Nothing goes together like beer and football. But the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, bless 'em, have decided that wine deserves its fair shake as well.
The club has enlisted Ontario's Strewn winery to produce wines under special labels for the Bombers, and I had a chance to taste a couple of the wines a few weeks ago (they were also being sampled for fans at the two recent home games).
The Bin 1930 white is a Sauvignon Blanc-Riesling blend, and the latter grape brings just a touch of sweetness to this light-bodied, crisp wine.
The Bin 1930 red, meanwhile, is a Cabernet-Merlot combo. It's medium-bodied, with a good balance of ripe dark fruit, some chocolate notes and a light bell pepper note in there, which isn't uncommon for Ontario red blends. The "Cabernet" in Cabernet-Merlot often includes both Cabernet Franc as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, and the former grape often displays slightly herbal/bell pepper-ish notes.
Both the Bin 1930 wines -- named for the year the team was founded -- sell for $14.99, and are slated to be available at Manitoba Liquor Marts as well as at Investors Group Field during games.
The Blue and Gold also have a Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon coming from Strewn that will retail for $18.99, and a premium red is expected somewhere down the road.
Now, if only fans could get some locally made beer at Investors Group Field...
Our "spring" (if you can call it that) and early summer were anything but pleasant, with rain falling daily and crops and properties across the province threatened by excess water.
We're not alone. Producers in France's Burgundy region have been having problems of their own, with golf-ball sized hail wreaking havoc in the region.
In just five minutes, over 3,000 hectares of vines were destroyed by hail, including plants in top sub-regions such as Volnay, Pommard, Mersault and Beaune.
According to Decanter magazine, dozens of "tube-like generators" were placed every 10 kilometres or so, and were to shoot silver iodide and copper acetylacetone into the air to stop the formation of hailstones. It didn't work.
This isn't the first time in recent history that Burgundy vineyards have been ravaged by hail; on July 23 of last year, a similarly damaging storm hit the region, while 2012 saw both Beaune and Volnay ravaged by hail as well.
Speaking of Decanter magazine, for the first time, a Canadian icewine has taken home an international trophy at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards. The Inniskillin 2012 Vidal icewine from Ontario picked up the top honours for the "best sweet wine over £15" category.
Just 33 of the 15,000+ entries at the 2014 DWWAs received international trophies.
I know the World Cup ends this weekend, but I thought I'd thrown in a quick addendum/mea culpa about wines from Brazil before it's too late.
In early June, near the beginning of the tournament, I detailed Brazilian wine in general and tasted the two World Cup-related wines that were available at Manitoba Liquor Marts.
Via Twitter, I was chided afterwards for failing to note that De Luca Fine Wines has a healthy cross-section of wines from Brazil.
It's true -- the Portage Avenue wine shop lists 17 wines from Brazil on their website, ranging in price from around $20 to $85. My bad.
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Chateau Miraval 2013 Rosé (Côtes de Provence, France -- around $32, private wine stores)
If this property sounds familiar, that's because it's the French winery owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Delicate floral, raspberry, cherry and strawberry aromas on this pale pink wine are quite lovely. On the light-bodied, dry palate, meanwhile, crisp strawberry and raspberry flavours work well with light chalky mineral and cherry-skin notes. It's pricey but quite elegant, and in limited supply at select private wine stores. 3 1/2
Mission Hill 2013 Five Vineyards Rosé (Okanagan Valley, B.C. -- $15.99, Liquor Marts and beyond)
A blend of mostly Merlot with some Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon thrown into the mix, the Five Vineyards Rosé is bright maraschino cherry in colour, and brings peach, fresh-cut flowers, watermelon and raspberry-candy notes on the nose. There's just a hint of sweetness on the light-plus bodied palate, accentuating the ripe red-berry notes nicely. Try with grilled shrimp or chicken. 3 stars
Monte Del Fra 2010 Corvina (Corvina Veronese, Italy -- $15.99, Liquor Marts and beyond)
Corvina is typically one of three indigenous Italian red grapes that make up Valpolicella. In this "solo" outing, the Monte Del Fra brings rich plum, spice, blackberry, cinnamon and blueberry notes on the nose. This fresh, medium-plus bodied red delivers plenty of ripe blueberry, blackberry and blackcurrant flavours, with lighter spice notes and soft tannin. If there's any oak here at all, it's incredibly subtle. Chill for 10-15 and drink with grilled fare. 4 stars