasted a wine from an eastern European nation. Other than maybe for a Folklorama special order, I’m not even certain there’s been one in the local market before. This one’s a red blend of 50 per cent Merlot, 30 per cent Teran and 20 per cent Blaufrankisch, offering iron, plum, blueberry, blackberry and leather aromas. On the medium-plus bodied palate, there’s some nice ripe dark fruit as well as some black tea and white pepper notes that bring some structure and tannin. This rustic, earthy red is certainly a nice introduction to Croatian wines (there’s also a white available). 3.5/5

There must be something in Victoria’s water that makes the city’s beers so darn tasty. Everything I’ve tried from Driftwood has been just great, and now there’s the <strong>Category 12 Brewing Co. Critical Point Pale Ale</strong> (Victoria — $6.50/650-ml bottle, Liquor Marts and select beer vendors) in the Winnipeg market. Medium copper in colour and slightly cloudy, this American-style ale uses Cascade and Falconer’s Flight hops. On the nose, there’s a fair amount of rich malty notes, although the herbal, spicy hops are certainly in the mix as well. The medium-bodied palate brings the hops out in greater force, with some lacquer and pine notes out front as well as toasty malt, herbal and citrus notes. It’s an exciting, vibrant pale ale. 4/5</p></p></p>

There must be something in Victoria’s water that makes the city’s beers so darn tasty. Everything I’ve tried from Driftwood has been just great, and now there’s the Category 12 Brewing Co. Critical Point Pale Ale (Victoria — $6.50/650-ml bottle, Liquor Marts and select beer vendors) in the Winnipeg market. Medium copper in colour and slightly cloudy, this American-style ale uses Cascade and Falconer’s Flight hops. On the nose, there’s a fair amount of rich malty notes, although the herbal, spicy hops are certainly in the mix as well. The medium-bodied palate brings the hops out in greater force, with some lacquer and pine notes out front as well as toasty malt, herbal and citrus notes. It’s an exciting, vibrant pale ale. 4/5

Kelowna-based Tantalus Vineyards has long set the bar for cooler-climate B.C. wines, and I couldn’t be more pleased to see the winery back in the Winnipeg market. The <strong>Tantalus 2015 Riesling </strong>(Okanagan Valley, B.C. — $21.97, Liquor Marts and beyond) offers complex lemon, green apple, lime as well as modest herbal, spice and chalky aromas. On the dry, light-bodied but incredibly vibrant palate, the green apple, lime, chalky, grapefruit and sour lemon notes come with medium acidity, making this a remarkable food-friendly white. The best B.C. Riesling I’ve tasted in a long time. 4.5/5</p></p></p>

Kelowna-based Tantalus Vineyards has long set the bar for cooler-climate B.C. wines, and I couldn’t be more pleased to see the winery back in the Winnipeg market. The Tantalus 2015 Riesling (Okanagan Valley, B.C. — $21.97, Liquor Marts and beyond) offers complex lemon, green apple, lime as well as modest herbal, spice and chalky aromas. On the dry, light-bodied but incredibly vibrant palate, the green apple, lime, chalky, grapefruit and sour lemon notes come with medium acidity, making this a remarkable food-friendly white. The best B.C. Riesling I’ve tasted in a long time. 4.5/5

There’s a new celeb with his name on a beer, and this time around it’s Saskatchewan golfer Graham DeLaet. The <strong>Bomber Brewing Co. Prairie Baard Golden Ale</strong> (Vancouver — $2.30/355-ml can, Liquor Marts and beer vendors) is labelled as being “blue-collar craft” — a new-to-me term. It’s pale gold in colour and slightly hazy, with medium resinous hops working well with toasted malt, floral and grapefruit notes aromatically. On the crisp, light-bodied palate, the hops are sharp, but there’s a slight lack body-wise that keeps this brew lean but a touch one-dimensional. Still, it’s a good value for the price. 3/5</p></p>

There’s a new celeb with his name on a beer, and this time around it’s Saskatchewan golfer Graham DeLaet. The Bomber Brewing Co. Prairie Baard Golden Ale (Vancouver — $2.30/355-ml can, Liquor Marts and beer vendors) is labelled as being “blue-collar craft” — a new-to-me term. It’s pale gold in colour and slightly hazy, with medium resinous hops working well with toasted malt, floral and grapefruit notes aromatically. On the crisp, light-bodied palate, the hops are sharp, but there’s a slight lack body-wise that keeps this brew lean but a touch one-dimensional. Still, it’s a good value for the price. 3/5

If you think all wines from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal are light, spritzy and simple, think again. The <strong>Quinta da Lixa 2014 Pouco Comum Alvarinho</strong> (Minho, Portugal — around $17, private wine stores) is made from the Alvarinho grape, one of the primary grapes used in Portuguese Vinho Verde, but in this incarnation is medium-gold in colour, with floral, lime, herbal and grapefruit notes. On the intense but light-bodied palate, the lime and grapefruit rind flavours, as well as green apple notes, sing in great harmony — it’s racy, fresh and just a bit tart in all the right ways. 4/5</p></p></p>

If you think all wines from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal are light, spritzy and simple, think again. The Quinta da Lixa 2014 Pouco Comum Alvarinho (Minho, Portugal — around $17, private wine stores) is made from the Alvarinho grape, one of the primary grapes used in Portuguese Vinho Verde, but in this incarnation is medium-gold in colour, with floral, lime, herbal and grapefruit notes. On the intense but light-bodied palate, the lime and grapefruit rind flavours, as well as green apple notes, sing in great harmony — it’s racy, fresh and just a bit tart in all the right ways. 4/5

The Torque Brewing Witty Belgian Wit (Winnipeg — $7.83/846-ml howler) is one of three new beers available from the brewery or at the Quality Inn beer vendor growler bar (Pembina Highway at Grant Avenue) and on a few taps at pubs (the King’s Head, Barley Brothers, the Common at The Forks Market and a couple others at press time). The Witty Belgian is medium gold in colour and slightly cloudy, with intense spice, wheat and toasted malt notes on the nose. This Belgian-style brew is dry and somewhat creamy on the palate, with spice as well as citrus peel notes adding depth. Very good stuff; keep an eye out for Torque’s Redline IPA and Diesel Fitter Stout, which are out as well. Cans of all three are also coming soon. 4/5

uncorked@mts.netTwitter: @bensigurdson

 

Read more by Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson .

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