Special Features

South Africa Feature IV —WO Swartland

by Vic Harradine

South Africa FlagSwartland is by no means a new, a newer, or even new-ish wine region. For many decades much of its fruit has been finding its way into commercial wine drunk and sold locally and internationally. If you’re even a casual wine drinker who tries something new once in a while, I’m certain you’ve drunk some. So what’s the excitement? What’s exciting is how the fruit is now grown and how it’s handled, or more to the point, not handled, in the winery. And, that you can now more easily purchase wine that’s bottled and labeled Swartland from only Swartland fruit, not, as before, blended in with other appellations and under their Wine of Origin.

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South Africa Feature III

by Vic Harradine

South Africa FlagVic is still in South Africa and for the next few weeks, having now finished tasting and spitting his way through wineries near Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Even though it’s harvest, winery principals, managers, marketers and winemakers gave most generously of their time providing winecurrent subscribers with a rare glimpse into the history of the Cape winelands along with an interesting take on what the future holds.

There’s a brief introduction to each winery and a number of wines reviewed. Many are, or will be, available through agents and in LCBO, SAQ and other Canadian retail stores. You’ll most likely learn a great deal and, if you have any thoughts of a visit, you’ll get a feel for the treat in store.

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Wines of South Africa II

by Vic Harradine

South Africa FlagVic is still in South Africa and for the next few weeks, presently tasting and spitting his way through wineries near Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Even though it’s harvest, winery principals, managers, marketers and winemakers gave most generously of their time providing winecurrent subscribers with a rare glimpse into the history of the Cape winelands along with an interesting take on what the future holds.

Read more: Wines of South Africa II

Wines of South Africa

by Vic Harradine

South Africa FlagVic is in South Africa now and for the next few weeks, presently tasting and spitting his way through wineries near Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Even though it’s harvest, winery principals, managers, marketers and winemakers gave most generously of their time providing winecurrent subscribers with a rare glimpse into the history of the Cape winelands along with an interesting take on what the future holds.

There’s a brief introduction to each winery and a number of wines reviewed. Many are, or will be, available through agents and in LCBO, SAQ and other Canadian retail stores. You’ll learn a great deal and, if you have any thoughts of a visit, you’ll get a feel for the treat in store.

Read more: Wines of South Africa

Private Order

by Vic Harradine

You may have recently seen the glossy ‘Bring it home…’ brochure from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). The thrust of the message is - after visiting a winery in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, the smiling twosome on the cover ordered a case of wine from there and had it shipped home to Ontario through the LCBO ‘Private Ordering Department’.

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A Trip to Niagara

by Susan Desjardins

A recent trip to Niagara provided the opportunity to visit a few newer wineries in the region. Sue-Ann Staff, a well-known award-winning local winemaker has established her own winery on her family’s historic farm property. Two of her white wines have already sold out, but she is about to release two reds, including a deep, complex Cab/Merlot blend and velvety, berry-rich Cab Franc. The Good Earth Vineyard and Winery features Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cab Franc, and is an extension of Nicolette Novak’s successful Good Earth Cooking School. There’s a very attractive new tasting room, dining room and outdoor patio, featuring the good food she’s known for, as well as some very tasty wines. Established by the Hoare family, who emigrated from the UK to Niagara via New Brunswick, Aure’s tasting room opened just this May. Their first vintage includes a dry Riesling and a lively Gamay, among others. A promising Cabernet Franc and an Old Vines Foch are still in barrel.

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Consignment Wines

by Vic Harradine

Only half the wine selection of the LCBO reaches retail shelves. The balance is readily available to the general public, but most seasoned wine-lovers (forget the masses) have little idea how easy it is to access them. Only a select few set sail in the uncharted waters of consignment wine. Here's the GPS to help navigate this 'other' distribution channel. It's a whole new stream of interesting wines from the familiar LCBO.

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Ruffino – Montalcino

by Susan Desjardins

Ruffino was established by cousins Ilario and Leopoldo in 1877 near Florence, winning medals at prestigious European wine fairs as early as 1895. The company passed to the Folonari brothers in 1913 and by 1916, Ruffino had been appointed the official wine supplier to the royal Italian court. Over the years, the family has added a number of properties including Santedame in Chianti Classico and the Montalcino estate. In 1994 they purchased LodolaNuova to produce Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and la Solatia for the production of Tuscan white wines.

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LCBO Increases Kosher Selection for Passover

In time for Passover, which begins on April 19, the LCBO is releasing 110 kosher-for-Passover products. Eleven are premium wines that have been released through VINTAGES.

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The Wines of Puglia

by Susan Desjardins

Eleven wineries from the southern Italian region of Puglia were recently showcased in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, hosted by Ottawa’s DiVino Wine Studio. It was an outstanding opportunity to discover the range and quality of wines being created in this less-celebrated region. The winery principals displayed pride in their region and wine. They’re firmly rooted in the fundamental practices of agriculture with great depth of history and tradition. In the 3rd century B.C., the capital of ancient Greece was located in Puglia. Ancient amphoras from the 1st century B.C. have been excavated near Brindisi—wine has a long and illustrious history here.

Read more: The Wines of Puglia